Book Launch Event: Encountering Pain: Hearing, Seeing, Speaking

Posted on March 29, 2021 by Alison Fox

UCL Press and the UCL institute of Advanced Studies are very pleased to launch the open access book Encountering Pain: Hearing, Seeing, Speaking with editors, Dr Deborah Padfield and Prof Joanna M Zakrzewska. Download the book free:

What is persistent pain? How do we communicate pain, not only in words but in visual images and gesture? How do we respond to the pain of another, and can we do it better? Can explaining how pain works help us handle it? This unique compilation of voices addresses these and bigger questions. Defined as having lasted over three months, persistent pain changes the brain and nervous system so pain no longer warns of danger: it seems to be a fault in the system. It is a major cause of disability globally, but it remains difficult to communicate, a problem both for those who live with it and for those who try to help. Language struggles to bridge the gap, and it raises ethical challenges in its management unlike those of other common conditions. This distinctive volume shares leading research into the potential value of visual images and non-verbal forms of communication as means of improving clinician-patient interaction.

The book integrates the voices of leading scientists, academics and contemporary artists with poetry and poignant personal testimonies to provide a manual for understanding the meanings of pain, for healthcare professionals, students, academics, artists and for those living with pain. The voices and experience of those living with pain are central, providing tools for discussions and future research, shifting register between creative, academic and personal contributions from diverse cultures and weaving them together to offer new understanding, knowledge and hope.

Matching the diversity of voices in the book the launch will include: a welcome by Executive Dean of Arts & Humanities, Prof Stella Bruzzi, a key note by Prof Rita Charon (who pioneered the field of narrative medicine), poetry readings by Prof Sharon Morris, reflections on the work by core researchers and those living with pain, performance by Anusha Subramanyam and a chance to discuss the topic and put your questions to the panel, including the editors, Dr Deborah Padfield and Prof Joanna M Zakrzewska.

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