Poems for doctors

Poems for Doctors is a collaboration between Scottish Poetry Library (SPL)and the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews.  The project developed out of Tools of the Trade: Poems for new doctors, a small anthology of poems published by Scottish Poetry Library and distributed to graduating doctors in Scotland.

Doctors regularly share the most personal, vulnerable, and crucial moments of other people’s lives.  SPL were interested in finding a way to make a related online project. Using poetry this would hopefully create opportunities for discussion as doctors recognised some of their own experiences in those of others.  The Dean of Medicine at the University of St Andrews expressed an interest in hosting a project, and a little later I became involved.

Working with SPL we came up with the idea of building on the book by making short seasons of videos of medics (qualified or in training) reading chosen poems from the collection. Readers also explain very briefly why they chose the poem they are going to read. We’d make the readings publicly available on a blog, and also host a closed Facebook group, where we hoped each reading could provide a seed for informal discussion. The group would be managed by a team of highly experienced medics.

Having helped define the form of the project, I made the blog site, and set up the Facebook group. Colleagues at the School of Medicine and Scottish Poetry Library brought together a team of experienced doctors to guide/moderate the discussion group. Meanwhile I set about creating a collection of new videos. Of course, all this turned out to be the just for starters. I’ve recently also been making a projection kiosk/listening point/exhibit which will allow students and others to sample a few readings, and get a taste of the project. Cue scrounging of a once loved exhibition plinth, old gear, etc, etc. Seems like a lot to pull together for a small exhibit, but it’s surprising what a lick of paint can do, and before you know it, there it is…

The project doesn’t have a launch day as such, instead it is easing into being live over the next few weeks.

See also

This post about designing a summary report for Poems for Doctors

This portfolio project about making an interactive video jukebox for poetry readings

You can find out more at med.st-andrews.ac.uk/poemsfordoctors/

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