Event: Understanding and Communicating Pain: An Interdisciplinary Approach
- 07 May 2014, 6.00 – 8.00pm Calman Learning Centre, Durham University, UK
- 08 May 2014, 9.00 – 3.00pm, Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University, UK
Pain is not just an individual physical or emotional experience. The ways in which it is represented and imagined, and the knowledges, beliefs and values that surround it, have a direct effect on how it is experienced and managed by individuals, families and social groups. This event takes an interdisciplinary look at how pain is caused, experienced, understood and communicated exploring the following questions:
- How do different cultural and sub-cultural groups deal with pain: what kinds of beliefs and values do they have about pain; what kinds of rituals and forms of therapy do they employ in managing it; how do they communicate it? What can we learn from diverse cultural and historial perspectives on pain?
- Pain is represented in the arts in multiple ways: as something to be feared and conquered; as something that offers fascination and drama. What kinds of images of pain do we draw on in the UK? How can images of pain in the visual and literary arts affect people’s experiences of pain and our strategies for managing it?
- How do beliefs and ideas about pain affect its representation as a social problem, for example in relation to policies providing access to health and social services? What kinds of scientific evidence are required in demonstrating the efficacy of pain management therapies? How do dominant societal ideas about pain affect social and economic policies relating to worklessness and benefits?
- What is the science behind pain and its perception by people and how is this linked to the social and psychological questions? What is is the basis for the analgesic “placebo” effect? What is the link between pain and addiction/reward? What is the basis of pain experience changes as we age?
- Why are numbers of prescriptions for analgesics excessively higher (5-fold in some cases) in Teesside than the rest of the country? (http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/local-news/teesside-pcts-spend-most-painkillers-3679095)
Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study and Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing, in collaboration with the Durham Forum for Health, will explore these questions in these two events; firstly a public talk, followed by a full day workshop.
07 May: An evening public event centred on a panel discussion with three speakers, addressing the questions above and inviting contributions from a public audience.
- Chair: Professor: Professor Jane Macnaughton
- Dr Clare Roques: Is Pain a Problem to be Fixed? An International Perspective
- Dr Suzannah Biernoff: Iconographies of pain and stoicism
- Dr Rachael Gooberman-Hill: Research into pain: ethnographic and clinical perspectives
08 May: A one-day workshop, co-hosted by the University’s Biophysical Sciences Institute, aimed at initiating an interdisciplinary project on pain.