A medical history Witness Seminar is a form of oral history. Several people who have been associated with a particular topic in medicine or health care are invited to present their accounts of the key developments with which they had direct personal involvement. They are an opportunity to meet with peers and former colleagues to discuss and reflect upon their experiences. The proceedings are recorded and transcribed, and the record made available to historians and other interested parties.
Our seminars are based on the model of those pioneered by Professor Tansey and her team at the Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL. However, while the London Seminars have their focus, generally speaking, on developments in biomedical science, the Glasgow Seminars have so far concentrated on the social and psychological aspects of twentieth-century medicine and health care.
It is only possible for us to stage these events with the active participation of individuals who have personal experience of the relevant fields. The Centre wishes to record its gratitude to Dr Keith Beard for his work in helping to organise the 2007 event and to Dr Claire Hilton and Professor Tom Arie for similar assistance with the 2008 event. We are grateful also to Professor Philip Graham, who was the lead organiser in 2009, and to Dr Rufus Ross and Professor David McGowan who assisted with the arrangements in 2010.
We would welcome the opportunity to plan further events. If you have an idea for a Witness Seminar in the History of Medicine, please contact the Centre Director, Professor Malcolm Nicolson.