HCRI offers a novel research configuration combining applied medicine and humanities in partnership with NGOs.
There is a pressing need to engage with the fundamental knowledge that drives and informs humanitarian practices. By bringing together different disciplines, HCRI is able to analyse ways of knowing, doing, and the boundaries of humanitarian action, combining historical, political and cultural depth with practice-based perspectives on humanitarian interventions. Our programme of research allows us to explore the circumstances in which knowledge has been generated, and by whom; how such knowledge has been applied and by whom; and with what consequences for future action.
HCRI is particularly concerned with the interaction between practitioners and their modes of interventions, and other initiatives - educational, political and artistic - which inform or shape responses to conflicts and crises. The focus on styles and practices of intervention draws attention to technical and technocratic forms of engagement, but also incorporates questions of culture, as in the ways in which medical intervention is represented through the media, the arts, and in the educational curriculum. We are interested in the dynamic relationship between those whose experiences derive from different disciplinary backgrounds; between the experiences of scholars and of practitioners; and between scholars, practitioners and those who are the object of enquiry and/or humanitarian intervention. In thinking about the experiences of vulnerable populations, we seek to understand how assumptions are easily made (and enforced) about 'vulnerability' in relation to culture, gender and age.