The need for transformative change across healthcare and society at large is now well recognized in light of diverse social, ecological and health crises. Out of an introductory public health module for first-year students in the Bachelor program in physiotherapy at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, healthpunk emerged as an approach to imagine diverse futures for more socially and ecologically responsible physiotherapy and healthcare in general. A collection of stories written by this first cohort of students was published in Physiopunk volume 1 alongside an introductory editorial and a series of multilingual commentaries from physiotherapy educators from around the world. Read more about the initial project here.
For Healthpunk volume 2, we invite healthcare students, clinicians, educators, researchers, professional representatives, policy-makers, and patients from around the world to send us your own healthpunk stories of future healthcares in any language. The central task remains the same as before: We are looking for fictional stories located anytime in the future, in which the work of healthcare is deliberately focused on responding to social and ecological challenges and supporting better ways of living and being healthy together in this manner.
A little more about healthpunk
One of the intentions of experimenting with healthpunk and publishing Physiopunk volume 1 was to open up healthpunk as a new genre, approach and possibly methodology in transformative healthcare research and education. Drawing on the philosophies and genres emerging around speculative fiction and diverse international futurism (check here for a neat little overview), we suggest healthpunk as an approach that can help us envision hopeful yet radically different possibilities for future healthcare beyond the parameters, logics, and politics of our siloed clinical environments and scopes of practice. This also means that hopepunk stories do not need to be realistic in any narrow sense, to the extent that not all actors in them even need to be human. In the words of the famous painter Pablo Picasso: ‘the chief enemy of creativity is good sense’. Healthpunk is an invitation to let go of established conventions and imagine otherwise healthcares filled with creativity and genuine care for the health of everyone we share this planet with.
To adequately respond to the diverse, past, present and future social, ecological and health challenges we are facing everywhere around the world, we will need many different visions, conjured up and communicated collectively, in many different places and many different languages. For this reason, healthpunk is not about the creation of unifying master narratives that will rule them all but the diversification of healthcare futures; not the promotion of futures based on Western colonial ideas of progress or development but pluriversal imaginaries. Healthpunk stories should not aim to present narratives intended for a new global healthcare profession of one or another type, but for and ideally with their local professional, social, and ecological communities, while keeping in mind both local and global issues affecting their health.
In light of ongoing global environmental change, healthpunk draws inspiration from the genre of hopepunk in its name. There, hope stands for the recognition that ongoing global ecological change will lead to some undesirable changes but that aspiring to better ways forward remains valid under any conditions. Insofar as there are globally relevant themes like environmental change then, other recommended anchor points to consider in the fabulation of healthpunk stories include social and ecological challenges impacting the health of people and planet, technological and digital disruption, the need to find new ways to coexist and enjoy health with all non-human forms of existence that share our world, changing demographics, healthcare economics and professional landscapes, and the central importance of traditional and indigenous knowledges and ways of life to envisioning better pasts, presents, and futures.
Writing, submission, and review guidelines
For the time being, we are predominantly looking for written fictional essays, though poems and other written formats are also acceptable. Stories should be no shorter than 500 words and should not exceed 2000 words and can be written by single or multiple authors and submitted in any language. The use of references is possible but neither expected nor particularly encouraged.
All stories will be reviewed by an international editorial team. The review process will not be based on high literary expectations. Though style will be appreciated, the review will more strongly focus on expressions of imagination, originality, creativity, and a sense of understanding about the complex interconnections between health, society, and ecology. Once the review process is completed, all authors, whether accepted for publication in Healthpunk Vol 2 or related satellite publications, or not accepted for publication in either of these streams will receive a message to inform them of this outcome and, where feasible, also some feedback on their story.
A final selection of 8-10 stories written by healthcare students will be published in Healthpunk volume 2, once again, alongside an introductory editorial and a range of invited commentaries from contributors from around the world. Though we will not be able to support the publication of all stories you might send us, we will additionally publish a selection of other stories written by healthcare students, healthcare professionals and patients on a range of other platforms including the websites of healthcare professional organizations, journals and other media. This will be done in close collaboration with the respective author(s) and will always include clear links to the final published version of Healthpunk volume 2.
The deadline for sending us your healthpunk story is 22 June 2022. Please send us your healthpunk story using this google form: https://forms.gle/Wi24p6oThCNiiU1a7.
We look forward to reading your story and conjuring up future healthcares with you 😊
Your Healthpunk volume 2 editorial team,
Liv J. Nikolaisen (Physiotherapy programme lead, UiT The Arctic University of Norway)
Mahitsonge Nomusa Ntinga (Lecturer, University of Cape Town)