One Health + Humanities Days

What do the arts and humanities have to do with health?

Join us this week to find out!

One Health + Humanities Days: Arts + Humanities Interventions is a three-day series of free public events, including interdisciplinary lectures, speaker panels, and interactive activities, showcasing the critical role that arts and humanities play in understanding and exploring sustainability and global wellbeing, including human, animal, plant, and environmental health.

All events listed in are in Eastern Daylight Time and are free and open to the public (except those marked by invitation only). Click the titles below for a full event description, location and *virtual connection information (where applicable), or to add the event to your calendar.

Public parking is available in the Volunteer Hall parking garage or after 6pm in the Terrace Avenue garage for off-campus visitors. Everyone is welcome!

One Health + Humanities Days is a collaboration of the UT Humanities Center and the UT One Health Initiative.

Wednesday, October 25

Frieson Black Cultural Center Auditorium (Room 102/103)
1800 Melrose Avenue

Awareness of the finitude of existence is sometimes said to define our species. In this SPARKS (Seeking Partnerships to Advance Research, Knowledge, and Science) event concerning a pilot program of the UT Humanities Center, members of the UTHC Scholars Collective on Mortality will offer lightning presentations concerning their current research projects, each of which approaches issues related to human life and death from very different, but often mutually complementary, disciplinary vantage points. We invite attendees who wish to learn about this research but also those who might wish to join this collective. This event will serve as a workshop on how team research can bring humanists, social scientists, and scientists together around provocative topics to promote collaboration and generate new knowledge.  

PI: Monica Black, Professor of History, College of Arts and Sciences

John C. Hodges Library, Lindsay Young Auditorium (Room 101)
1015 Volunteer Boulevard

or via Zoom; click here to register

Sonic communication was a late-comer to the evolution of life on Earth. But once “song” got started, the links that it forged became powerful generative forces. Today, the diverse sounds around us – from chirping crickets, to birdsong, to the human music in our earbuds – reveal many layers of evolutionary and cultural creativity. In this lecture, Pulitzer Prize Finalist David George Haskell will discuss how attention to the sonic richness of the world can guide exploration, ethics, and action.   

Haslam Music Center, Powell Recital Hall
1741 Volunteer Boulevard

or via Livestream; click here to view

In the early 1700s, French Composer Marin Marais had surgery to remove a urinary bladder calculus, a kidney stone that had descended into his bladder. Terrifyingly, he appears to have been awake during the entire procedure and composed a piece of music, Le Tableau de l’Opération de la Taille (1725), that depicts his horrifying observations during the surgical process, with his stress and mental health during the procedure prominently depicted in the music. Musical depictions of the human experience are common. Musical depictions of the human medical experience are less common. A collaboration between the UT College of Music, UT Psychological Clinic, and UT Medical Center, this concert and discussion combines a musical performance with descriptions of the surgical process, use of anesthesia, stress and mental health preceding and during a surgical procedure, and ways that these processes are depicted in the music itself.  

PI: Nathan Fleshner, Associate Professor of Music Theory, College of Music

Thursday, October 26

College of Veterinary Medicine, Tickle Seminar Room (Room B224)
2407 River Drive

Or via Zoom; click here to register

Equine health affected all aspects of nineteenth-century society and culture in ways that are important to remember today. Nineteenth-century equine epidemics devastated economies around the globe, reminding us that horses were the primary energy source until the advent of the automobile in the twentieth century. Professor Henry will draw on literary representations of farriers and vets and then focus on the practice of equine “tail docking” from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Tail docking was controversial in Britain and the US even as it was widely practiced. It raises larger questions about medical complicity in cruelty, animal rights legislation, and national identity. 

PI: Nancy Henry, Nancy Moore Goslee Professor of English

Frieson Black Cultural Center Auditorium (Room 102/103/104)
1800 Melrose Avenue

This panel discussion will bring together local community leaders to share and discuss innovative ideas for addressing Black maternal health disparities in Knox County, Tennessee. This project is hosted by Knox Birth Equity Alliance (KBEA)—a local group founded in 2021 that seeks to inform the public about challenges to Black maternal and infant health and support initiatives that rectify existing disparities. KBEA members include medical professionals (OB/GYNs and nurse midwives), public health workers housed at Knox County Health Department, doulas, and UTK faculty. The panel will begin with a “state of address” about Black maternal health in Knox County and then panelists will share potential fundable ideas that are already in motion or will be pursued in the future to help birthing Black mothers and infants.  In the past, KBEA has hosted and sponsored events such as implicit bias training for OB/GYN staff at UT Medical Center and, most notably, KBEA spearheaded Knoxville’s first formal celebration of Black Maternal Health Week in 2022.    

PI: Danielle Procope Bell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at UT Knoxville 


  • Adrien Jones, Public Health Educator at Knox County Health Department  
  • Chelsea Gouty, Public Health Educator at Knox County Health Department  
  • Ty Roberts, Executive Director of Gennisi Charitable Birth Services   
  • Porsche Williams, Founder of Knoxville Black Doula Collective and Owner of Soul Sisters Wellness & Beauty   
  • Brittany Rosette-Jones, MPH, Minority Health Outreach Specialist  
  • Maeturah Harmon, DO, FACOOG, OB/GYN with Covenant Health   
  • Jodie Simms-MacLeod, CNM, NP-C, FACNM, Midwifery Director with UT Medical Center    
  • Danielle Procope Bell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at UT Knoxville  

By invitation only.

In this interactive workshop, 25 participants, including 5 UT academics and 20 other participants, will be led in an exploration of their unnamed emotions about climate change.

The Unravelling Group, a theatre-game group that explores the emotions of climate change, will lead the workshop through a series of games that attempt to map these emotions. Ethan Graham Roeder of First Take Co. will facilitate game-based activities that map emotions onto new words and sounds. Throughout the evening, UT scholars will reflect on the group’s insights from their various fields of expertise.

By focusing on the unspeakable—the hermeneutical inadequacy of our language around climate change and its attendant emotions—this workshop is an interdisciplinary and embodied approach to climate anxiety. The event uses art and playfulness to better understand our mental health during the climate catastrophes that are unravelling around us.

PI: Georgi Gardiner, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences

Art and Architecture Building, McCarty Auditorium (Room 109)
1715 Volunteer Boulevard

Dr. Eric Avery has been internationally recognized over the past four decades for his work combining medicine and art. He received his MD from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas, as well as psychiatry training from the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City. Avery’s prints and works on paper explore issues such as social responses to diseases (specifically HIV and Emerging Infectious Diseases), death, and sexual health. As part of one of his exhibitions, Avery set up an HIV clinic at the Fogg Museum of Art at Harvard University. His work has been shown internationally and is in the collections of the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), the ARTS Medica Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA), and the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library at Yale University (New Haven, CT), among many others.

Throughout the week, Dr. Avery will collaborate with faculty and graduate students in the UT School of Art’s Printmaking Program in the creation of a limited-edition print combining linocut and lithography. One of the prints from the project will become part of the collection of the Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture. 

PI: Beauvais Lyons, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences Division of Arts and Humanities, and Chancellor’s Professor of Art  

Friday, October 27

Virtual lecture; click here to register

This talk explores the survival in Nazi ghettos through public health interventions. Food supply, public baths, delousing measures, quarantines and other measures were utilized by Jews during the Holocaust to protect public health in the crowded conditions of Nazi ghettos. Dr. Sinnreich will discuss her research as well as some  of the ways she incorporates undergraduate research assistants in this work.

PI: Helene Sinnreich, Professor and Dept. Head, Dept. of Religious Studies and Director of The Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies 

Student Union (Room 262A)
1502 Cumberland Avenue

Join the Sense of Belonging (SOB) team for a roundtable discussion on ways to mitigate mental health issues often faced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) graduate students at predominately white institutions. They will discuss how they used the tenets of Black Feminist Thought (BFT) to search for (and learn from) BIPOC graduate experiences in hopes of enhancing the campus climate for a Carnegie Research 1 Classification Doctoral University.    

The team will share their experiences of using the Healing Ethno and Racial Trauma (HEART) model—which promotes community healing through Heart2Heart micro-interventions (Chavez-Dueñas et al., 2019). Each micro-intervention they engage with connects to one of the tenets of BFT, allowing them to better understand how cultural spaces can help enhance the sense of belonging of BIPOC graduate students. The Sense of Belonging team will offer administrators insight into how to engage with BFT through various Heart2Heart interventions they’ve employed (e.g., brunch workshops, writing retreats, restorative circles, etc.) They will explore questions for and from administrators most related to the needs of BIPOC graduate students. Their goal is to offer insight into how administrators can actively enhance their students’ mental/social, academic, emotional, and culture-affirming support while also helping them feel safe in their learning spaces and deserving of the academic opportunities presented to them at UTK. 

PI: Jamal-Jared Alexander, Assistant Professor, Dept. of English, College of Arts and Sciences

McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture
1327 Circle Park Drive

Cinema Studies affiliated faculty invite you to a sensorial and intellectual feast of creative and critical research questions about feminist film and viewing practices and artistic works that center embodiments, bodies that move, and bodies that seek joy and/or struggle to find joy. Emily Bivens, Maria Stehle, Brittany Murray, Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Eleni Palis, and Heather Coker Hawkins will share how creative movement and dance, movement on screen, and sound recordings can foster awareness of the challenges of sustaining life on a wounded planet.

PIs: Heather Coker Hawkins, Lecturer, School of Art, College of Arts and Sciences; Brittany Murray, Assistant Professor, French Program, College of Arts and Sciences

Ongoing Events

John C. Hodges Library (2nd Floor Lobby)
1015 Volunteer Boulevard

How and why do cities disappear? Are changes in local environmental factors more of a cause or are changes in the political and economic relationships that sustain local society more responsible? Archaeology is uniquely disposed to address these questions when it comes to long-term changes in past human settlement. The city of Lixus in northern Morocco, regarded as the earliest city in northwestern Africa, provides a case study for examining the interplay of environmental and social factors that lead to the decline and disappearance of a city. Lixus was a thriving port city during the first millennium BCE and early first millennium CE, but appears to become abandoned in the centuries after the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west during the early 5th century CE. Human Behavioral Ecology (HBE) comprises a set of approaches to analyze the process of human settlement in a landscape, but is here used to assess the factors that lead to a city’s abandonment. Adjusting the parameters in the model presented here will indicate the degree to which environmental or social factors are responsible for Lixus’ decline. 

PI: Stephen Collins-Elliott, Associate Professor, Department of Classics, College of Arts and Sciences

Art and Architecture Building, Printmaking Showcase Gallery (2nd Floor)
1715 Volunteer Boulevard