The Covid-19 pandemic has made the hospital a topic of daily newspapers— and medical expertise into the stuff of popular talk shows. Against the background of the omnipresence of the hospital in the media in the past two years, this international conference seeks to revisit and rethink the ‘hospital’ as a place that is at the same time universal and locally specific: a complex where science becomes embedded in societal and political questions, and where technology meets ethical demands.
Current trends in Switzerland see an increasing centralization of the hospital as a mega-institution with centers of excellence, leading to the closure or transformation of small regional hospitals. By contrast, in Italy the persistence and adaptation of old hospital structures is more prevalent. In both cases hospitals remain embedded in local environments, be they urban or rural, and they are shaped by local political and financial contexts. Inside the hospital, too, the situation of staff and patients mirrors broader societal questions, power relations and demands of specific societies and cultures. Ultimately, the pandemic has reminded us that hospitals and their infrastructures need to remain extremely flexible and adjust to sometimes sudden developments in public health and medical knowledge.
With this conference, Istituto Svizzero aims to present and connect ongoing research on the hospital from different disciplinary angles. By bringing into dialogue historical and contemporary perspectives, the conference also seeks to contribute to a historically informed understanding of the challenges hospitals face today and in the future.
The two-day conference will be held in English and it can also be followed online.
In collaboration with:
La Sapienza University of Rome, Storia della medicina e bioetica
CHUV-University of Lausanne, Institute of Humanities in Medicine
University of Berne, Institute for the history of medicine
ETH Zurich, Institute for the history and theory of architecture (gta)
H14:00-14:15 – Welcome and introduction
Maria Böhmer, Istituto Svizzero; Maria Conforti, La Sapienza University of Rome
Panel 1: Care work in the hospital
Moderation: Valentina Gazzaniga, La Sapienza University of Rome
The pandemic has raised sudden awareness for the importance of care work, and the working conditions of nursing staff in hospitals – one of the pictures remaining in collective memory is people applauding from their balconies for the care work done to keep the hospitals functioning during the epidemic emergency. But what do we know about the conditions and challenges of care work in the hospital? What obstacles do care professionals confront in their daily work and in special care contexts such as psychiatric care, palliative care, long-term-care or anesthesia? And what role do these questions play in today’s medical education? This panel features new research into these and other questions surrounding care (and) work in the hospital.
H14:15-14:35 – Magaly Tornay, University of Bern, Dreaming Nurses. Care and psychoanalysis in a psychiatric clinic
H14:35-14:55 – Eva Yampolsky, University of Geneva & CHUV Lausanne, Personal and cultural resources of nurses in palliative care
H14:55-15:15– Chiara Moretti, University of Bologna, It is not me who lives where you work, but it’s you working where I temporarily live. Care work in hospital settings during the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy
H15:15-15:45 – Discussion
H15:45-16:15 – Keynote: Beatrice Schaad, Institute of Humanities in Medicine FBM-CHUV, University of Lausanne, Listening to patient’s complaints to improve medicine
H16:15-16:30 – Q&A
16:30-17:00 – Coffee break
Panel 2: Hospital and (pandemic) emergency
Moderation: Maria Conforti, La Sapienza University of Rome
During the pandemic, hospitals and their capacity of receiving patients in intensive-care-units have been in the daily news. Medical expert knowledge has been dealt with in popular debates to an unseen extent, and medical historians have been frequent guests in talk shows. This panel presents examples of (historical) research that has helped to inform our understanding of the Covid-19-pandemic, its impact on our societies and hospitals.
H17:00-17:20 – Julia Rehsmann, Bern University of Applied Sciences; Manuel Kaiser, University of Berne, Project Pandemic Objects
H17:20-17:40 – Séveric Yersin, University of Basel/Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales Paris (EHESS), Lazarets for the masses. How medical isolation adapted to the standard of living of the middle-class (1870-1890)
H17:40-18:00 – Yvan Prkachin, University of Zurich, House of cARDS: The Ventilator and the Emergence of Intensive Care Medicine
H18:00-18:30 – Discussion
H18:30-19:00 – Keynote: Lavinia Bifulco, University of Milan, Hospitals and territorial health services in Italy: what the Covid-19 emergency tells us
Panel 3: Hospital policies and financing
Moderation: Lisa Haushofer, University of Zurich
Current trends in Switzerland see an increasing centralization of the hospital as a mega-institution with centers of excellence, leading to the closure or transformation of small regional hospitals. By contrast, in Italy the persistence and adaptation of old hospital structures is more prevalent. In both cases hospitals remain embedded in local environments, be they urban or rural, and they are shaped by local political and financial contexts. What are the effects of the new public management on the hospital organization? How can hospitals deal with austerity demands and the exigence of their healing mission, in Europe and beyond?
H10:15-10:35 – Mariama Kaba, Institute of Humanities in Medicine FBM-CHUV, University of Lausanne, ‘From the small ones to the big one’: human, social and medical issues of the centralization of hospitals and in hospitals
H10:35-10:55 – Janina Kehr, University of Vienna, On Spectacle and Speculation. A Spanish Hospital in Pandemic Times
H10:55-11:15 – Andri Tschudi, Graduate Institute Geneva, Profitable Medicine: An Ethnographic Approach to Corporate Hospital Care in India
H11:15-11:45 – Discussion
H11:45-12:15 – Keynote: Mathilde Bourrier, University of Geneva, What type of organization is the hospital?
H12:15-12:30 – Q&A
H12:30-14:30 – Break
Panel 4: Hospital architecture
Moderation: Britta Hentschel, University of Liechtenstein
The hospital is not always a single architectural object: indeed, this is the exception rather than the rule. As the hospital as an institution evolves in response to technological and social change, it changes physical form as well. As buildings and wings are added, subtracted or repurposed, the hospital often transforms into a kind of precinct or city-within-a-city. Nonetheless, the exceptions—hospitals conceived as architecturally unified complexes—constitute some of the most ambitious projects in contemporary architecture. This panel seeks to clarify the intersection of medical science, distributed risk, digital design and contemporary logistics in the current praxis of hospital architecture.
H14:30-14:50 – Stanislaus von Moos, Zurich, title tbc
H14:50-15:10 – David Theodore, McGill University, Hospital Design in 1970: The Future Strikes Back
H15:10-15:30 – Discussion
H15:30-15:50 – Mona Farag; Emanuel Christ, Christ&Gantenbein, title tbc
H15:50-16:20 – Reinier de Graaf, OMA, title tbc
H16:20-16:40 – Discussion