The Heart of the Matter:
A Health Humanities Project
To improve wellbeing and develop knowledge through an interdisciplinary understanding of cultural, medical and lived experiences of the heart.
What is the Heart of the Matter?
The Heart of the Matter is an interdisciplinary project that aims to deepen our understanding of the heart and improve human wellbeing through fostering dialogue and innovation across the fields of health, medicine, engineering, philosophy, literary studies and the humanities.
The aim of the Heart of the Matter is to pull together holistic bodily, social, cultural, medical, technical and lived experiences of cardiac health and concerns. We seek to foster communication and collaboration between scholars and practitioners from various fields. We understand the heart as physiological and figurative, a vital organ and cross-cultural symbol, a function that can be replaced by artificial devices, and a means to understand our sense of self and identity.
The Heart of the Matter encourages exploration of the heart and psychology, medicine, emotion, gender, historical context, biomedical engineering, and literary studies.
Underpinning this project is the belief that heart health and cultural, social and historical understandings and representations of the heart can be mutually enriched through cross-disciplinary dialogue.
The Heart of the Matter was co-founded by Shakespeare studies scholar Dr Claire Hansen (Australian National University), health humanities and Shakespeare scholar Dr Brid Phillips (The University of Western Australia) and biomedical engineering scholar Dr Michael Stevens (University of New South Wales).