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Encountering Pain

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Pain is notoriously difficult to communicate. Some academics have argued that pain resists description in language while others claim that it can generate language. By bringing into dialogue people who experience, witness, and treat pain, this conference seeks to explore alternative means of communicating, sharing and assessing suffering.

Pain: speaking the threshold

The conference has emerged from a three-year interdisciplinary project at UCL – entitled Pain: speaking the threshold – which assessed the value of images and image-making processes to the management of chronic pain. It brought together a distinguished multidisciplinary team to analyse material generated during the face2face project where pain sufferers worked with an artist to co-create images of pain which were subsequently piloted by other patients in NHS clinics. 

Deborah Padfield with Alison Glenn from the series face2face © Deborah Padfield

Encountering Pain

The two-day event and conference will provide an opportunity for participants from the project to meet and share their experiences and insights with each other. It will also provide an opportunity for other pain sufferers, carers, clinicians, academics, scientists, social scientists and artists to contribute to and expand the debate.

It aims to integrate rigorous scientific and academic research with personal narratives and creative practices.

We particularly encourage participation from speakers working in a range of cultural contexts, as well as those investigating pain via alternative platforms such as social media, visual arts and performance.