‘Translating Illness: The Case of COVID-19’ – 14 May 2020

With Marta Arnaldi and Nicola Gardini

Nicola Gardini is Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at Keble College, University of Oxford, a painter, and a writer. He has published collections of poetry, novels, essays, literary monographs, memoirs, and translations. He is the recipient of several literary awards, including the prestigious Viareggio Prize for his novel Le Parole Perdute di Amelia Lynd(Feltrinelli, 2012), translated into English by Michael F. Moore under the title Lost Words (New Directions, 2016).

‘ “The Crucifixion of Brother Peter”: Moral Claims and Religious Imagery in Two Competing Narratives about the Cochrane Collaboration’ – 17 February 2020

In 2018, a so-called crisis developed in the Cochrane network of systematic reviewers. It was widely depicted in terms of two competing narratives – [a] “bad behaviour” by one individual and [b] scientific and moral decline within Cochrane. This presentation will report the attempt of an interdisciplinary group of scholars (from medicine, sociology, critical management studies and science and technology studies) to distil insights on the structural, ethical and linguistic issues underpinning the crisis, without taking a definitive position on the accuracy of either narrative. Having framed the conflict as primarily philosophical and political rather than methodological, the author will use the seminar series’ theme of ‘translation’ to illustrate how the scholars on both poles of this divide might harness their tensions productively.

Trish Greenhalgh is Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences and Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford. She is Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Research in Health Sciences (IRIHS) Unit, a programme of research at the interface between social sciences and medicine. She was awarded the OBE for Services to Medicine in 2001 and made a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014.

‘We are not good at translating lab science into new medicines for patients’ – 20 January 2020

The discovery of “pioneer medicines” (i.e. those acting via novel molecular targets) has proven to be an immensely complex, long term, expensive and high risk endeavour. Despite formidable investments by the pharmaceutical industry and public/ charitable funders, over the past few decades in both infrastructure and technology, the success rates have remained low. During his presentation, Prof. Bountra discussed ways in which we can pool resources to share risk, reduce duplication, improve translation, minimise patient harm, and help industry discover new medicines for society.

Chas Bountra is Professor of Translational Medicine at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford. He is Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Affordable Medicines and has been made Oxford’s new Pro Vice-Chancellor, Innovation. 

Listen to the podcast of Prof. Bountra’s lecture here.

‘Translating the Body’ (Workshop) – 8-9 Oct 2019

‘Translating the Body’

Can we write creatively in a foreign tongue? How to write (about) the ill body?  

Consortium for Wellbeing and the Arts, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, 8-9 October 2019

Dr Arnaldi’s workshop was extremely significant and interesting, and I deeply enjoyed the way she teaches. We had group discussions about the poems we wrote during the class and reflected upon their transformed meanings in translation. We also focussed on poetry and autobiography with an emphasis on bodily experiences. Dr Arnaldi told us that in her work she combines music, dance and poetry, and this gave new depth to the discussion.

Marta Arnaldi had a clear orientation during the lessons and the backbone she gave for the workshops directed our group towards openness and a guided inspiration. I noticed that during her lessons we were relaxed and at ease as a group, despite the difficulties and challenges of speaking and writing in a foreign language.

During Marta Arnaldi´s workshops we focused on translating poems not only from one language to another, but also from an artform to another. What is the difference between an image and a poem? And between a dance and a song? One of the things that struck us during Marta´s writing workshops was that we were writing in English. Suddenly the way to express ourselves was totally different. We were using a foreign language creatively, that is that we were pushing ourselves to the extremes, scared yet accompanied, as our limited lexicon and knowledge of English forced us to find other ways to express what was most dear to us. Thank you, Marta