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2023 Project Narrative Summer Institute: Narrative Medicine/Graphic Medicine (Synchronous Hybrid Format) June 19-30, 2023

Institutue Co-Directors:

James Phelan, Distinguished University Professor of English and Jared Gardner, Joseph V. Denney Designated Professor of English and Director of Popular Culture Studies

The closely related movements of Narrative Medicine and Graphic Medicine assume that skill with telling and listening to stories can enhance the quality of caregiver-patient interactions and ultimately improve their outcomes. But both movements are still working out the consequences of that assumption. We hope to contribute to that effort in PNSI 2023 by establishing and sustaining dialogue among (a) medical narratives in different media, especially print and comics, (b) work in the broad field of narrative theory, and (c) work in narrative medicine and graphic medicine. As we conduct that dialogue, we will be exploring a number of questions. How does reclaiming the centrality of narrative to the processes of illness, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery (or the impossibility of recovery) change the way both practitioners and patients experience those processes? What happens to medical practice when caregivers approach patients as people with stories rather than lists of symptoms and test results? What happens if we expand narrative medicine and graphic medicine’s concern with improving the narrative skills of caregivers to include the skills of patients?

This focus on practice and people also feeds back into the project of narrative theory. What happens if we shift the focus of the field from core elements of narrative and textual structures of storytelling to the bodies and minds of storytellers and their audiences? How might (some) stories of illness require some revisions or extensions of existing narrative theory—or even the development of new theoretical constructs? How might (some) stories of illness highlight and even reveal the affordances and limitations of print and comics? What happens to narrative theory when the endpoint of working with it is not the construction of new tools or new interpretations but practical consequences in the lives of patients and caregivers?

We do not presume that PNSI will provide definitive and comprehensive answers to these questions, but we do aim to collectively develop and test worthwhile hypotheses in response to them. And we expect these hypotheses to open up new questions.


We will conduct the Institute in a hybrid format; participants can choose to attend either in person or online. We’ll meet daily (M-F) for 2 hours and 30 minutes minus a fifteen-minute break


To Apply:

Applicants should send a current CV, a short description of a teaching or research project related to the theme (no longer than one single-spaced page), and one letter of recommendation to Project Narrative by April 15, 2023. Please email all documents to projectnarrative@osu.edu.

Applications will be reviewed promptly after the deadline. If in order to meet funding deadlines, applicants need an earlier decision, the co-directors will consider special requests for early action.

Fees and Housing:

Tuition for the 2023 Project Narrative Summer Institute is $1800. Project Narrative cannot provide financial aid, but the co-directors will gladly write in support of participants’ applications for funding from home institutions. In the past, participants attending in person have been successful in finding satisfactory housing on their own. The Project Narrative GA, Kayla Goldblatt, stands ready to assist any participants who request her help. You can reach her at projectnarrative@osu.edu.

Accessibility Statement:

Project Narrative is committed to accessibility and ensuring that all programming is welcoming to all participants. We will actively be taking steps, including providing live transcription, to ensure that the virtual format is accessible. Again, please reach out to Kayla Goldblatt, at projectnarrative@osu.edu with any questions or requests.

[pdf] - Some links on this page are to Adobe .pdf files requiring the use of Adobe Reader. If you need these files in a more accessible format, please contact projectnarrative@osu.edu.