MCS in, or rather, out of the classroom

written by Anna Harris

Maastricht-In the last few weeks we have been taking insights from the Making Clinical Sense project into, or rather, outside, the classroom.

Smell kits

For the new Faculty bachelor in Global Studies, we were asked to contribute something related to smell for their Sensing the World week. Drawing from our observations of how smell is used in clinical and educational contexts in hospitals and medical schools, we introduced the idea that smell could also be a portal into new research directions for the students in their own, non-medically related projects. Between the two classes we gave last week, the students were asked to make a smell kit which related to their projects, which we discussed in the second tutorial by walking in the Faculty garden, then back in the classroom. We had an observer in the class who noted that: “it was very interesting how smell also relates to the materiality of objects. The smell kit was such a fantastic tool to make students reflect about the material things that they challenges are made of and I think there is a lot of potential to further explore”.

The lesson plan has been prepared for sharing and will be uploaded onto another related project I am part of, the Sense Based Learning website soon. Look out for our Smell Kit PDF on the Fringe Editions page too.

Making Clinical Sense smell kit ready to take into class

Learning in Gardens

For the second time we are involved in the Honours program at our faculty with our project Learning in Gardens, which draws from the observation that doctors have long learned in gardens. In this 2022/2023 Honours project the students have been invited to revisit the garden as a space to learn in and with, in university settings. It will be a practically-orientated project that builds on previous work by last year’s Honours students, who conducted ethnographic research about the FASoS garden and have prepared policy recommendations for the Faculty. So far the students have great ideas, including a Garden (lecture) series. Stay tuned!

Medical students learning in the Marres garden

Making eyeballs (and other learning tools)

For the first time, we are also currently running a course called: DIY in Medicine: Digitally curating the creativity and crafts of medical educators. This MaRbLe project is a digital “archaeological” exercise in digging up crafted objects and their stories which have already been previous published, with the goal to collect and curate, and ultimately to facilitate better sharing in medical education around the world. So far we have been reading shared texts, the students have been writing responses, and last week, we headed into the ‘Seeing “Normal”‘ exhibition (see previous post), to engage in some making of eye examination training tools, led by our expert clinician and educator Marijke Kruithof.

Faculty of arts students making eyeball models


Visiting scholarship to Maastricht, the Netherlands 2023

For a social science/humanities PhD student based in Ghana, working on topics of health/medicine


For how long?

Maximum 2 months duration (less is possible if preferred)


When can the scholarship be taken?

March – April 2023 (preferred, though there is some flexibility)


Where will the scholarship be based?

Maastricht University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Science and Technology Studies research group. This is an English speaking setting.


Who is this scholarship for?

PhD students working on topics related to health or medicine. The applicant must be based at a university in Ghana. The preferable people are those working on these themes in social science or humanities faculties so that they can benefit from their research visit at Maastricht University. The scholarship would be most suitable for candidates working on the following research areas or with the following interests:

  • Bodies, senses, embodiment, bodily knowledge, practical knowledge
  • Skilled migration, medical travel, globalization, transnationalism
  • Medical humanities, environmental humanities, art + medicine, science/art
  • Ethnographic methods, artistic methods, creative methods
  • Medical education
  • Digital health, online healthcare, AI and health
  • Science communication, including opinion pieces, podcasts, exhibitions


What does the scholarship cover?

  1. Travel subsidies: (1) Economy class ticket (outbound & return), (2) Train ticket (Schiphol-Maastricht-Schiphol); and (3) Subsidy for trips within The Netherlands for short research visits to relevant institutions.
  2. Accommodation in Maastricht
  3. Visa costs
  4. Library access, a shared office space and use of a computer at the Faculty
  5. A food subsidy


Who will I meet?

  1. Host: The scholarship is funded by the European Research Council project Making Clinical Sense, led by Associate Professor Anna Harris. Anna will be your host, with the mentorship of one other Faculty member and assistance of a member of her team.
  2. Research groups:
    1. Graduate School: for PhDs at FASoS, doing social science/humanities research
    2. MUSTS: a science and technology studies research group, who you will meet through regular weekly seminars and a monthly colloquia series.
    3. Ethnography Group: a university-wide ethnography group which meets once a month online, which you can also join (also before/after the visit).
    4. See the Faculty website for other research groups which may be of interest.


What is required?

While in Maastricht, there are no specific requirements for work output, however regular physical presence would be required, including meetings with Anna and colleagues. The PhD candidate is free to make the most of the time for writing, reading, analysis and/or networking. If the candidate would like to share their ideas, work or projects with us (and this is encouraged), we would ensure and facilitate space and audience for this. The only two requirements are for after the visit, that 1) the candidate give a presentation and/or workshop in their own department within 6 months upon returning to Ghana, to share what they have learned during their time in Maastricht, and 2) to send to Anna Harris a one-page (max) description about this presentation, including reflections on the research stay.


Application process

Please send the following to by 6th November 2022:

  1. A (max) 2 page letter of motivation including one paragraph each on the five following:
  1. Your PhD topic, including methods used and its relationship to health/medicine
  2. What you would get out of a two month visit, including your objectives and expected work to be achieved, and why this is a good time to do this within the scope of your PhD trajectory.
  3. Why it is relevant and interesting for your research to be in Maastricht and if applicable, the Netherlands.
  4. Finally, how you would feed the experience back to your own research environment.
  5. A (max) 2 page CV detailing in brief what you think to be the most relevant information for this application.


The successful applicant will be informed approximately mid-November, and will be whose research best matches expertise in Maastricht, and who has the strongest relevance of the trip for their own and department’s research activities. Upon acceptance the candidate will be asked also for a brief letter by their supervisor/graduate school/university confirming PhD status and support for the research visit, as well as details of Bachelor and Masters’ degrees. A passport valid for 6 months after the trip is required, as well as a tourist visa, both need to be self-arranged by the PhD though we will reimburse costs for the visa.



You can reach Anna Harris at

You can read that article here.

How to make a Cyanometer


  • Paint cards from a hardware store
  • Pens
  • Scissors
  • A compass
  • A sturdy piece of cardboard
  • Glue
  • White stickers
  • Blue-tack (or white-tack)
  • A music player to play Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.


  1. Put music on, suggested listening being Kind of Blue. In 1959, jazz trumpeter Miles Davis assembled his ideal sextet. Using simple musical scales, instead of the complex harmonic progressions of their contemporaries, they attempted, in five mesmeric tracks, to redefine an art form and capture the essence of all that was blue.
  2. Take a compass and draw two circles on the sturdy card, one of approximately 30cm diameter and the other of approximately 20cm diameter. If you don’t have a compass you can use dinner plates and saucers.
  3. Fold the 40 colour sample cards in half and glue halves together, then cut in half again.
  4. Put white stickers at the bottom of each colour card.
  5. Arrange the sample cards in a circle, using blue-tack to hold into place so that the correct spacing can be achieved (10 cards should fit in one quarter).
  6. Glue the cards in place.
  7. Number the white stickers from 1-40 with a marker.
  8. Take outside and measure the blueness of the sky.

From January to June this year Anna hosted an Honours seminar for five students in the Faculty which revisited the garden as a learning space. Questions framing initial discussions included:

  • How do European ideas of the scientific garden compare to other parts of the world?
  • How might scientific gardens move away from being sites of exploitation and bioprospecting of indigenous knowledges to sites of learning with/from indigenous peoples?
  • How might working in/with gardens as students help reimagine future worlds in the Anthropocene? Might it lead to new kinds of multispecies collaboration?
  • Can gardens cultivate new ways of noticing? How might we integrate these insights into our digital lives?
  • Can gardens become sites for dealing creatively in PBL learning at Maastricht University with the wicked and wild problems of the world?


We met online and in gardens, reading and talking together, sharing sensory impressions of our favourite gardens, and prompts for each other to rethink them. The students soon took ownership and leadership of the project, organising a Faculty Garden Day where they conducted ethnographic research and interviews among students and staff, while gardening. They used their reading and insights to write a report, urging the Faculty to listen more to students, and to have student-led design in realising the potential of the new Faculty garden. The seminar has led to new ideas and collaborations which bring together the findings from the Making Clinical Sense project, the sociomateriality of learning especially, and how this may relate to learning in gardens. Stay tuned and please get in touch if this also connects with your own interests, projects and concerns.


The public exhibition is accompanied by a book in Dutch and English, (published by Verloren, Hilversum, edited by Karin Bijsterveld and with pictures by Eric Bleize), which collects the short essays ton the objects. You can order the book here, or read it here.


SensesSquared is funded through the Erasmus+ Cooperation partnerships. It’s full title is “SensesSquared: Becoming through the senses: towards artistic ways of being in the world”, and it is led by Hans Van Regenmortel from Musica Impulscentrum voor Muziek vzw (BE). The project explores sensory interventions in teaching in primary schools in Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.

Senses-Based Learning is funded through the NRO Comenius grants, and the PI for that project is Emilie Sitzia, and includes Ilse van Lieshout from Marres and Joost Dijkstra from Maastricht University as the other co-applicants. This project will look at how training the senses can be given a more prominent role in higher education and how you can assess students in this field. Eventually it will lead to an online platform and set up an actual physical space (the Sensory Learning Lab).

Called “Sensing Art, Training the Body”, the collection contains cahiers from various sensory exhibitions between 2017 and 2021, and two essays, including one by Anna reflecting on the Training the Senses lecture series (of which Making Clinical Sense took part several years ago). The book is available from the Marres online and physical shop with five different covers.



The articulation of learning goals, processes and outcomes related to health humanities teaching currently lacks comparability of curricula and outcomes, and requires synthesis to provide a basis for developing a curriculum and evaluation framework for health humanities teaching and learning. This scoping review sought to answer how and why the health humanities are used in health professions education. It also sought to explore how health humanities curricula are evaluated and whether the programme evaluation aligns with the desired learning outcomes.


A focused scoping review of qualitative and mixed-methods studies that included the influence of integrated health humanities curricula in pre-registration health professions education with programme evaluate of outcomes was completed. Studies of students not enrolled in a pre-registration course, with only ad-hoc health humanities learning experiences that were not assessed or evaluated were excluded. Four databases were searched (CINAHL), (ERIC), PubMed, and Medline.


The search over a 5 year period, identified 8621 publications. Title and abstract screening, followed by full-text screening, resulted in 24 articles selected for inclusion. Learning outcomes, learning activities and evaluation data were extracted from each included publication.


Reported health humanities curricula focused on developing students’ capacity for perspective, reflexivity, self- reflection and person-centred approaches to communication. However, the learning outcomes were not consistently described, identifying a limited capacity to compare health humanities curricula across programmes. A set of clearly stated generic capabilities or outcomes from learning in health humanities would be a helpful next step for benchmarking, clarification and comparison of evaluation strategy.

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