The Centre for Medical Humanities was delighted to partner with the Durham Book Festival in presenting Happy Talk on the afternoon of Saturday 23 October. The discussion, chaired by Caroline Beck, explored a range of provocative and varied issues around happiness, with a special focus on the relationship between happiness, health and illness. All three panellists were all captivating speakers. Bobby Baker is a renowned performance artist whose Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me demonstrates the interplay between art, mental health and society. Poet Gwyneth Lewis has used her own experiences of depression and illness to inspire work such as A Hospital Odyssey and Sunbathing in the Rain. Philosopher Havi Carel is the author of Illness, a compelling combination of life-narrative and phenomenological study of illness.
Happy Talk was held in the Durham Town Hall and attended by over 90 people. The Book Festival format allowed for a conversation that was wide-ranging but also intimate, as each of the panellists spoke movingly about how illness can rob you of happiness, but at the same time open you up to new ways of experiencing and understanding what it is to be happy. Photographs and a recording of the event will hopefully be available in the next few weeks.