Call for Papers: EAMHMS Congress ‘Beyond the Museum Walls. Medical Collections and Medical Museums in the 21st Century’; (Barcelona, September 19th – 22nd 2018; Deadline 1 February 2018)

27 december 2017

Following the stimulating EAMHMS biennial conferences hosted in Edinburgh (2008), Copenhagen (2010), Berlin (2012), London (2014) and Groningen (2016), the 2018 Congress opens the door wide to all those interested in the material culture of medicine and cordially invites you to Barcelona. This will be the second time that Barcelona hosts a meeting of the association, the previous Congress was held in 1990.

The 19th European Association of Museums of the History of Medical Sciences biennial Congress will be held in Barcelona (Spain), 19th-22nd September 2018, and is jointly hosted between the Medical History Museum in Catalonia, the Catalan Society for the History of Science and Technology (IEC), the Spanish Research Council (IMF), the Royal Academy of Medicine in Catalonia and the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Hospital site.

The 2018 Congress will focus on the curatorial approaches that are redefining what it means to be a 21st century medical museum. It will explore new ways of thinking about museum basics – collecting/researching, exhibiting/communicating, and teaching/learning – through perspectives that take digital tools into account and new lines of research that are fostered by enriching perspectives such as contemporary art and the history of art, the history of scientific technology, medical education and practice and the medical entrepreneurial business. In a world which increasingly consumes history, medical museums have so much to offer to different kinds of publics. In addition, the Congress will address possibilities and approaches to topics inscribed in medical artefacts which connect with society and everyday life.


We welcome contributions on these topics in the following strands:

  • The digital museum: How are digital technologies transforming medical museums and what is their proposed value? How does an adoption of a user-centric approach create new relationships between museums and communities? Using these technologies, how can we care for medical contemporary heritage? What is the role of medical museums between digital and real objects? Should we integrate digital into the workflow of our museums? Should our collections be in the app store or should our museums have a channel on YouTube? What kind of skills and competencies do we need in our collections and museums in the 21st century?
  • Synergies: art, technology and thinking: Should we create spaces to work together with colleagues from a wider range of different fields? Do we foster fruitful relationships with other colleagues? Do we profit from the social visibility of such working teams? Do we need graphic designers or visual translators? What is the meaning of a curator today in our fields and what are his/her functions: historian, developer, designer, researcher, communicator, teacher, restorer, fundraiser, scientist, manager?
  • Publics: Who are our publics and how do we engage with them? Are they students, families, medical doctors, citizens, tourists …? What models of communication do we use to explain that medical artefacts matter to different kinds of publics? How do we foster citizen building and critical thinking through medical collections and our current and daily life? Can we contribute to the making of participative citizens regarding medical science? How free can we really be when considering some controversial medical topics?
  • Free section: an open session of topics currently relevant within the framework of medical history objects and collections.

Presentation guidelines

Paper presentations are requested to be no more than 15 minutes in length (with an additional 15 minutes allotted for questions). As spaces for speakers are limited, on this occasion there will be a special session of short and sharp presentations (8 minutes in length each) where students, professionals and institutions can present research, collections, objects, pictures, exhibitions or plans for the future. The language for abstracts, talks, and discussions will be English. Short abstracts will be circulated to Congress participants in advance.

We ask you to select a topic from the strands above and send your paper abstract (maximum 1000 characters) with a title, your name and brief biography, the name of your institution (if you are attached to any) and your contact details (preferably e-mail address) to Alfons Zarzoso, Curator of the Medical History Museum in Catalonia, Barcelona. E-mail:

We especially want to encourage colleagues from Southern European countries to participate in this conference. However, this Call for Papers is directed to attract interested colleagues from all over the world.

Submission and acceptance procedure

The deadline for submission is 1 February 2018. A programme committee will select abstracts to build an inspiring programme. Speakers and short presenters will receive confirmation by end-March 2018.

EAMHMS shares costs across the congress, so unfortunately speakers are also required to pay the Congress fee. The fee is envisaged at about Euro 200, but will be confirmed shortly. There may be a reduced fee for a small number of student contributors. General enrolment for this conference will open in April 2018, when the confirmed programme wil also be released.

Preliminary programme

EAMHMS Congress Programme, Barcelona, September 19th – 22nd 2018: ‘Beyond the Museum Walls. Medical Collections and Medical Museums in the 21st Century’


Wednesday 19th Sept

Venue: Institució Milà i Fontanals (CSIC), 15, Carrer de les Egipcíaques. Room 1

  • 4.00-7.00pm Council Meeting (Board Members only)


Thursday 20th September

Venue: Institut d’Estudis Catalans 47, Carrer del Carme. Room to be confirmed.

  • 9.00-10.30am Registration opens Welcome reception
  • 10.30-12.30am Tours of medicine in the old city (guided walking visit to the Raval; Please tick the appropriate box in the Inscription Sheet)
  • Lunch Break. Please make your own arrangements for lunch (see the Information Sheet for lunch options in the area)
  • 2.00pm Congress welcome and opening remarks Prof. Alfons Zarzoso, host and organiser EAMHMS Conference Prof. Dr. Thomas Schnalke, President EAMHMS
  • Session 1
  • 4.00pm Session 2
  • 6.30pm Reception at the Reial Acadèmia de Medicina de Catalunya (building in front of Institut d’Estudis Catalans) Guided visit to the Old Anatomical Theatre
  • 7.30pm Special Note: On Barcelona’s Medical History
  • 8.00pm Conference dinner


Friday 21st September

Venue: nstitut d’Estudis Catalans 47, Carrer del Carme . Room to be confirmed.

  • 9.30-11am Session 3: Short and sharp presentations (students/institutions) 8′ length
  • 11.00am Session 4
  • 1.00pm Buffet Lunch provided
  • 3.30pm 
Session 5 (Venue: Sant Pau Art Nouveau Hospital Site 167, Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret (subway Lines 2 or 5). Francesc Cambó Room).
  • 5.00pm Guided visit to the Art Nouveau Hospital and exhibitions
  • 6.45pm Ordinary General Assembly
  • 7.15-8.15pm Extraordinary General Assembly 
Dinner: Please make your own arrangements for dinner (see Information Sheet for lunch options in the area)


Saturday 22nd September

Venue: Residència d’Investigadors 64, Carrer de l’Hospital. Main Room.

  • 9.30am Keynote Lecture, followed by Session 6
  • 12.45pm Closing remarks and end of the Congress

For further information and registration, watch this website! We’re looking forward to a thrilling conference! See you in Barcelona in 2018!