Round-up: HS in the News
We've had a busy autumn!
Just in case you missed it, here’s a round-up of Healthy Scepticism in the news:
In November, we (Drs Agnes Arnold-Forster and Caitjan Gainty) wrote an article for The i about Austria’s vaccine mandate. We argued that while there are some good arguments in favour of compulsory vaccinations, history reveals significant problems with such measures.
This article was picked up by Russell Brand, who made a whole youtube video about it. Now approaching one million views.
We also wrote another article for The i about travel restrictions and border controls in the wake of the new omicron variant of Covid-19: “In following this policy, the British government is unfortunately staying true to a deeply troubling history of disease scapegoating that arguably compounds, rather than relieves, our shared pandemic burden.”
Earlier this year, Agnes wrote an article for the British Medical Journal, on polarisation, incivility, and scientific debate during Covid-19. Read here.
She also wrote something for The i about chronic UTIs and the healthcare system’s inability, or refusal, to care for women with long-term conditions. You can watch the film she made with Rita Maria Conry about UTIs here.
Caitjan has also been busy, writing several pieces for The Conversation on the healthy scepticism theme. One, picked up by ABC Radio Australia, offered a look into the intrinsic scepticism of the early 20th century to contemplate how it was exactly that snake oil got a bad name.
Another considered the complex and nuanced history of the germ theory denialism we still see today, noting that this was a movement with roots every bit as deep as germ theory itself. And a final piece charted the surprisingly populist origins of a familiar medical technique: resuscitation.
Finally, led by the talented filmmaker Eddie Bolger, Caitjan and Jesse Olszynko-Gryn served as academic consultants for a BBC Ideas film called 'The Curious History of Filming the Sneeze’. Produced by the project in collaboration with the Derek Jarman Lab, the film recombines varied visual materials from different contexts to explore the unexpected trajectories of sneezes as objects of fascination.
Rounding out the work done by the HS community over the autumn was our very first Film Festival. You can look back at the films we showed at the festival site, and enjoy also the discussions we had around these films on our YouTube channel film festival playlist. Huge thanks to our HS researchers, Grazia de Michele, Carmen Priotto and Helmie Stil, for pulling off this herculean feat.
As we had towards winter, there’s much more to come. Our collaboration with Brixton-based Centric grows more exciting and dynamic by the minute, we’ve recently received funding from King’s College, London to finish a film on cancer, produced by Helmie Stil with animations from Dominic Davis and written by Grazia de Michele and Agnes Arnold-Forster, and we look forward to contributing even more to the conversation about how we do healthcare and understand health in the months to come.