Friday, 18 January 2019

The Weight of Expectation Comic Launch: Illustrating How Obesity Stigma gets Under the Skin

28 February 2019
York Medical Society, York

Event Information
A new edition of a comic exploring how our culture stigmatises larger body sizes is launching in York on 28 February. The Weight of Expectation, or WoE, comic was created in 2018 and tells the story of how stigma associated with bodyweight and size gets under the skin and is felt in the flesh. Now the ‘Next Generation’ edition, designed specifically for young people, is to be launched in a special event at the York Medical Society (23 Stonegate, York YO1 8AW). The Weight of Expectation is the result of a collaboration between art collective Act With Love and illustrator Jade Sarson to visualise the research of sociologists Oli Williams and Ellen Annandale. Limited edition screen prints from the comic will be exhibited at the event.

The WoE comic is based on the experiences of people who attended NHS-subsidised weight-loss groups in one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England. There will be a special launch event on the 28th February where Oli will give a talk about the project and chair a panel discussion between 6.30-7.30pm. The panel will include the comic artist Jade, co-author Ellen and others. This will be followed by a signing session where Jade can sign copies of The Weight of Expectation. Free comics will be available to anyone who attends, including education packs of 10 comics for anyone who can put the comic to good use in their practice, from teaching to health services.

Guests are invited to attend the event from 6:00pm and are welcome to stay until 9:00pm. Complementary food and drink will be available for all guests. Limited edition prints will be available to buy, with all money going back to supporting the WoE project.

Additional Information
Jade is a Lincoln-based illustrator and comic artist whose style is a fusion of British roots with Japanese influences, combining digital and traditional techniques. In 2013 she was nominated for Best Emerging Talent in the British Comic Awards, and in 2014 won the Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel competition with For the Love of God, Marie!

Oli and Ellen’s shared research interests are health inequalities and social change. Currently Oli is a Research Fellow at King’s College London researching inclusive and collaborative health service design. He is a co-founder of Act With Love, along with his brother Joe, and recently spoke about his research and the WoE project on the popular Don’t Salt My Game podcast hosted by Laura Thomas:

Ellen is a Professor of Sociology at the University of York whose research has focused on various aspects of health inequalities, especially as they concern gender. Ahead of the exhibition, Oli said:
“There is a clear link between social inequality and obesity. Despite this the strategy for the war that has been declared on the ‘obesity epidemic’ places blame on the individual for their condition rather than more seriously addressing the social factors which make a ‘healthy lifestyle’ an unrealistic aim for many in society.

“This comic is based on the experiences of people who were not lacking in motivation – they attended a weekly weight-loss group – but still struggled to maintain a so-called healthy lifestyle due to the challenges they faced in everyday life.

“One challenge which we pay specific attention to in this comic is weight-based stigma. Our research has shown that if the goal is to promote health this stigma is both unhelpful and ineffective. So we wanted to illustrate in the comic how it impacts people’s lives and actually acts as a barrier to the adoption of health promoting behaviours like being physically active. We felt it was important to do this because a better understanding of the effects of stigma would help to improve public health.

“The WoE comic tells the story of how stigma associated with bodyweight and size gets under the skin and is felt in the flesh. It has been gratifying but depressing that so many people have recognised their own experiences in our comic. We would all benefit from a different approach to health promotion being taken, so let’s come together and call for change.”

WoE was funded by the Wellcome Trust, NIHR CLAHRC West, NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands, Attenborough Arts Centre and the University of Leicester.

Obesity, Stigma and Reflexive Embodiment: Feeling (and illustrating) the “Weight” of Expectations

Existing research overwhelmingly demonstrates that obesity stigma is an ineffective means by which to reduce the incidence of obesity and that it promotes weight-gain. However, the sensate experiences associated with the subjective experience of obesity stigma as a reflexively embodied phenomenon have been largely unexamined. We explore the unhelpfulness of weight-based stigma drawing on ethnographic research with weight-loss groups whose members were predominantly overweight/obese and of low-socio-economic status and investigate what/how obesity stigma made group members feel. We found that obesity stigma confused participant's objective and subjective experiences of their bodies. This was primarily evident on occasions when group members felt heavier after engaging in behaviours associated with weight-gain but this 'weight' did not register on the weighing scales. We conceptualise this as the weight of expectation, which is taken as illustrative of the perpetual uncertainty and morality that characterises weight-management. In addition, we show that respondents ascribed their sensate experiences of physiological responses to exercise with moral and social significance. These carnal cues provided a sense of certainty and played an important role in attempts to negotiate obesity stigma. Oli Williams has collaborated with award-winning illustrator Jade Sarson to present the study findings in the form of a comic ‘The Weight of Expectation’, which tells the story of how stigma associated with bodyweight and size gets under the skin and is felt in the flesh. Free copies of the comic will be available at the seminar.

Oli Williams PhD
Oli Williams was awarded the NIHR CLAHRC West Dan Hill Fellowship in Health Equity which he took up at the University of Bath. He later joined the SAPPHIRE Group at the University of Leicester as a Research Associate before being awarded a THIS Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship based at King’s College London. His research concerns health inequalities, co- production, patient and public involvement, knowledge translation, area-based and equitable intervention, obesity stigma, and promotion of healthy lifestyles. He is an active promoter of health equity and social change and co-founder of the art collective Act With Love (AWL)

Ellen Annandale
Is Professor of Sociology at the University of York. She has a longstanding research interest in health inequality which stems back to her early post-PhD research position at the University of Glasgow working on the West of Scotland 2007 Study on health in the community. She has focused particularly on gender inequalities in health from a feminist perspective. Some of her publications in this area are Women’s Health and Social Change (Routledge) and The Palgrave Handbook of Gender and Healthcare (co-edited with E Kuhlman).

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Corpse Work

Thursday 13 June 2019, 9.00am to 5.00pm
(CFP Deadline 31 March 2019)
DaCNet, based at the University of York, invites papers for the one-day symposium Interdisciplinary Approaches to Corpse Work. In the context of this symposium, we are referring to ‘corpse work’ in its broadest sense: cultural, medical or otherwise. As such, we invite papers on themes including, but not limited to:
    • death technologies
    • the presentation of the corpse in media, cinema, literature, gaming, etc
    • work with the deceased
    • the corpse as waste
    • the value of the corpse
    • agency of the deceased
    • toxicity and necrosis
    • trauma, grief, loss and memorialisation
Abstracts of up to 300 words and a biography of no more than 50 words should be submitted to by no later than 31 March 2019.
Location: University of York
Admission: Free, booking required.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Going Probiotic: The Turn to Life in Human and Environmental Health

6 February 2019

FREE (eventbrite ticket)

To date the Anthropocene has been an antibiotic epoch, marked by systematic (if patchy) efforts to eradicate, control, and rationalise life. Widespread anxieties about the pathologies of such modern forms of biopower are informing a probiotic turn in the management of human and environmental health. Here formerly taboo lifeforms and process are being reintroduced into our bodies, homes, cities and the wider countryside. The aim being to use life to manage life, securing the circulation of biological and geophysical process to deliver desired functions and services. This lecture critically evaluates this turn, focusing on the use of keystone species – ecologically significant animals capable of regulating ecological dynamics – to restore target ecologies. It draws on examples of rewilding in the ‘macro’ biome and biome restoration in the microbiome to identify a common ontology and ‘environmental’ mode of biopower (after Foucault 2010). The analysis offers criteria for critically evaluating the political ecologies of these probiotic environmentalities and their potential for hospitable government for, and beyond, the Anthropocene.

Jamie Lorimer is an Associate Professor in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. His research examines popular and scientific understandings of nature and the politics of managing life. Past projects have crossed scales from elephants to microbes. He is the author of Wildlife in the Anthropocene: Conservation after Nature (University of Minnesota Press). His current book project examines the probiotic turn in Western healthcare and environmental management.

Narratives of Hope: Science, Theology and Environmental Public Policy (SATSU)

Date and time: Wednesday 10 April 2019, 1pm to 2pm Location: W/306, Wentworth College, Campus West, University of York ( Map ) Audie...