WHO I AM: Bobbie Farsides (female – people often expect a man to turn up)
WHAT I DO: My day job is Professor of Clinical and Biomedical Ethics at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS).
MY CONNECTION TO GRAPHIC MEDICINE: I am a member of the Brighton based team which will be hosting the 4th International Comics and Medicine Conference in June. I have ‘lurked’ around the Graphic Medicine site for some time now, so it was wonderful to be invited to be part of this great event.
HOW I USE GRAPHIC MEDICINE IN MY WORK: As an ethicist with an interest in narrative and first person accounts of illness experience I am always looking for new resources with which to engage my students and enliven my own work. Some years ago I attended a conference in the US and was introduced to the genre of Cancer comics. My interest started there, and now my bookshelves are enriched by a growing collection of works and my interest in graphic novels has strayed beyond the medical. I am also Director of Student Support in the Medical School and I have used some works on depression and other mental health problems as a successful trigger to discussion with colleagues and students.
PROJECTS I’M WORKING ON RIGHT NOW: I have a number of projects on the go at the moment but perhaps the ones that will be of most interest to you are those involving the interface between art, science and medicine. I have really enjoyed working with artist Anna Dumitriu on a series of events entitled Trust Me I’m an Artist and my colleague Sue Eckstein and I take great pleasure from hosting an on-going series of Ethics in Performance events at our medical school. On a more everyday level my research is focused on the experience of health care professionals and scientists working in ethically contested fields of biomedicine.
PROJECTS BY OTHERS I’M EXCITED ABOUT RIGHT NOW: I am very interested in discovering more about some of the new names in comics that I came across when judging the abstracts submitted to the conference. I’m still something of a newbie in this area so every new book is exciting. I cannot go to London now without having a look in the Wellcome Trust bookshop which is committed to having a good section on graphic medicine. (You can follow them on Twitter at @WellcomeBlckwll.)
WHAT I’LL BE PRESENTING ON IN BRIGHTON: it is my honour and pleasure to be giving a very short introduction at the beginning of the conference, and I am chairing one of the sessions, but beyond that I shall be in the audience.
A FEW THINGS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO AT THE 2013 BRIGHTON COMICS & MEDICINE CONFERENCE: I’m really looking forward to meeting the members of the organising committee who have been so wonderful and have helped us so much. Skype and conference calls are all very well but it will be good to shake hands. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all our hard work will mean that everyone will have a great time in my home town.