Medical Heritage Events: Our 2022 Spring/Summer programme is here!

Written by on January 18, 2022

The Heritage team at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow are delighted to introduce our programme of events for February to June 2022. Over the next six months, we will explore some of our incredible medical history collections through both hybrid and in-person talks and workshops, and would like to invite you all along for the ride!

Heritage talks:

The themes we identify for our heritage programme are most often those that either hold the most contemporary relevancy, or are closest to our heart, and this year is no exception. Alongside some incredible collaborators and guest speakers, we will be diving into some of our most important and most beloved medical history collections held at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

In March we are delighted to be joined by Dr Deborah Brunton (Open University) to trace the history of vaccination: from Dr Edward Jenner’s pivotal discovery in 1796, to the development of public health and vaccination programmes in Scotland.

We will also be exploring the role of rest and relaxation in healthcare through our fantastic Mearnskirk Hospital Collection: set up in 1930 as primarily a children’s hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis. Join us in April alongside Dr Mara Dougall (University of Strathclyde) as we discuss why happiness truly is the best medicine.

Our May event will be dedicated to celebrating over thirty years of the International Day of the Midwife. It’s often forgotten that the field of midwifery, and more broadly obstetrics and gynaecology, has a unique relationship to Glasgow’s medical heritage. Join us to explore this unique and interesting history through the lens of our College’s own history, and our expansive obstetrics and gynaecological collections.


Back by popular demand, our Reframed: Conversations about heritage and inclusion series returns in February and May with two thought-provoking talks. Continuing our commitment to addressing historic issues of equality, diversity and inclusion, these events take a reflective and honest look at the College’s own history and heritage, examining it through a new lens.

Join us in February for our first event which explores the history of the first South Asian licentiates of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. This event aims to amplify the under-represented histories of these pioneering physicians and surgeons and examine the relationship between the College, the British Empire and racial equality.

In June, we will be joined by Dr Gillean McDougall (University of Glasgow) to uncover the patient experience within our medical heritage collections, considering themes such as the patient-doctor relationship, autonomy, and medical agency.

The Goodall Symposium:

After a brief hiatus, our annual Goodall Symposium returns this June with our highly-anticipated ‘Changing Minds: Neurosurgery and Psychiatry in 1950s and 60s Glasgow’ event. During the mid-20th century Glasgow became a world leader in the fields of neurosurgery and psychiatry with some of the greatest minds working to change approaches to therapy and surgical techniques. This year our Goodall Symposium looks at the work of three of these great minds – R.D. Laing, Joseph Schorstein, and James Sloan Robertson.


Nothing beats getting up-close and hands-on with history, and our selection of workshops aim to support you in doing just that!

Come along to our ‘Spirit of Mearnskirk’ event where we will be sharing some of our favourite items from the Mearnskirk Hospital Collection, in collaboration with the BBC’s Art that Made Us festival. This reflective, conversational workshop will ask us to consider the role of hope and kindness in healthcare – as well as the importance of empathy in sickness and in health.

We know that the archive can be a bit of a daunting place if you are unfamiliar with them, so if you are passionate about medical history but don’t know where to start, our ‘Explore our Collections’ workshop is the ideal place to begin! We will be taking you on a tour of our archives and providing you with the tools necessary to help you get started with your own history research, dissertation or personal project! This event is targeted towards undergraduate and postgraduate students, but is open to everyone and anyone interested in utilising medical heritage archives and is looking to learn in a friendly and welcoming environment.

To see the full programme, click here

To book any of our Spring/Summer events, click here:

All events are free to attend, but booking is essential. All events are subject to Covid-19 restrictions but will support hybrid and remote attendance where possible.

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About Us

The College’s heritage collections – including thousands of medical and surgical instruments, rare books, archives, and pictures – span over 6 centuries and are an excellent resource for exploring the history of medicine and the history of the city of Glasgow. Many items from the collections have been digitised and are available to view here. Our digitisation work is ongoing, and we add new items to the site regularly, so keep checking back to discover more.

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