192 episodes

Medicine Unboxed aims to inspire debate and medicine and to inform its culture.

Medicine Unboxed is for the public, for health professionals and for all of us who will be patients one day. Despite scientific advances, medicine faces moral, political and social challenges that require the pursuit of meaning as much as knowledge. The arts and other disciplines can help to illuminate the central questions and to foster awe, empathy and humility.

Our annual events - Unboxed (2009), Stories (2010), Values (2011), Belief (2012), Voice (2013), Frontiers (2014), Mortality (2015), Wonder (2016), Maps (2017)and Love (2018) - each have drawn audiences of over three hundred people. Our Soundcloud and Vimeo archives have been seen and heard by tens of thousands of people.

Our speakers are writers, politicians, philosophers, scientists, musicians and performers. The events are theatrical, moving and challenging and are performances in themselves.

Medicine Unboxed Medicine Unboxed

    • Society & Culture
    • 3.6 • 7 Ratings

Medicine Unboxed aims to inspire debate and medicine and to inform its culture.

Medicine Unboxed is for the public, for health professionals and for all of us who will be patients one day. Despite scientific advances, medicine faces moral, political and social challenges that require the pursuit of meaning as much as knowledge. The arts and other disciplines can help to illuminate the central questions and to foster awe, empathy and humility.

Our annual events - Unboxed (2009), Stories (2010), Values (2011), Belief (2012), Voice (2013), Frontiers (2014), Mortality (2015), Wonder (2016), Maps (2017)and Love (2018) - each have drawn audiences of over three hundred people. Our Soundcloud and Vimeo archives have been seen and heard by tens of thousands of people.

Our speakers are writers, politicians, philosophers, scientists, musicians and performers. The events are theatrical, moving and challenging and are performances in themselves.

    Mark Taubert - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    Mark Taubert - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    Mark Taubert, Clinical Director, Consultant Physician & Honorary Senior Lecturer in Palliative Medicine at Cardiff University School of Medicine, talks to Sam Guglani about death, sadness, pain and loss in his work as a palliative care doctor, and about his own experience of - and feelings about - death.

    Mark founded TalkCPR and has a national lead role to improve public understanding on topics relevant to care in the last years of life and at the extreme ends of medicine.

    He has written about palliative care in The Washington Post, The Guardian, Quillette, Chicago Tribune, The Times, The Independent, The Big Issue, BBC News & HuffPost UK and appeared on BBC’s Horizon, ITV's BAFTA-winning Hospital of Hope. He has also engaged in cultural collaborations to promote debate about palliative care including ‘The Colours’, a West End show in London's Soho Theatre, a National Theatre Wales' production ‘As Long As The Heart Beats’ and has talked at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, at Hay Literary Festival and the Science Museum in London.

    He featured in two palliative care themed recordings for the BBC Listening Project and his posthumous letter to David Bowie, which discussed the importance of good end of life care, went viral and has been made into a touring classical music composition and has been publicly read by, amongst others, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jarvis Cocker in locations including New York, London, Hay-on-Wye, Edinburgh and Berlin.

    Executive producers: Sam Guglani, Peter Thomas
    Music: Butterfly Song by Jocelyn Pook, vocal by Melanie Pappenheim, from 'Untold Things', Real World Records, 2001. Permission courtesy of the composer. https://realworldrecords.com/releases/untold-things/

    • 42 min
    Mark O'Connell - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    Mark O'Connell - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    Sam Guglani talks to journalist, essayist and literary critic Mark O’Connell, author of ‘To Be a Machine’ (Granta 2017, winner of the Wellcome Prize) and ‘Notes from An Apocalypse:  A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back’ (Granta, 2020).

    ‘To Be a Machine’ explores transhumanism - using machines to optimise human cognition and extend human life, and the Silicon Valley belief that the human body is an outmoded device. For advocates of transhumanism, death is ‘wrong’ - an idea which at first seems difficult but as Sam and Mark discuss, ‘the body as machine’ is not so far from the assumptions that underlie all modern medicine. Mark says “It’s both wrong and right to say we are machines - but we are not just machines. It’s a metaphor and the idea that we are spiritual is also just a metaphor. It all just reduces to language.”

    Mortality, what it means to be embodied, our experience of time, and how we view ourselves in relation to nature, and love - and if they are reducible to the mechanistic conceptions of the transhumanists - are topics discussed by Mark and Sam in this episode of Medicine Unboxed VOICES.
    “What else could it be about but love…you could argue that the meaning of life is simply to reproduce,” says Mark, “but that’s another way of talking about love.”

    Executive producers: Sam Guglani, Peter Thomas
    Music: Butterfly Song by Jocelyn Pook, vocal by Melanie Pappenheim, from 'Untold Things', Real World Records, 2001. Permission courtesy of the composer. https://realworldrecords.com/releases/untold-things/

    Image Richard Gilligan/LA Times https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2020-04-14/mark-oconnell-notes-from-an-apocalypse-intervew

    • 41 min
    Samantha Harvey - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    Samantha Harvey - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    Samantha Harvey is Reader in creative writing at Bath Spa University and is the author of four novels, 'The Wilderness', 'All Is Song', 'Dear Thief' and 'The Western Wind', and of a memoir, published in January 2020,  'The Shapeless Unease'.

    Her novels have been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Guardian First Book Award, the Walter Scott Prize and the James Tait Black Prize, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Baileys Prize, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the HWA Gold Crown Award. The Wilderness was the winner of the AMI Literature Award and the Betty Trask Prize, and The Western Wind won the 2019 Staunch Book Prize.

    In this episode, Samantha talks to Sam Guglani about ‘The Shapeless Unease’ and how an intense and disturbing experience of insomnia drove her writing and resulted in a book which was “fragmented and disjointed in terms of interest, subjects, tone, voice and register”. As Samantha says, unease is “something that runs deep in you and somehow comes into contact with your sense of self. I tried to find something that was causing my insomnia, to try and decode it…I was deep in this knot of suffering but thought ‘how can I keep finding the most perfect, apt and succinct way of expressing this…writing is the most joyous and liberating thing in the world.’”

    Executive producers: Sam Guglani, Peter Thomas
    Music: Butterfly Song by Jocelyn Pook, vocal by Melanie Pappenheim, from 'Untold Things', Real World Records, 2001. Permission courtesy of the composer. https://realworldrecords.com/releases/untold-things/

    Image: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/books/review/samantha-harvey-shapeless-unease.html

    • 49 min
    Jenn Ashworth - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    Jenn Ashworth - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    In this episode of Medicine Unboxed: VOICES, Sam Guglani talks to Jenn Ashworth, author of 'A Kind of Intimacy',  'Fell' and most recently 'Notes Made While Falling'.

    In this discussion, Jenn talks to Sam about her encounters with doctors as a child raised in a Mormon community and about the role of fiction in her understanding of the world and of illness.

    Jenn talks about her experience of becoming ill after the birth of her child, her feeling that she was “too ill to even want healing... to imagine that was even possible” and how she translated this into her writing.

    “My writing changed through being ill. Previously I wanted to use writing to speak, to communicate…afterwards it’s more about listening, a process by which I shed my layers, my armour, my certainty, my expertise - and let the world get me.”

    Executive producers: Sam Guglani, Peter Thomas
    Music: Butterfly Song by Jocelyn Pook, vocal by Melanie Pappenheim, from 'Untold Things', Real World Records, 2001. Permission courtesy of the composer. realworldrecords.com/releases/untold-things/

    • 35 min
    Sue Black - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    Sue Black - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    Sam Guglani talks to Professor Dame Sue Black OBE about her early childhood experiences, how they shaped her future career and about how important her teachers have been to her - and why we have a duty to let others who have changed our lives know the impact they have had on us.

    Sue talks about how forensic anthropology is changing, about her work in identifying perpetrators of child sexual abuse and in war crimes investigations and about hope, optimism and how she maintains objectivity when faced with the effects of human cruelty.

    “Even in the most awful situations,” she says, “you can find something that says humanity is better than this.”

    Executive producers: Sam Guglani, Peter Thomas
    Music: Butterfly Song by Jocelyn Pook, vocal by Melanie Pappenheim, from 'Untold Things', Real World Records, 2001. Permission courtesy of the composer. realworldrecords.com/releases/untold-things/

    Image credit: BBC.

    • 37 min
    Richard Horton - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    Richard Horton - Medicine Unboxed VOICES

    Richard Horton is Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet.

    He was born in London and is half Norwegian. He qualified in physiology and medicine from the University of Birmingham in 1986 and joined The Lancet in 1990, moving to New York as North American Editor in 1993.

    Richard was the first President of the World Association of Medical Editors and he is a Past-President of the US Council of Science Editors. He has a strong interest in global health and medicine’s contribution to our wider culture. He now works to develop the idea of planetary health – the health of human civilizations and the ecosystems on which they depend.

    In this episode of Medicine Unboxed VOICES, recorded before COVID-19, in a wide-ranging discussion Richard talks to Sam Guglani about his roots and formative experiences - and more recently his own illness - about the value of cooperative behaviour, about scientific publication, trust and politics, and the role of medicine as a global force for good.

    In a statement that prefigures the current crisis Horton says: “Every successful species has been successful not because they have tried to compete with one another and tear each other apart, but because at profound moments of stress in their evolutionary history they have cooperated”.

    Photograph: Richard Saker/The Observer

    Executive producers: Sam Guglani, Peter Thomas
    Music: Butterfly Song by Jocelyn Pook, vocal by Melanie Pappenheim, from 'Untold Things', Real World Records, 2001. Permission courtesy of the composer. realworldrecords.com/releases/untold-things/

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

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