Making touch and haptic experiences visible in the hospital environment

Making touch and haptic experiences visible in the hospital environment

Ms Marie Hallager Andersen and Mette Terp HøybyeZoom

The environment of the hospital is commonly understood to impact on the well-being and healing of patients. The crisis of Covid-19 has brought to our awareness the absence of touch and in its absence the quotidian experience of the sensorial body that moves, and touches/is touched in the hospital environment. How do health providers, patients and researchers conceptualise and define the meaning of touch?

This paper shares reflections from a two-day interdisciplinary research experiment from 2019 in which academics, movement practitioners and artists—many with direct hospital experiences—collaboratively investigated concrete elements of hospital clothing and uniforms, soundscapes, documents and photos through movement exercises. The physical explorations in the workshop interweaved with conceptual discussions of touch, space, healing, illness and trust and revealed how the physical meeting with the hospital environment is a multifaceted experience. We will show a 5-minute film from the workshop. The film will be the starting point of a discussion of how the workshop helped us to uncover hidden ethical and relational negotiations.

The work is part of an ongoing collaboration between an anthropologist and a dance artist, in the project ‘Fieldwork in the Body’ (, designed to rethink how art and science may reciprocally inform each other.

Wed 16:30 - 18:00
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