London Interdisciplinary Discussion Group
At our next meeting we will be discussing transplantation. Our speakers will be Paul Craddock, Adam Ferner, Refik Gökmen and Helen Pynor. The work of all these speakers concerns transplantation in some way, and you can read more about Paul, Adam, Refik and Helen below. As usual, their presentations will be followed by an hour of general discussion.
All three speakers will be addressing the ways in which transplantation relates to our understanding of ‘life’. They have suggested that it may be helpful to think about the following in advance. No need to do anything in particular, just some ideas to get you thinking before coming along!
- What sort of conceptual space allows for the possibility of bodily transplantation?
- How do you understand transplantation?
- In what ways do you think transplantation relates to transfusion?
- How do you think modern transplantation shaped the boundaries of life and death?
- How does transplantation affect the way we understand ownership of life?
Paul is a Ph.D. candidate currently writing on pre-20th century transplant surgery and transfusion at the London Consortium. After a brief time studying music and performing arts, living in rural China, and working for the National Health Service, Paul made the switch to cultural and medical history. In this field, he has been invited to lecture around the UK, in Europe, and in the US. He has never had a transplant and never received a transfusion – his interest in these procedures come from thinking about generally how we relate to the material world by making transactions that are at the same time bodily and financial.
Currently based in London, Paul is the Director of London Consortium Television, the audio-visual arm of the London Consortium. And in another professional life, he shoots and produces films for medical establishments and museum exhibitions. He has films currently on exhibition in the Royal Academy of Arts and the British Dental Association Museum.
Adam Ferner is currently doing his PhD at Birkbeck College. His research is focussed primarily on how philosophical biological concerns impact on the ‘personal identity debate’ as it stands in analytic metaphysics. He also works for the Royal Institute of Philosophy, and does editorial work for the journals Think and Philosophy, and regularly contributes to The Philosophers Magazine.
Refik is a Clinical Lecturer in Renal Medicine at the MRC Centre for Transplantation based at the Guy’s Campus of King’s College London. He recently completed his PhD in Immunology in the same department, and now divides his time between ongoing laboratory-based research into basic immune mechanisms, and clinical work in nephrology and transplantation on the South Thames training programme in Renal Medicine.
He qualified in medicine from Cambridge and UCL, and has maintained an interest in the ethical and philosophical dimensions of both clinical practice and scientific research ever since his BA degree in the History & Philosophy of Science.
Artist Helen Pynor works at the intersection of art and the life sciences. Her research interests include the relationship between the materiality of the body and its status as a culturally constructed entity, and the notion of a ‘distributed’ consciousness that extends beyond the brain to the wider body. She has recently completed a major project with artist Peta Clancy, ‘The Body is a Big Place’, exploring organ transplantation and the capacity for bodies to travel spatially, temporally, and interpersonally.
Helen holds a Bachelor of Science, First Class Hons (Macquarie University), a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Sydney College of the Arts) and a practice-based PhD (Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney). Helen has exhibited widely in Australia and Europe including at the current ‘Brains: The Mind as Matter’ exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, London, where her work is the lead image for the exhibition.
Helen’s collaborator Peta Clancy is a visual artist who has explored photography and more recently video and new media to undertake an extended inquiry into art and the biomedical sciences. Through her photographic practice she has conducted an in depth exploration of the skin as a porous membrane and the surface of the photographic medium. Peta recently completed a practice based PhD in Fine art at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia where she currently holds a lecturing position.