Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Medical Examinations: Art, Story & Theory

I'm dedicating quite a bit of time getting ready for a talk I'm giving this Friday at the Medical Examinations: Art, Story & Theory conference hosted by the University of California, Riverside. This looks neat!

As I understand it, the broad theme is how people tell stories of illness and care through a variety of media. I'll be talking about comics, as will my UK friend Dr. Ian Williams, but others will touch on storytelling, literature, fine art, theater. It hits my sweet spot of integrating science and art while being very different from the Graphic Medicine (i.e., comics) conferences I've attended and helped organize in the past. Also unlike the GM conferences, there won't be separate academic panels or tracks for people to attend, just us speakers.

I think I'm up for the challenge.

I take my responsibility to "put on a good show" very seriously, particularly when someone else is picking up the tab (and UC Riverside and organizer Juliet McMullin are treating me with atypical hospitality). Whether you're satisfied or not--and you can't be a tougher critic than I am on myself--I try to give my best. At least ever since one engagement I bumbled and hmmmed my way through because I'd gotten cocky and thought I didn't need to prepare because I'd already given the same speech a few times and had it down. Turned out I was wrong. I honestly don't know if my hosts or audience noticed--they seemed happy--but I felt like a goat. Won't happen again.

In any event, this will be an entirely new, never-before-seen talk that right now looks like it'll run somewhere between 8.5 and 240 minutes. I expect to hone in on about 40 to 45 in the next couple of days.

Astonishingly, the conference is Free! However, the organizers are asking people to register so they can get a head count, and I understand spaces are available. Here's the registration site and here's the agenda. I'm speaking Friday at 4:30 p.m. I may have something extra-special planned; I may not. You'll have to come and see.


Jim O'Kane said...

Everything I know about speechmaking I learned from Bo Svenson in "Walking Tall" and Morgan Freeman in "Lean on Me," so my best suggestion would be to speak while carrying a baseball bat in hand as you address the assembled crowd. People will certainly pay attention, and discuss your compelling delivery all through the dinner hour.

ronnie said...

"...right now looks like it'll run somewhere between 8.5 and 240 minutes."

Every presentation I ever gave. Right there.

You'll be a knockout. I just wish I didn't live on the other side of The World As We Know It so I could take it in.

Brian Fies said...

Funny story about how long my talk turned out to be.

Just got home; I'll write it all up when I get a few minutes tomorrow.

Juliet said...

You were amazing!!! We all loved the 240 min talk you gave. People were inspired and could not wait to talk with you more. Part of what you and Ian did, I think, was to really give us stuffy academics an opportunity to hear and see the critical conversation in GM. But more importantly, your talk contributed to our ability to see the potential in other forms of storytelling and imagine a different way of moving in the world. It was liberating.

Oops, I'm slipping into a Pollyanna moment. Is that a bad thing?