Virtual Symposium: Finding Joy in Healthcare in Africa Dates: 1st and 2nd September 2021

‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, & that is an act of political warfare.”—Audre Lorde

As in other parts of the world, across the African continent, a variety of pathways to health and healing are available for those who fall ill or want to ensure wellbeing. The landscape of health and wellbeing is vast and caters to myriad experiences. However, dominant perceptions of healthcare in Africa portray it either in terms of failure, disrepair, chaos and disappointment, or as agentic creative refashioning under such circumstances. Little attention is paid, within scholarly research, to the joy that accompanies pursuing or achieving health and wellbeing.

The Southern and Eastern African Medical and Health Humanities network (SEAMHH), a regional network of Medical and Health Humanities Africa (MHHA) is hosting an interdisciplinary symposium: “Finding Joy in Healthcare in Africa”. The symposium is the first of many engagements, which will be led by our partners, the Malawi Medical Humanities Network (MHHN) in collaboration with The Art of Health (South Africa). This inaugural event is devoted to how joy is considered in the provision, rituals, practices, behaviour, and interventions that accompany healthcare. The symposium will focus on temporal perspectives—past, present and future—that engage how healthcare practitioners, health systems and people seeking healthcare in Africa approach issues of joy, trust, confidence, or comfort at individual, familial, community or national levels. The aim is to challenge the now-taken-for-granted idea that health and healthcare systems are sources of trauma and a site for saviourism. Instead, we encourage a critical and/or creative reconsideration of the dynamic concepts of care, wellbeing and health-seeking behaviour.

In this symposium, we invite artists, activists, health practitioners and academics to re-imagine health and healthcare in Africa. The symposium offers mixed formats and will include workshops, academic papers, discussion forums and two keynote addresses.

Please send your expression of interest for participation to by Wed. 4 August 2021. The event will introduce key themes to be further explored in our forthcoming ‘Finding Joy’ research, which focuses on developing practical tools that aim to make the healthcare experience more positive across various health sectors.

SEAMHH is preparing a special issue on the theme, which we plan to submit to British Medical Journal – Medical Humanities. We anticipate that the completed special edition will launch in June 2024.

Visit our website for more details on the programme &registration:
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AndMHHA

HAMWE festival: Short Story Contest

For its third edition, Hamwe Festival organizes a short story contest in collaboration with Kigali Public Library (KPL). We will be seeking short stories written in English or in French, about life of individuals and communities in the era of COVID-19. Writers from 18 to 30 years old from all countries are invited to participate.

With this contest, we wish to highlight stories that showcase how health equity and other areas of social justice have been exacerbated during this global crisis and how the current pandemic has affected the lives of individuals and communities. The contestants may choose from a range of topics including access to care, the impact of isolation, age as a social determinant of health, the pandemic consequences on communities’ social fabrics, gender disparities, education, inter-species relationships, social movements, and conflict management etc
Deadline: 12 September 2021

Hamwe Festival 2021: Short Stories Contest | UGHE

Call for Submissions: The Women Who Shape Our World

The Society of Malawi Journal Vol. 74 no. 2, 2021: Call for Papers

In this special edition, we are seeking contributions on inspirational women in Malawi, who come from many walks of life, and have shaped our world in a variety of fields. We are especially seeking stories of the underrepresented, unacknowledged and understudied women who have made a substantial impact on our culture. These women are farmers, politicians, teachers, preachers, artists, journalists, disruptors, human rights activists, community organisers, engineers, doctors, fundraisers, musicians and everything in between. We especially welcome interrogations and provocations that enable debate and dialogue around prescient issues surrounding these women and the way they have broken ground, inspired and changed the course of history.

The journal will be national in scope and focus on all time periods. These are women who exist in our folklore, history and present. A sample (but not definitive) list of ideas includes:
• Who was Mrs Ida Chilembwe?
• The legend of Makewana
• Traditional birthing assistants
• Rural women bankers
• Modern feminism and street activism
• Traditional healers and modern doctors
• Women of the 2020 Cabinet
• The Kwithu Women’s Group of Mzuzu
• Senior Chief Theresa Kachindamoto
• Activists like Emmie Chanika, Martha Kwataitane and others

This special edition will introduce a spectrum of essays that will eventually lead to a full book on influential Malawian women, which will be published in late 2022. Both the special journal and the planned book will help fill a gap in our understanding of the forces and people who helped shape our world.

We welcome submissions from researchers, scholars and experts across all disciplines and fields of studies. Although we aspire to publish a majority women portfolio, we encourage all people to submit a proposal. Please send complete first drafts of maximum 3000 words and a short biographical note to by Friday 16 July 2021.

This is an expert peer-reviewed journal and book project and will comprise of a Malawi-led guest editorial board to oversee the process from review to print. We expect to publish the journal in November 2021.

The Special Edition of the Society of Malawi Journal will be edited by David Stuart Mogg (Honorary Editor, Society of Malawi Journal), John Lwanda (Guest Editor), Chisomo Kalinga (Guest Editor) and David Bone (Guest Editor).

CFP for Routledge Companion to Performance and Medicine (Deadline for abstracts: Monday 15 February 2021)

Editors: Alex Mermikides, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, UK, & Gianna Bouchard, University of Birmingham, UK
We invite proposals for this edited collection, under contract with Routledge for publication in 2024, which address the proliferation of practices that bridge performance and medicine in the contemporary moment, and which come from different perspectives. This scope includes: medicine and illness as the subject of drama and plays; the performativity of illness and the medical encounter; the roles and choreographies of the clinic; the use of theatrical techniques, such as simulation and role-play, in medical training; and, modes of performance engaged in public health campaigns, health education projects and in health-related activism. The book will encompass some of these diverse practices and discourses that emerge at the interface between medicine and performance, with a particular emphasis on practices of performance. In other words, how medicine is experienced in and through performance, on the stage and in the everyday, and how performance is made in response to medicine, as exploration, resistance and critique. Medicine and performance are understood here as equally valid epistemologies and sets of practices that intersect and overlap in different ways: medicine can be a form of performance and performance can operate as a sort of medicine – for better or for worse. The book regards the conjunction of medical science and performance as particularly rich ground for interdisciplinarity, enabling debate and dialogue around prescient issues such as subjectivity, identity, embodiment, health and illness, often in the face of complex and troubling bio-ethical dilemmas raised by medical technologies and developments.
The book will be international in scope and focus mainly on the contemporary period, given the richness of the present time in relation to the subject. But it will give due attention to the complexity of the histories of this interface, particularly in order to contextualise the current state of play. It will be organised thematically to loosely follow a medical journey, from a patient’s symptoms and their lived experience or the performativity of illness, to diagnosis and the performance of medicine as the patient is medicalized, through to treatment and recuperation, the ethics and effects of these encounters and practices, and finally to various medical futures, in terms of experiments, limit cases and new horizons.
We also aim to include perspectives and contributors from beyond the field of theatre and performance studies, for example from medical sociology and ethnography, medical history, philosophers of biopower and biopolitics, medical practice and educators The format of contributions can include more traditional academic and artist essays (6000-words), alongside shorter case studies, artist’s pages and ‘snapshots’ of practice.

Indicative content might include:
 How illness is performed on stage and off
 The interface of performance and medicine at particular historical moments
 Ideas of hygiene, epidemic and contagion, medicalization as reflected in performance practices
 Practices of medicine, such as medical institutions, encounters, imaging, technologies, roles, drugs, transplants, care-bots, prosthetics and healing animals, as understood through performance.

 The performativity of biocitizenship, self-help/self-medicalization
 Social & public responses to illness, health and wellbeing through theatre and performance
 Theatre and the ethics of medical cure and healthcare
 Biomedical experiments in and through performance

Please submit an abstract of up to 400 words and a brief bio of 200 words by Monday 15 February 2021 to Alex Mermikides ( and Gianna Bouchard
( Complete first drafts will be due in the summer of 2021, with further editorial processes to be decided. We would be happy to discuss the scope and aims of the project in more detail prior to submission of an abstract.

Request for Proposals: Wellcome’s Mental Health Active Ingredients 2021

[Shared with permission from the Wellcome Trust.

Wellcome is delighted to announce the launch of our Active Ingredients 2021 Request for Proposals. Starting with anxiety and depression in young people, Wellcome is determined to transform how we understand, fund and address mental health problems by 2030. Our vision is a world in which no one is held back by mental health problems.

This commission will be our second exploring ‘Active Ingredients’ – the aspects of interventions that really make a difference to prevent, treat and manage anxiety and/or depression in young people (aged 14-24) worldwide.

In 2020, 30 research teams reviewed the evidence for 26 Active Ingredients they deemed most important. The Active Ingredients reviewed were diverse, spanning from the cellular to the societal; the selected findings are available here.  

Now we seek to commission up to 20 teams to review ONE Active Ingredient not included in those reviewed in the 2020 commission. Our intention is to commission at least five from low- and middle-income countries. The commission will be undertaken between June and November 2021.

Integrating the perspectives of young people with lived experience will be key. And so long as one team member has a broadly defined mental health science background, applications from any global location, sector and career stage are encouraged.

For full details: