Advanced Studies Seminar, ‘Philosophy of Birth Network’ Launch Day

Advanced Studies Seminar, ‘Philosophy of Birth Network’ Launch Day
Philosophy of Birth Network’ Launch Day
University of Oxford/ Complutense University of Madrid, 5 July 2023, 10am-12.30pm UK time/ 11am-1.30pm CET.
Online and In-person

About the Event

We will introduce the Network, explore together the vision, and move towards this. This is a Network that exists together and exists for us. The process of exchange, dialogue, and discussion is not a means to an end but the very essence of our Network.

Flyer_The Philosophy of Birth Network


Time Topics Speakers
10.00-10.30 Arrival and welcome to in-person participants
  MORNING SESSION: in-person and online
10:30 Chair intro (5 mins) Ashok Handa
10.35- Short talks
10:35-10.45 Talk 1 (10 min) ‘The Philosophy of Birth Network’ Stella Villarmea
10:45-11.00 Talk 2 (5 mins) ‘Challenges to respectful personalised care: what can you do?’ Brenda Kelly
11:00-11.10 Talk 3 (5 min) ‘Naming of parts: how should we talk about labour and birth in 2023’? Soo Downe
11:1011.15 Short break
11.15-12.15 Live & Unplugged Conversations(60 mins) All
12:15-12.25 Further steps (15 mins) Stella Villarmea/ Brenda Kelly
12.25-12.30 Closing remarks Ashok Handa
13.00-14.30 LUNCH
  AFTERNOON SESSION: in-person only
15:00-15.15 Moving forward (10 mins) Stella Villarmea
15:15-16.15 Group discussion, ideas & collaborations (50 mins) All
16:15-16.30 Closing remarks (15 mins) Soo Downe, Brenda Kelly, Stella Villarmea & Ashok Handa


Webinar Video

The Philosophy of Birth Network Introduction
Professor Stella Villarmea

The Philosophy of Birth Network will engage in translational philosophy, of relevance for both philosophers and birth practitioners. Through our Live & Unplugged Conversations, we seek to bridge the silos that have existed historically between women’s health and philosophical thinking.

Challenges to achieving respectful personalised care
Dr Brenda Kelly

This brief talk includes an outline of status quo from UK perspective taking into consideration what we have heard from pregnant women and birthing people in recent times. The discussion around barriers to achieving personalised care begins with consideration of personhood and how this is upheld (or not) in modern day delivery suites.

Naming of parts: how should we talk about labour and birth in 2023?
Professor Soo Downe

The famous poem by Henry Reed titled ‘Naming of Parts’ (1942) describes the juxtaposition between newly recruited second world war soldiers being taught the parts of an Enfield rifle, and how they went together with the sounds and sights of nature proceeding as a coherent and oblivious system in the background. In this short talk I will present the poem, and juxtapose it with two approaches to improving maternity care arising from recent maternity reviews. One is based on classic atomized command and control and risk management processes via long lists of specific ‘to do’ actions. The other prioritises the principles and values of ‘simple rules’ that explain the mechanisms that operate in whole systems. I will ask the question, could new Safety II approaches bring us closer to realizing such simple rules for the optimization of maternity care, by balancing what works well equally with what goes wrong?

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