Physiotherapists were very well represented at this year’s In Sickness and In Health conference in Mallorca. Over the three days of the conference, 12 members of the CPN presented, and the standard of the work was as high as anything offered internationally.
There were strong presentations on the application of phenomenology to practice, non-medical prescribing, professional competencies and embodied knowledge, discourses of cure and care, personal narratives in weight loss surgery advertising, practice regulation, the construction of fat bodies, artisanal practice, family-based care, post-structural analyses of movement, theories of health policy, and notions of inclusion for disabled youth. Amazing to think that these were all physiotherapy presentations.
What was really evident at the conference was how physiotherapists have quickly been able to learn and apply complex theories and philosophies – even though they often have little exposure to these ideas in their training. When they do pick these ideas up though, they show a remarkable ability to reflect on their practice and propose new solutions to seemingly intractable old problems.
The conference is very much a showcase for radical and critical new thinking in health care, and on the evidence of our showing this year, physiotherapy will have an increasingly important role in cutting edge thinking in health.
Aside from the formal work of the conference, the group met up for a team dinner on the first night and met again at the conference dinner on the second. On the final half-day of the conference, the group met again to hold a CPN meeting, where we discussed the progress of the Network so far and debated (quite vigorously at times!) a new paper on post-humanism.
It was lovely having so many of us there from all over the world and finally getting to meet people who we had only corresponded with before. It made the conference so much more meaningful.
Note: The next ISIH conference will take place in May 2017 in Sydney, Australia.