Communicating care

On Demand (IF 2023)

1 hour 20 minutesPWYD

Discussion, Performance | Dance, Health & Medicine, Language, Literature & Poetry

Communicating care

Did you know small changes to communication patterns can… stop an argument in its tracks, support people to follow recommendations, and even have life-saving consequences?

The world around us is often buzzing with ‘talk’, including spoken language, sign language, body language and all those things humans do to communicate with each other. But how does ‘talk’ really work? You might think talking is random or unpredictable but, actually, there are very clear mechanics that govern how and when you talk, and what effect your talk will have. When you understand those mechanics you can see that even small changes to talk can make a big difference.

Oxford’s researchers in clinical communication and health behaviours have analysed hundreds of real conversations to understand the hidden mechanics of how talk works, from clinical settings to everyday life. They have teamed up with artists to translate these mechanisms into dance and poetry.

This interactive event includes contemporary dance, musical composition and poetry, along with clips of real conversations to reveal the often hidden mechanisms of conversation, and bust some common communication myths.

Where will language lead you?

Suitable for teenagers and adults.

Watch Communicating Care

The artists:




Amy Roberts is a biochemist in her first year of a DPhil at Somerville College. She has also danced for 15+ years in styles such as contemporary, modern, ballet and tap, and competes and choreographs for the Oxford University Competition Dance (OUCD) team.

Halley Rose Meslin is a second-year MPhil student studying Environmental Governance at Keble College. This is her second year competing on the Oxford University Competition Dance team.

Ada Liebenau is a third-year chemistry DPhil at Reuben College. She trained at The Centre for Advanced Training (CAT), graduating in 2016 with a diploma in contemporary dance and choreography. During her undergraduate degree (UCL) she competed Advanced Jazz, and she currently competes hip-hop, ballet, jazz and contemporary with OUCD.

Grace Copeland is an Oxford-based poet and author passionate about bringing science, through art, to a wider audience.

The scientists:

Charlotte Albury is senior researcher in Primary Health Care. She is a conversation analyst, and is interested in how we use can use the power of conversation in healthcare settings, and in our everyday lives, to achieve difficult things (like saying ‘no’ to advice, or having a ‘good’ consultation with a doctor in just 10 mins).

Rachael Drewery is a researcher in Primary Health Care. Using her skills in conversation analysis Rachael focusses on uncovering how compassion is communicated in healthcare settings.

Jack Joyce is a researcher in Primary Health Care. A conversation analyst, he uses conversation analysis to understand the science behind a range of topics, from complaints to mansplaining.

Liliia Bespala is a sociolinguist, working in both Oxford’s linguistics and primary health care departments. Liliia’s work examines how, when, and why we ‘repair’ our talk as we are talking.

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