The Medicine with Words seminar series is a collaboration between the Cultural Agents Initiative and the Initiative on Healing and Humanity at Harvard Medical School, co-sponsored by Mahindra Humanities Center and Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. This series explores the importance of narrative for personal and collective healing, focusing on the interplay between art, science, their practices, and interpretations. The series engages with the long legacy of humanistic and therapeutic narrative: identifying genres of storytelling, as well as networks of artists, educators, politicians, clerics, doctors, and other practitioners who use creative verbal practices to promote public health. The seminar series is being offered in the spirit of a pioneering 2017 Gen Ed course at Harvard College, “Rx: Arts for Global Health,” to be offered in future iterations. Seminars will be led both by scholars and lay practitioners who will present cases, display agency, and pose provocative questions about how narrative arts and their interpretation can help break patterns of psychological and physical illness through non-technical, creative collaborations with medical experts.

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming seminars.

Past Events 2019 - 20

Pier Luigi Sacco, Special Adviser to the EU Commissioner for Education and Culture European Commission
Cultural Engagement as Measurable Medicine
Sam Durant, Artist
Nick Smith, University of New Hampshire
When the symbolic becomes real (redux)
Rex Lee Jim, Executive Director of the Navajo Sovereignty Institute at Diné College
Collective Storytelling, Collective Healing: Songs, Prayers, Stories, Rituals

Past Events 2018 - 19

Ian Koebner, University of California, Davis
A(n)esthetics and the Analgesic Museum
Salvador del Solar, Former Minister of Culture of Peru, Harvard University
The Informal Economy: A Challenge to the Social Contract

Past Events 2017 - 18

Diego Fernandez, Secretary for Social and Urban Integration, Buenos Aires
What is a Slum? Welcome to #31, Buenos Aires
Jay Critchley, Multimedia Artist and Writer
Affirmative Re-Action
Pier Luigi Sacco, International University of Languages and Literatures, Milan
Reclaiming the Public Domain through Massive Cultural Capability Building
Theresa Betancourt, Boston College
Narrative, Creativity, and Resilience in War-Affected Populations
Sam Durant, CalArts School of Art
How Real is the Symbolic?

Past Events 2016 - 17

Symbolic Reparations
Kaira M. Cabañas, University of Florida
Clinical-Artistic Tableaux: The Emergence of Art as Psychiatric Care in Transatlantic Perspective

Past Events 2015 - 16

Alejandra Ballón-Gutierrez, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
Kimberly Theidon, Tufts University
Red Carpet: A Possible Form of Affective Politics
Simon Hosie
Planos Vivos: Architecture and Community Engagement in Colombia
Araceli Alonso, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Nikumbuke: Women Turning Structural Violence into Health and Well-Being
Fabienne Le Houérou, Sciences-PO (Aix)
Asylum in France: The Rising Paradox of Individual Compassion and Collective Rejection of the Refugees 1990-2015
Fabienne Le Houérou, Sciences-PO (Aix)
“WOMEN ON THE EDGE” A Tibetan Case Study of Angie a Woman on the Edge in India

Past Events 2014 - 15

Nandita Das, Harvard University
The Role of Arts in Social Change
Jorge Munguía, Buró-Buró
Strategies for Cultural Participation
Mexico at a Crossroads: Political Crisis, Civic Agency and Culture

Past Events 2013 - 14

Matthew Mazzotta, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
OPEN HOUSE: A House with a Secret
Fred Ritchin, New York University
Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen
Panel Discussion with Artists in Context
FeFa in Context

Past Events 2012 - 13

Luis García Nava and Carolina Chávez Mendoza (OSIMMPE)
"he Recovery of the Mixteca Language in the Municipality of Santa María Peñoles, Mexico"
Pablo Rey Mazón, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Basurama: A Framework for Designing Collectively with Waste”

Past Events 2011 - 12

Jocelyn Kelly, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
"Visual Stories: Working with Reintegrating Child Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo"
Raúl Cárdenas, Founder and Director of Torolab
"Contested Territories and the Transborder Farm Lab"
Alfredo Jaar
"It is Difficult"
David Lammy, MP, British Labour Party
A conversation with David Lammy
Antanas Mockus, former mayor of Bogota
"Art in Action: Creative Governance for Cities in Crisis"
Naseemah Mohamed, Harvard University
"The Art of Literacy: A Post-Colonial Pedagogy for Zimbabwe"

Past Events 2010 - 11

Marcos Porras
Oliver Lee Arce
Inaugural Presentation of the Annual "Cátedra de Cultura de México" Award
Pedro Reyes, artist, Mexico
"Palas por Pistolas / Guns for Shovels: Art for Social Change"
Ana Blohm, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
"Art and Medicine"
Frank Pearl, High Counselor for Social and Economic Reintegration in Colombia
"Art for Social and Economic Reintegration of Rebel Groups in Colombia"
Gustavo Buntinx
"Between the Earth and the World: The Shamanic Moment in The Symbolic Exhumation of the Disappeared"