Luna Dolezal News

New PhD Students join the Wellcome Centre

26 July 2021

As the old academic year draws to a close, and we begin to prepare for the new academic year starting in September, WCCEH are delighted to announce the appointment of a new cohort of PhD students to join the Wellcome Centre during the 2021/22 academic year.

Four of these students are funded by our core grant, following our successful extension earlier this year, and all of the cohort will be working on projects with a transdisciplinary, engaged basis.

Working on our Healing City research theme, we welcome Ben Addy: a sustainable transport and community engagement practitioner – currently based at SUSTRANS in London. He has an interdisciplinary background, including degrees in politics, creative writing, and international studies. At WCCEH, Ben will pursue a project on the concept of “healthy streets” in London, which describes the renewed prioritisation of walking, cycling and public transport access across; drawing on data from  arrange of London boroughs, Ben’s project re-thinks this development from an inequalities perspective, arguing that diverse communities are positioned differently by healthy streets initiatives; at the heart of his project is thus an attempt to think about what a more critical and collaborative community-based approach to creating healthy streets in London could look like. Ben will be working with Des Fitzgerald.

We also welcome Lucía Guerrero Rivière, who will be working with Judy Green on the Transitions across the Life Course research theme. Following her undergraduate studies in Biomedical Engineering at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, Lucía went on to do an MA in Cultural Studies at the same university. Most recently, she completed an exchange programme at Wesleyan University, where she also worked as a Foreign Language Teaching Assistant.  She is thrilled to be starting a Ph.D. fellowship at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health. She will be looking at disability and debilitation in the context of the Colombian post-conflict. Specifically, she aims to examine the place of disability (especially as a result of political violence) in Colombia’s political transition and the narratives and practices that it has involved. More generally, she is interested in social studies of science and medicine, especially where medical technologies, their histories, and their biases are concerned.

Our final two PhD students will be working with Felicity Thomas on our Transforming research themes: Institutions, Relations and Engagement.

Robin Jakob will be looking at public health discourses around women living complex lives and how their experiences of health and the criminal justice system intersect. He has worked in public health for the last ten years in campaigns, policy and service delivery. This includes time as a sexual health worker and campaigner and as a Public Health Practitioner for local government. He is interested in progressive evidenced-based, public health policy and how this can be shaped by centring lived experience.

Laura Werner was awarded a Masters in Creative Writing by the University of Exeter in 2020. She is a poet and is particularly interested in writing that examines the treatment of the female body in the contexts of pain and illness. Her PhD project, Uterine Poetics, will research lived experience of endometriosis. She lives with her family near Dartmouth where she enjoys running, swimming, paddle boarding and generally being active outside.

The Centre is also delighted to welcome PhD students Cathrin Fischer and Juanita Navarro Paez, who will be joining the Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures project and the Shame and Medicine project respectively, under the tutelage of Luna Dolezal.

Cat began on July 1st, and her project will bring together phenomenological and crip-queer-feminist methods to investigate the lived experience of disability, especially in relation of prosthesis. Prostheses at once encompass a curative, medicalised approach to disability and a crip-queer possibility in the way that body, environment, and technology is used and related to. She therefore aims to examine the experience of those who use prosthesis, and how they imagine prostheses to feature in the future. More generally, she is interested in interdisciplinary philosophical approaches which centre the lived, bodily experience of marginalised people and challenge normative assumptions.

Juanita’s project will explore how shame and shaming in medicine are represented through comics from an intersectional perspective. Comics, being a media that combines text and image, offer important communicative tools that allow for in-depth discussions of topics that could be considered taboo or overly complicated, both for authors and audiences. Moreover, they are commonly used by marginalised groups to make their own personal or collective stories known and regain control over their narratives. More generally, she is interested in popular media analysis.

Our final PhD student in the cohort will also join us from September, and will be working with Dora Vargha on her Connecting Three Worlds project.

Luna Dolezal News

Shame, Stigma and COVID-19

19 January 2021

WCCEH are delighted to share that Luna Dolezal, Fred Cooper and Arthur Rose have received a UKRI-AHRC COVID Rapid Response Grant (AH/V013483/1) for a project called “Scenes of Shame and Stigma in COVID-19”.  This project will identify and investigate, through philosophical, cultural studies and historical analyses, the sites and circumstances of shame, shaming, stigma and discrimination during the first 12 months (January-December 2020) of the COVID-19 health crisis. The project is particularly concerned with investigating (1) how stigma and shame are related to uneven distributions of social power and (2) how digital technologies, social media, neoliberal ideologies and rapid global information exchange have conditioned the ‘scenes of shame and stigma’ when compared to previous respiratory pandemics. The project is based in the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health and is affiliated with the Wellcome Trust funded Shame and Medicine Project.

More information about the project can be seen here:

Luna Dolezal News

Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures

6 November 2020

Luna Dolezal is a Co-Investigator on the Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award project ‘Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures’ which is launching their new website this week:

The project is the first to combine expertise in arts and humanities, design, robotics and users of assistive technologies to increase understanding of how disability and embodiment are currently represented and used, and the ways in which technology can enhance lives in the future. It brings together researchers in Literary and Cultural Studies and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds, Philosophy at the University of Exeter, Disability Design at the University of Dundee, and Robotics at the University of Sheffield. It aims to develop new work not only in these disciplines, but also in the broad interdisciplinary area of Critical Medical Humanities.

You can also follow the project on Twitter:

UPDATE (01/12/2020): A funded PhD opportunity is now available with this project! Go to our opportunities page to find out more.

Luna Dolezal News

Shame and Medicine

2 October 2020

The Shame and Medicine project has officially started, and is launching a new website! (See:

Shame and Medicine is an interdisciplinary research project funded by a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award. The project is led by Luna Dolezal (Exeter) and Matthew Gibson (Birmingham) and based at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health and the University of Birmingham, with a collaboration with a clinical partner at Children’s Health, Ireland, in Dublin. The overall aim of the project is to research the role of shame in various aspects of health and medicine, including clinical practice, patient experience and medical student education. Shame and Medicine is engaging a team of researchers in social sciences, cultural studies, medicine and philosophy to investigate the philosophy and cultural representation of shame in medicine, while also doing empirical studies looking at shame experiences in current healthcare practices and professional culture, particularly exploring how race, ethnicity, class and gender impact on the experience of shame. The Shame and Medicine project will provide evidence that will improve the quality of health services and enrich our understanding of the experience of shame as it relates to health, professional practice and education.

Visit the new website to read more about the project, to find out about upcoming events, to see project publications, to sign up for the newsletter and to see the latest blog posts:

You can also follow the project on Twitter: and Facebook:

If you are interested in taking part in the research, as a patient or doctor, you can sign up here:

Luna Dolezal News

Centre-sponsored conference is held fully online for the first time

21 September 2020

WCCEH were pleased to co-sponsor the British Society of Phenomenology’s 2020 conference, which, due to the pandemic, was held entirely online for the first time. Despite this, the engagement and participation was incredible from the 150 attendees, especially in the Q&A sessions.

The BSP’s conference was co-hosted by the Centre’s Luna Dolezal and Jessie Stanier, who produced a number of welcome videos to create a friendly online atmosphere in the run up to the conference. They also proposed the theme of the conference, which was ‘Engaged Phenomenology’.

‘Engaged Phenomenology’ seeks to complement the approaches of applied and critical phenomenology by investigating embodied lived experience through a plurality of voices, encouraging dialogue between phenomenology, as a philosophical approach, and other disciplines, in addition to practitioners and individuals outside the academy. [From the BSP website]

Keynote speeches were given by Sophie Loidolt, Mariana Ortega and Dan Zahavi, along with nearly sixty pre-recorded presentations with accompanying live Q&A chat rooms. Luna chaired the whole conference, whilst Jessie co-presented alongside fellow Centre members Veronica Heney and Nicole Miglio, a PhD student the Centre had the pleasure of hosting last year.

The BSP were so keen on the theme that it has formed the basis of their essay prize this year!

Congratulations to Luna, Jessie, Veronica and Nicole!


Luna Dolezal News

The Department of Ultimology

7 October 2019

The Department of Ultimology

Ultimology is the study of endings, and the essay ranges across multiple disciplines; history of art, communications technologies, linguistics, the climate emergency, the history of disease and personal stories.

Centre academics Dora Vargha and Luna Dolezal contributed to this RTE radio essay written by Fiona Hallinan and Kate Strain.


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