Afternoon Events

Following on from our Evening Seminar series, which ran from October 2010 to March 2011, Off Sick will be hosting a series of larger afternoon events in May, June and November 2011. These are detailed below.

NEXT EVENT – Psychiatric Narratives Workshop

November 23, 2011, Glamorgan Archive, Cardiff

Organized as part of CISSMI’s “Off Sick” programme of events, this workshop seeks to explore the different types of illness narration through an examination of psychiatric narratives and the problems of uncovering the patient’s voice in psychiatric institutions. Uncovering these voices has often proved problematic, and the workshop seeks to explore institutional psychiatric care from the inside out. The workshop features a series of papers by historians and clinicians on problems of evidence and the ways in which they have used psychiatric case notes and fiction to understand the experiences of psychiatric patients and the nature of psychiatric institutions.

13.00 – 14.00 Registration and Lunch
14.00 – 14.15 Introduction
14.15 – 15.00 Pamela Michael (Bangor): “Patients, Imagination and Welsh literature”
15.00 – 15.45 Peter Barham (Oxford): “In pursuit of the imperial lunatic, c.1860-1940: some problems of evidence”
15.45 – 16.15 Coffee
16.15 – 17.00 Rhys Thomas (Swansea: “Clinicians and case notes: the modern perspective”
17.00 – 17.15 Closing Discussion

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the workshop will be held at the Glamorgan Archive (Cardiff) on Wednesday 23rd November 2011. Although a free event, to register please contact Dr Martin Willis ( or Dr Keir Waddington (

Details of the Glamorgan Archive can be found here

The Glamorgan Archive address is Clos Parc Morgannwg, Leckwith, Cardiff, CF11 8AW. Further details can be found on the Archives site above.


Poets Encounter Medicine – Launching the Exhibition

The official launch of the Off Sick Exhibition was held at the Poets Encounter Medicine event, details of which can be found further down on this page. Below are some photographs of the event, the exhibition and the reception which followed.

Martin Willis discusses the work of the Off Sick project
Maggie Kirk presents some of the material gathered by the Telling Stories project
Philip Gross discusses the connections between his poetry and his experiences of illness in his own family
Gwyneth Lewis reads from her book A Hospital Oddysey, written about her experiences supporting her husband through cancer
Audience members question the speakers and discuss some of the issues raised by the event
Audience members peruse the Off Sick Exhibition after the speakers and the formal discussion
Some of the audience members talk with the speakers at the post-event wine reception
The event’s organisers wind down at the reception with a much-deserved glass of wine

Poets Encounter Medicine

6 June 2011, 5.30pm onwards
Moot Court (A13), T? Crawshay Building
University of Glamorgan Treforest Campus


Gwyneth Lewis, former National Poet of Wales
Philip Gross, former holder of the T. S. Eliot prize for Poetry
Professor Maggie Kirk, University of Glamorgan
Dr Martin Willis, University of Glamorgan

This event will place stories and experiences of illness in both literary and clinical contexts. It will consist of discussions about how creative-writing can help us to understand illness, and will feature readings from poetry inspired by experiences of illness. The event will be followed by a wine reception in the Glamorgan Art Gallery and the launch of an exhibition on illness narratives by the Off Sick project team, who are also responsible for organising the evening.


5.30-7.30: Poets Encounter Medicine (A13)
7.30-9.00: Wine Reception and Launch of the Off Sick Project Exhibition (Oriel Y Bont)

All are welcome, so please contact Dr Richard Marsden on for further details and to book your place.

Narratives of Illness: Practices and Practitioners

13:00-17:00, Wednesday 18 May 2011
University of Glamorgan, Treforest Campus, Hirwuan Building, Room H14


This event builds directly on the work that the Off Sick project has already done. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to illness narratives, focuses on the experiences of families and carers as well as patients, and looks in particular at how people react to and deal with their encounters with medical institutions such as hospitals by turning them into stories. More specifically, the colloquium focuses on some of the ways in which narratives and storytelling are used by medical practitioners and those working with patients and their families. To that end, it consists of a series of papers around the theme of how practitioners, patients and families can employ such stories as a means of making sense of illness and illness-related experiences. These papers will be combined with plentiful opportunities for those present to ask questions and to discuss the practical implications of this type of work.


13:00: Introduction and Welcome from Dr Martin Willis, Co-Director of the Off Sick Project

13:15: Dr Rhys Thomas, Clinical Research Fellow in Neurology at Swansea University.
Rhys will start things off by discussing art and epilepsy. It has been suggested that epilepsy (which can add thoughts, movements and visions) may help the creative process. While reviewing the lives and paintings of artists with epilepsy he will assess the impact of seizures for established and contemporary artists.

14.00: Dr Rachel Iredale, Senior Research Fellow in Medical Genetics at Cardiff University.
Rachel will be talking about the StoryBank . This is an online collection of stories about cancer genetics. It was developed in direct response to feedback from patients at the Cancer Genetics Service for Wales (CGSW), an all-Wales service for anyone with a family history of cancer. The StoryBank consists of digital stories from patients covering topics such as living with the risk of cancer, compiling a family tree, telling a family member about a cancer diagnosis and making decisions about surgery and screening.

15.45: Refreshments

15.30: Karen Lewis, Project Leader of Storyworks at the University of Glamorgan.
To round off the programme, Karen will discuss her work using stories (including digital stories) from patients, carers and service users across the public services. For more information on what Karen and her team do, and the kinds of public health organisations that she works with, see the Storyworks website.

16.15: Question and Answer Session

Book Your Place Now

This is a free event and open to participants from all disciplines and backgrounds. Please note that spaces are limited, so if you would like to attend then please email to book your place