Tissue Donations Beyond the Gift of Life

White Rose Vital Circulations Network Symposium 2

Universities of Leeds, York and Sheffield

27-28 April 2022 (Online)

With the growing demand for transplant, transfusion and biomedical and genomic research, human bodies and tissues have come to circulate widely across domains and boundaries, stirring up discussions around virtues of giving, sharing, and recycling. As much as the accelerated circulations draw on imaginations of social ties and solidarity across bodily boundaries, differential valuations of bodies and lives continue to haunt these circulations. In turn, the personhoods of tissues are reconstituted along striations of race/ethnicity, sex/gender, class/caste, among others. The collection, storage and (re)usage of human tissues, then, not only beg ethical and legal concerns around voluntary consent, but further raise fundamental questions about how our personhood and humanity are reformulated through social differentiations and hierarchies, as the binaries of gift and commodities, and life and death are unsettled. Bringing together researchers, practitioners and artists, this symposium asks: How do tissue donations illustrate the social and affective dimensions of distributing care? Does this occur in a just and equitable manner? How is the quality of life attributed, and whose longevities are prioritised within the expertise of health systems? The speakers take us through various sites of tissue circulations from cadaver donations to embryo adoption.

This symposium is organised by the White Rose Vital Circulations Network, as the second segment in the tri-part symposia series exploring the social dynamics around the circulations of vital and viral matter. You can find out more about the network and its activities on our website (vitalcirculations.org) and by following @vitacirc on Twitter.

The main symposium of the 28 April will be preceded by a pre-symposium online one-to-one art engagement programme, the Ways of Doing Things by Anna Macdonald and Amy Boris on the 27th April, which can be booked separately in the link provided below.

Places are very limited, you can sign up here (first come first served basis)https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/vital-circulations-ways-of-doing-things-tickets-302516584247




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