Interdisciplinary Learning in Medicine, the Arts and Humanities: The New Utrecht School

Organizing institution
Utrecht University - Faculty of Medicine
Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
€ 0.00
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The shape of the future of the medical sciences and the health humanities is rapidly changing. Technological advancements challenge us to reconsider the balance between ‘hard science' and ‘soft skills’ in medical education and the health-professions. At the same time, artists, artistic researchers and humanities scholars are increasingly turning to questions of health, well-being, and care. The future of thinking about health and health education, then, is bound to be profoundly interdisciplinary. Therefore, this summerschool aims to answer the question: how do we envision true interdisciplinary cooperation between diverse student-groups with an interest in health and illness?

It is clear that it is urgent to rethink the relations between—and dissolve some of the barriers that separate—the medical sciences, the arts, and the humanities. ICT, e-health, robotics and big data are profoundly affecting the role of medical professionals, urging them to reflect on the role, value and requirements of human skills in the context of healthcare. At the same time, the humanities have proven to offer innovative and productive insights into issues such as the ideology of health, narratives of illness, the confrontation with mortality, the importance of professional ethics, and the value of ‘making sense’ of trauma and loss; hence the rise of narrative medicine, medical humanities, the philosophy of psychiatry, the phenomenology of health and illness, et cetera.

As a result, it is essential that the medical sciences and the humanities engage (once again) in a interdisciplinary dialogue about the future of healthcare and the conceptualization of illness. This summer school aims to meet that challenge, by taking its cue from The Utrecht School, a Dutch scientific-philosophical movement from the 1950s/1960s that aimed to address the question of what it means to be (a healthy) human being from an interdisciplinary perspective.

This unique and groundbreaking course aims to revisit and update this perspective by staging an open dialogue between students, artists, humanities scholars and medical experts. Students engage in an intensive interdisciplinary learning process through discussions with internationally renowned scholars and performers during the two-day summer school - e.g. Prof. John Lysaker (philosophy/literary studies, Emory University, USA), Prof. Menno Vriens (endocrinological surgery, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands), Prof. Paul Lysaker (psychology/psychiatry, Indiana University, USA), Prof. Sven Dupré (history of art, science and technology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands), and Freek de Jonge (performer, The Netherlands).   


For more information see: www.umcutrecht.nl/nieuweutrechtseschool

The guest lecture on July the 3rd by Freek de Jonge (in Dutch, Blauwe collegezaal UMCU, starts at 17:30) is open to everyone, but registration is required at: www.umcutrecht.nl/nieuweutrechtseschool

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

dr. Stefan van Geelen

Target audience

The target audience consists of interdisciplinary interested students of all levels and (scientific/ artistic) backgrounds. A selection of participants will be made on the basis of CV and letter of motivation.

Registration deadline is June the 22nd. Decisions will be communicated on June the 26st.


€ 0.00

Required documents

For this course you are required to upload the following documents when applying:
Motivation Letter, C.V.

More information


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Application deadline: 30 June 2018