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From the Editor: building a better forum for your research

August 20, 2012

By Elizabeth T Hurren

As the new editor of Wellcome History I wanted to formally introduce myself and say how much I am looking forward to speaking to those that either write for or subscribe to the magazine. It is also an opportune moment to tell you about some new editorial developments over the next two years. I hope that these will enhance how everyone exchanges the latest research in the medical humanities because we are a growing community of people working across a wider range of subject areas.

Wellcome History has been published three times per year in hard copy. When it began in 1996, few people had online access. It made sense to physically print the magazine and post it to subscribers. Now that most people use the web on a daily basis, we hope to evolve Wellcome History from print to online.

This will give us the opportunity to reach many more readers who are interested in the history of medicine, to showcase, share and discuss the rich diversity of new research in the field, and to experiment with new initiatives such as live-stream debates. In 2013 we will therefore print two issues of Wellcome History instead of three, focus our energies on building up our online presence, and then evaluate whether there is a continued need for print.

We already have all the latest articles from the magazine here on this blog – so please do share, comment and send me your ideas about what might be featured and how it might be developed. I hope that it will become an exciting forum in which everyone can make a contribution, and I invite anyone wanting to contribute their latest research findings or activities to get in touch with me.

In issue 50, the focus is on public engagement and engaging lives in the medical humanities. Today this is an important aspect of everyone’s work in the academic community and especially for those who have been funded by the Wellcome Trust. If you have been involved in the type of work that features in this issue, then do please get in contact with me before the next submission deadline. It would also be great to know more about the stories behind primary documents or objects that you have been researching in places like the National Archives or the Wellcome Library.

To get things started, I would really like to hear a lot more about the sorts of stories that have made a difference to your work. Perhaps you came across something unexpected in an archive that led you to rethink traditional approaches in innovative ways. Maybe you collaborated with someone outside of your subject area and it brought fresh perspectives to an old problem. An intriguing possibility might be that by engaging with the general public a much more fruitful exchange of ideas happened than you expected. It would be great to hear about the policy implications of your work and the human stories that always underpin the medical humanities.

Do email me on eh140@le.ac.uk so that we can discuss ways to bring those engaging stories to a wider audience. I have extended the next deadline to 30 September 2012 to give contributors more time to submit proposals. In particular, I would like to see some longer feature articles of up to 2000 words. I look forward to having new conversations and forging friendships with all those working in the UK and internationally.

Kind regards, Elizabeth Hurren

Dr Elizabeth T Hurren is Reader in the Medical Humanities, University of Leicester (E eh140@le.ac.uk).

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