Health Language Research Group


The HLRG hosts and participates in a diverse range of events in the field.

Particularly popular is the HLRG annual lecture, which takes place every year and attracts a large audience of cross-disciplinary scholars.


HLRC Events
Health Language Research Group Annual Lectures

Archived Events

Annual Health Communication Lecture 2010

Professor Jonathan Tritter delivered the Annual Health Communication Lecture

  • Big Society: self-governance and communication

Health Language Research Group Seminar - News Coverage of Stem Cell Research

Tuesday 1st June 2010 (15:00-16:30)
A54 Trent Building, University Park campus

Myth, mavericks and magic - How has the news coverage of stem cell research change over time?

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Presenter: Sarah Atkins, University of Nottingham 
Discussant: Professor Brigitte Nerlich, University of Nottingham 
Chair: Jude England, Head of Social Science Collections and Research, British Library 

Stem cell research is a field rich in rhetoric, metaphors and imagery, expressing the hopes but also fears for this continually advancing science. This is particularly evident in its news coverage. But how does this media rhetoric work to reflect, create and shape dominant cultural myths pertaining to stem cell research? How are relations of power between scientists, publics and natural matter construed in these myths? The study presented here investigates such representations in the mass media, unpacking the realities and ideologies that have been presented over time. It focuses, in particular, on the verbal metaphors and visual images surrounding three key stories in a range of print news media and Internet news sites. These representations are found to encode shifting ideas about scientific and medical agency over the course of twelve years, but also to highlight some key continuities and persistent cultural framings of the field. Drawing on notions such as the Frankenstein scientist, the journey towards either a utopian or nightmare future, and the magic nature or personification of stem cells, the metaphors and images do, it is suggested, work to create a larger, global structure of interlinked ideas about scientific power, in which different elements receive heightened emphasis in different time periods. 

The study was conducted as part of an ESRC internship at the British Library and will be introduced by Jude England, Head of Social Science Collections and Research at the library. Professor Brigitte Nerlich, who has worked extensively on the use of metaphor and framing devices in the public debate on stem cells, as well as other scientific and health debates, will also talk on some of her thoughts surrounding the shifting patterns of news media coverage in this field.


Annual Health Communication Lecture 2009

Professor Trisha Greenhalgh delivered the Annual Health Communication Lecture:

  • "We have your medical details online”: Clinician-patient communication in an age of distributed electronic patient records

Download the AHC lecture presentation slides



School of English

The University of Nottingham

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5899
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924