Forms of Care

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventSymposium


What forms does care take? What does taking care of oneself, another, or each other look and feel like? These are questions that have arisen and persisted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as everyday intimacies have given way to the need for social distancing, mutual aid groups have organised to try to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in their communities, and NHS hospitals and services have been overwhelmed and altered drastically. Yet these questions also have a rich and interdisciplinary history in the critical medical humanities, disability studies, the environmental humanities, literary studies, affect theory, moral philosophy, feminist theory, and beyond. As a word tied to the realms of both emotion and practice, care simultaneously poses a challenge to and requires form; the messy, ambivalent, spontaneous, and sometimes difficult feelings around caregiving exist alongside the frameworks, structures, routines, and scrupulous attention that acts of care might entail.
Inspired by current scholarly and political debates (such as the recently published The Care Manifesto by Andreas Chatzidakis, Jamie Hakim, Jo Littler, Catherine Rottenberg, and Lynne Segal) that lament the systematic dismantling of caring infrastructures under neoliberalism and at the same time call for a more expansive sense of caring activities and ‘imaginaries’, this cross-period, interdisciplinary workshop seeks to spotlight form as that which might productively organise but also capture the protean nature of care. We want to work with form as both the textual, creative, and cultural forms and techniques familiar within humanities disciplines, and as a more expansive sense of the forms and institutions of the social world and its ‘arrangements’ (speaking to Caroline Levine’s concept of form), in order to spark discussion especially about care at the intersection of ethics, affect, and aesthetics.
Period9 Sept 202110 Sept 2021
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • care
  • literary form
  • medical humanities
  • crisis