Going unscripted: A call to critically engage storytelling methods and methodologies in geography and the medical‐health sciences

Sarah de Leeuw, Margot W. Parkes, Vanessa Sloan Morgan, Julia Christensen, Nicole Lindsay, Kendra Mitchell-Foster, Julia Russell Jozkow

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Geography and the medical‐health sciences have long histories of engaging the humanities. The last decade has seen for both disciplines a significant growth in theoretical frameworks, pedagogic strategies, and research methods that draw upon visual and literary arts, critical self‐reflection, creative tools and expressions, and even direct engagement or partnership with artists, curators, authors, theatre‐practitioners, and other professionals in the arts. Both geographers and medical‐health professionals, then, are increasingly (re)making and understanding various worlds through the humanities. In this paper we explore the histories of humanities in both geography and the medical‐health sciences, especially medicine: we argue the two disciplines have much to learn from each other's engagement and work with the humanities. Focusing on the increasing use of narrative and storytelling in both disciplines, we argue that deployment of humanities‐based frameworks and impulses must not be taken up without careful and critical analytical reflection. Finally, we ground our theoretical explorations with empirical examples from recent community‐based work about the risks and benefits of storytelling and visual arts when looking at the health geographies of Indigenous and settler peoples in Northern British Columbia
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Geographer
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)152-164
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

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