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Accepted Paper:

Cancer Peeps or Peeping Toms?  
Frances Williams (

Paper short abstract:

This paper describes a visit to Maggie’s Centre by the Critical Arts in Health Network. Maggie’s was chosen as object of critique because of its ‘exemplary’ status. I discuss our visit as ‘undercover fieldwork’ (Calvey, 2018) and the questions of responsibility, ethics and critique it threw-up.

Paper long abstract:

This paper charts various affects - discomfort, guilt and pleasure - gained through accessing the new Maggie’s Centre in Manchester in order to critique this ‘exemplary’ institution. This task was self-set by the group, The Critical Arts and Health Network (CAHN). I begin by setting out our reasoning for the choice - an under-developed capacity for critique within the field of ‘arts in health’ which can privilege advocacy in the quest for evidencing beneficial clinical outcomes (McNaughton et al 2012). I then chart our navigation of the textures of Maggie’s, its soothing furnishings and informal spaces.

Discussions we entered into at this site drew on the work of Joan Tronto. In her paper, Creating Caring Institutions: Politics, Plurality, and Purpose, she probes the basis of ‘caring institutions’ (Tronto, 2010). One person in the CAHN group asked: ‘When we are being critical, what place and position are we able to do that from? Are we doing it from an assumed utopian space that we don't quite know we are occupying? Where do you stand when you are doing the critical thing?' I pull out these questions as part of a final discussion on the usefulness and benefit of this example of covert critique, especially those pertaining to institutions. 'To develop a “non-dialectical” concept of resistance and critique, one seeking above all to establish a different conceptualisation of contradiction, negation and reaction’ (Raunig, 2009).

Panel Evid01b
Critiquing what we like II
  Session 1 Friday 2 April, 2021, -