Call for Submissions for the Ars Medica Special Issue: Frictions of Futurity, Curative Tensions, and Artistic Reimaginings of Transplantation

Dr. Suze Berkhout’s research group at the University Health Network is looking for submissions for a special issue of Ars Medica on Frictions of Futurity, Curative Tensions, and Artistic Reimaginings of Transplantation.

Medicine (broadly speaking) is argued to aim toward futures shaped by cure. Within this curative imaginary—the interpretive framework, practices, and disciplinary matrix that orient toward cure as the only rational possibility—disability is uncontroversially a problem to be solved and medical intervention is inevitable and desirable. Such an imaginary arguably structures the field of solid organ transplantation to a great degree, as transplant technologies are seen as a “bridge to the future,” an opportunity for a “second chance” at life, and a curative intervention for irremediable end-organ damage.

But as much as solid organ transplantation is indebted to promises of a future cure, the central challenges that span this field undercut the seemingly straightforward relationship between transplant and cure. These include issues relating to waitlisting as well as adherence to complex post-transplant regimens, and challenges with long-term survivorship and the threat of graft failure. These issues and challenges reveal transplant medicine to also be a site of deep ambivalence and tension with respect to futurity and the possibility of having an “afterward” to transplant.

Simultaneously, the contours of the curative imaginary are often part of the taken-for-granted aspects of daily routines and practices of biomedicine and not easily captured for analysis or critical reflection.

In this special issue of Ars Medica, the group invites submissions of narrative, fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, prose, visual art, soundscapes, and other digital art that draw out, reflect on, and interrogate frictional relations with cure that are embedded within the field of transplantation. The issue aims to consider what alternative futures might materialize when transplant medicine is brought into conversation with disability arts.


Submissions might explore:

  • Critical issues relating to disability justice and health systems, in the context of transplantation
  • Organ donor, family and kinship experiences relating to transplantation
  • Relationality and the fluidity of boundaries with respect to self/other and identity
  • Aspects of chronicity and temporality in relation to transplantation
    • Waitlisting
    • Liminality
    • Survivorship
    • Futurity
  • Survivability, quality of life
  • Adherence to medical care post-transplant
  • Challenges surrounding graft failure
  • Transplant related technologies and interventions
  • Embodied knowledges and expertise relating to lived experience
  • The process of art making from the standpoint of disability art and transplantation
Submissions should be prepared in digital format (.docx) for review and sent to the attention of Kelly Fritsch and Suze Berkhout [] by July 15, 2023.  Details regarding submission preparation and general information about Ars Medica can be found here.
About Ars Medica Journal

Ars Medica is one of Canada’s first health humanities journals. Launched in 2004, they transitioned in 2014 to a web-only format. Ars Medica provides an online venue for dialogue, meaning-making, and the representation of experiences of the body, health, wellness, and encounters within the medical system. Content includes narratives from patients and health care workers, including fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. We also include sections on writing by and about children, international health, and other voices routinely silenced in the healthcare system.

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