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Medicine, archives and researching lives

Posted Oct 26 2009 11:01pm

Looks immediately like an innovative angle to the study of lives in science — that is, Wellcome Library’s and the British Records Association’s upcoming conference Researching Lives: Medicine, science and archives on the 8th December at Wellcome Collection in London.

The one-day meeting will deal with the resources available in medical and scientific archives to build up pictures of individual lives — i.e., manuscripts and personal papers, films and photographs, forensic evidence and physical remains, etc. Speakers include Georgina Ferry (science writer), Julianne Simpson and Helen Wakely (Wellcome Library), Simon Chaplin (Royal College of Surgeons), Tim Boon (Science Museum), Paul Carter and Natalie Whistance (the National Archives) and Allan Jamieson (Forensic Institute).

The programme  seems a bit unfocused, however — and the ‘researching lives’ theme a fairly loose umbrella for six talks that point in quite different directions. I mean, these are all smart and knowledgeable people and it would have been great if the organisers had created a meeting format that turned this mix of professional backgrounds into a sparkling discussion about the ‘researching lives’ issue, instead of letting them loose 40 minutes each on six different topics.

Anyway, I may be wrong — go and listen for yourself. Further details and a booking form are available from the website of the British Records Association.

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