The Ideas Tree…

At the conference, our friends at the Art and Global Health Center Africa organized an activity during the Creative Space to encourage participants to leave their thoughts, inspirations and sentiments about the medical humanities.

The concept of the “Ideas Tree” stems from a popular art installation form that has been used most recently by Yoko Ono, as a means to memorialize ideas and encourage anonymous expression.

The tree remained outside the Great Hall for the duration of the conference.

The banner for AGHCA (left) and the ideas tree and its ‘leaves’ (right)

Here is a full, unedited presentation of the ideas and sentiments left on the tree:


Inspired by something? Sparked by an idea? Hang it here!

  • #medical humanities critical, but loving❤ intellectual osmosis
  • presentation of Patricia Lund about albinism in genetics
  • Time management has been a great problem for health breaks but cross-fertilization of ideas from all corners of the world makes it a great gathering
  • Medical humanities can bring back what colonialism took away
  • New connection with different people who can work together to change the lives of communities


  • I want more to do with different art forms in mental health
  • Rebekah, the discussions on road safety accidents and how people understand “accidental”
  • How the Bible has been interpreted in academia
  • It has inspired me to return to research on something I am interested in and to fight for my research space
  • The place we place the tree after it has held our leaves matters – as it is of our ecosystem in a large way!


  • Find out who caused the AIDS epidemic? Bring them to Justice!
  • Medicine is such a source of power… we need to acknowledge this more in its practice – to have our ongoing conversation about what it looks like to guard against abuse and promote the goal of human flourishing.
  • Something is Lwanda’s point on going back to lost cultural aspects to bring back order in society. The use of local dances of cultures to achieve development.
  • What? ENGAGE How? WONDER Why? Innovate… when?
  • Focus and network


  • I am very impressed with Anna’s presentation on albinos and I think we need more awareness campaigns in Malawi about albinos.
  • To pioneer a medical humanities programme at my university
  • Health being used for weight loss can lead to shame/guilt if people don’t lose… albino killings may hang on for longer.. road accidents and disease origin in myth
  • Empowerment of traditional herbalists – updating info


  • This conference brings together medical and humanities to achieve one goal.
  • How did we fail to discuss witchcraft during this conference??? It is holding our people back.
  • Changing the world is simple as dancing to the tune of our soul. We can change our communities with simple things as dancing for the sick.
  • The humanities department should offer volunteer opportunities.


  • This conference has inspired me to finish our research paper and overcome the obstacles.
  • Suicides among the Catholics is low because of the “confessions” members make to the priest.
  • We need to teach doctors stories about medicine to tell patients.
  • Taking medical students to rural communities to learn from different perspectives – a great idea from the College of Medicine
  • Presentation of John Lwanda on poet in context of medical humanities. I learned that arts has power to change.


  • It’s been fascinating to see the arts influencing what should be a predominantly science field (health).
  • ARTS & HEALTH… Artistic work must travel beyond borders of entertainment to represent health issues in our society
  • Poetry recital in the context of medical humanities
  • The youth should be involved in economic generating activities so as they should not only depend on being employed… PS
  • I have learnt about the relationship between health/medicine and humanity and its my role to let others know about the unknown facts which people ain’t aware of.


  • Have a long rest
  • The conference has inspired me to think in a multidisciplinary way and seriously consider the collaboration of arts intervention in public health.
  • I’ve been inspired to look further into social research opportunities. Reach the people with the issues
  • I have been motivated to do research in the area of visuals linked to health and pottery.


  • More work needs to be done with giving rural communities a voice to do their own health
  • We need more funding from within our governments to push ideas and not rely on foreign donors to do what we should be doing for ourselves.
  • Lives as a tool for research – cool
  • Encouragement that there is space for multiple approaches in dialogue here: easy to belong.
  • The use of local resources to explore local issues could be worth advocating for. Use of local arts… B.


  • Bringing together people from various or diverse backgrounds to discuss about on social themes.
  • there are not a lot of students here
  • The chance to meet with pioneers in the field of medical humanities
  • addiction and mental health… these are two issues that need more attention in Malawi
  • To find a creative way to share the beautiful stories of my friends, family who died of AIDS. The world needs to know them…

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