Arts Emergency

Erin Lafford

PhD Student in English Literature

At the moment I am studying for a PhD in English literature at Oxford University. My thesis investigates the relationship between health and poetic form in nineteenth-century poetry – my interest in this grew out of courses taken in previous degrees but also a wider belief that the arts and humanities are crucial for helping us to understand the experiences of health and illness, and what it means to be well. The arts and humanities are just as important as medical sciences for teaching us about these things and opening them up in creative and experiential ways. I would love to encourage more young people to explore the relationship between the arts and medicine; work in this area not only highlights how ‘useful’ the arts and humanities still are but reveals their especial qualities.

I’ve chosen to volunteer for Arts Emergency because, before going to university, I went to a state school and college and was lucky to have wonderful English teachers who encouraged me to pursue what I enjoyed and was good at to higher levels. I would like to pass on that same enthusiasm and share my own advice about applying for degrees in the arts and humanities.