If you’re interested in housing and the humanities, you might like to check out my new website at http://www.jillstewarthousing.co.uk
Here’s why I set it up.
Before embarking on an environmental health degree all those years ago, I was practically signed up to take a BA degree called Literature, Life and Thought. In the end, I didn’t do the arts degree but switched rather last minute to do the BSc. My later MSc could have fallen into either camp of science or arts, but in my dissertation about housing policy in post-apartheid South Africa, written as events were unfolding in 1995, I felt compelled to open it with a poem written by a homeless woman. At that time, I read quite a lot of South African literature, listened to optimistic music and enjoyed their art. I have no doubt this helped me with my more ‘academic’ studies – but more importantly, enhanced my learning and enjoyment of study and what I could share with others.
I have more recently found that there are several degree and other programmes of study that incorporate the humanities and arts into otherwise scientific programmes, such as asking medical students to take a course in literature. I am not surprised to learn that it is seen to help with interdisciplinary understanding of complex issues, to help promote equity and social justice and to help us think through how we better deliver what we do and how we empathise with those we meet in the course of our professional lives, with greater care and clarity.
New perspectives in our thinking can be supported with poetry, the world of artists, film, music and literature and I am still trying to more fully comprehend how we understand housing issues in these contexts. I have a series of blogs in mind for the next few months which I hope will become a useful educational and learning resource for others. You are welcome to visit my new website and I would be pleased to hear any thoughts you may have.
You can also follow me on Twitter @ where I am mainly focusing on more creative areas around housing.
With best wishes, Jill