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Dr Fiona Johnstone

Assistant Professor in Visual Medical Humanities

Assistant Professor in Visual Medical Humanities in the Department of English Studies
Assistant Professor in Visual Medical Humanities in the Institute for Medical Humanities


I am an art historian, specialising in the intersections between art history and medical humanities. I currently lead the Visual and Material Lab as part of the Discovery Reserach Platform for Medical Humanities (2023-2030). 

I completed my PhD in the History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London, and subsequently took up a Wellcome Trust ISSF fellowship, which allowed me to work on two book-length projects, a monograph AIDS & Representation (Bloomsbury, May 2023) and a collected volume on Anti-Portraiture (Bloomsbury, 2020), and to curate an exhibition exploring the historic art therapy collection The Adamson Collection. 

I joined Durham Institute for Medical Humanities in 2018 as an Associate Editor for The Polyphony, and was acting Editor in Chief from 2019-2020. From 2019-2021 I was PI for the Wellcome-funded project Thinking Through Things”, which engaged with and expanded the visual and material turn in the medical humanities. From 2021-2023 I was a postdoctoral research associate in visual medical humanities – to our knowledge this was the first visual medical humanities appointment in the UK!

From 2021–23, I co-directed the series Confabulations: Art Practice, Art History, Critical Medical Humanities; we are now developing this material into a field-defining edited volume, Art and the Critical Medical Humanities, to be published by Bloomsbury in their Critical Interventions in the Medical and Health Humanities series. I am also working on a new monographic project, provisionally entitled Critical Interlopers: artists as researchers and collaborators in healthcare and medicine, and co-editing a collected volume for Palgrave Studies in Fashion and the Body, titled Curative Things, which explores the intersections between art, fashion, and health.

Esteem Indicators

  • 2022: Steering Groups: I am a member of the Steering Group for the Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research (NNMHR)
  • 2022: Peer Review: I have reviewed articles for BJPsych Bullentin (2021), Modern and Contemporary France (2021), Medical Humanities (2019), the Science Museum Group Journal (2020, 2018) and Health Journal (2019). I have reviewed book proposals for Routledge (2021), Liverpool University Press (2020) and Palgrave MacMillan (2020).


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)