The current pandemic has demonstrated that erosion of trust in expertise and medical authority is a serious challenge for public health. Most fundamentally, it has highlighted just how complex and contested the idea of evidence has become. But how might those working, researching and operating in health contexts respond? How can evidence be reimagined? What are the methods, practices and networks through which it can be mobilised? The Index of Evidence, based in the University of Exeter’s Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, is a project that takes an innovative approach to these questions. Using speculative, creative-critical methods, it is an attempt to map the changing meanings of evidence in the post-truth era.
Indexofevidence.org puts the conventional, alphabetical book index to imaginative use as the starting point for a co-authored, dispersed and evolving online text. Through short-form articles, it accumulates diverse voices, disciplines and perspectives. While a definitive account of our current upheavals can’t yet be written, this project is instead an unfolding experiment in collective thinking, a speculative index to a work that doesn’t yet exist, and an open-access publication platform.
This workshop invites Early Career and postdoctoral researchers, as well as PhD candidates in the medical humanities to find out more about the index and its aims, to help shape its direction, and to contribute short pieces for publication.
We’ll discuss how the Index works and how it might be developed, but also how its methodology might be generative or helpful for you. We’re interested to know, for instance, how problems of evidence present themselves in the context of your own research. What are the cultural and disciplinary environments in which evidence is particularly fraught? Tell us what new entries should be added to the index, why they are important, or why they need alternative analysis. We’ll also be thinking about how the format of the index might allow linked ‘clusters’ of articles that overlap or even argue with one another.
Join us 2-4 on 5th February for an informal Zoom session: a hands-on workshop in which we’ll discuss, intervene in and navigate the index, and work towards short-form writing for publication. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a link and joining details.