Narrative Medicine


Limited to 40 participants

On Saturday, Nov 15th a special Digital Storytelling Lab @Columbia will be held on the subject of Narrative Medicine. The day long lab will examine how storytelling can improve care and aid communication between those working in health care as well as the families of the patients that they treat. The goal of the day is to explore what a Narrative Medicine / Storytelling tool kit could and would contain. How can we create the start of a resource that could be used by health care workers as well as families that are dealing with loved ones suffering from mental health issues?

Penguin Books, the Digital Storytelling Lab @Columbia and The Narrative Medicine Program at Columbia University are thrilled to announce an exploration into storytelling as a tool for mental health. Utilizing best selling author and actor Stephen Fry’s memoirs as a jumping off point a team of storytellers, journalists, doctors, neuroscientists, policy makers, mental health professionals and designers will come together for a day long lab to craft medical narratives focused on understanding mental illness. Fry has written candidly about his struggle with manic depression and bi-polar disorder. This special one day lab will work to examine how narrative medicine can improve care and create a greater sense of understanding through empathy.


Stephen Fry – award winning comedian, actor & author

This day long lab will harness collaborative design methodologies (developed by FreedomLab / Learn Do Share) that mix storytelling, game mechanics, design thinking and technology. Similar events have been run at Columbia in conjunction with the Brown Institute of Media Innovation as well as sessions for the UN, City of Los Angeles, the World Economic Forum and others.

Saturday, Nov 15th – 9:30am to 5:30pm
Brown Institute of Media Innovation
1st floor Journalism Building
Enter Campus at 116th & Broadway
Campus Map

A diverse group of participants working in storytelling, healthcare, design, data research, creative technology, immersion, science, future trending, academia and more.


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About The Narrative Medicine Program at Columbia University
Narrative Medicine fortifies clinical practice with the narrative competence to recognize, absorb, metabolize, interpret, and be moved by the stories of illness. Through narrative training, the Program in Narrative Medicine helps physicians, nurses, social workers, mental health professionals, chaplains, social workers, academics, and all those interested in the intersection between narrative and medicine improve the effectiveness of care by developing these skills with patients and colleagues. Our research and outreach missions are conceptualizing, evaluating, and spear-heading these ideas and practices nationally and internationally.

About the Digital Storytelling Lab @Columbia
Digital Storytelling Lab @Columbia is an interdisciplinary program developed by Columbia University School of the Arts that leverages a diverse range of creative and research practices originating in the arts, humanities and technology to build powerful stories. The Digital Storytelling Lab will design stories for the 21st Century. We build on a diverse range of creative and research practices originating in fields from the arts, humanities and technology. But we never lose sight of the power of a good story. Technology, as a creative partner, has always shaped the ways in which stories are found and told. In the 21st Century, for example, the mass democratization of creative tools — code, data and algorithms — have changed the relationship between creator and audience. The Digital Storytelling Lab, therefore, is a place of speculation, of creativity, and of collaboration between students and faculty from across Columbia University. New stories are told here in new and unexpected ways.

About the Brown Institute for Media Innovation
Established in 2012, the Institute is a collaboration between Columbia and Stanford Universities. Our mission is simple: Sponsor thinking, building and speculating on how stories are discovered and told in a networked, digitized world.

About Penguin Books and the Stephen Fry “Your Fry” project
We want you, the planet of creative and tech minds, to deconstruct and repurpose the words and themes from Stephen’s last two books. Just think of all the new and vibrant media that you could create for a fresh audience to read, view and enjoy. But what to create? Perhaps an info graphic which celebrates literature and language, or an audience piece which contends with mental health. Text, data visualization, interactive web format, app, film, photographic, animation, 3D-models or live an experiential creations… the canvas, as they say, really is blank.