Narrative and Healing



As of 19 August 2011, registrations have closed. As we have reached our maximum capacity, we can no longer accept registrations. We apologise for any disappointment.


Commenting on the therapeutic dimensions of autobiographical writing, Marilyn Chandler notes: ‘All crises in some way or another involve a struggle with language, and to be healed we need to seem to find a way to tell our stories’. The recent proliferation of illness narratives and memoirs on bereavement attest to the truth of Chandler’s observation. Yet, illness sometimes has the power to silence voice. Bereavement can often render the experience of loss unspeakable. How then do the seriously ill, or the bereaved, find a way to tell their stories? What kind of stories do they tell? How does the act of telling stories shape experience? And how should we listen to those stories? How do we engage ethically with them? And what constitutes healing?

These are just some of the questions to be addressed at a one-day Symposium in which Australian writers and medical practitioners come together to explore the rich, complex relationship between narrative and healing. Writers Helen Garner, Brenda Walker, Maggie MacKellar and Judith Beveridge and specialist clinicians working in palliative care and bereavement counselling discuss, from a range of perspectives, how storytelling, particularly in times of crisis, enacts healing.

Time: 8.45 for 9am - 5pm
Date: Saturday 3 September 2011
Venue: Foyer, New Law Building, University of Sydney
Cost: $60

View the Program here.


The closest hotel to the University, the Rydges Camperdown on Missenden Road, has a conference rate of $160 per night and $20 for breakfast. Other options include:

1. Y Hotel Hyde Park, which advertises rooms from $79.
5-11 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney 2000.

T 1800 994 994
F (02)9285 6288
From this hotel it would be a five minute walk to either Central Station or George Street and then a 5-10 minute bus ride to the University.

2. Sydney Backpackers Hostel - Sydney Central YHA has shared rooms from $36 - $54.
11 Rawson Place, Corner of Pitt Street and Rawson Place (opposite Central Station), Sydney 2000.
View a map.
T (02)9218 9000
F (02)9218 9099

3. City Central Backpackers, almost next to Sydney Central YHA, has rooms from $30 - $40.
707 George Street, Sydney 2000.
View a map.
T (02)9211 9999
F (02)9212 4833

Both Sydney Central YHA and City Central Backpacker are a pleasant 12-15 minute stroll to the University (downhill) or an easy bus ride of four stops (5 minutes).

Please note these have not been tried by the University, but come recommended as the best available.

Transportation and Parking


The University of Sydney is located between Parramatta Road and City Road. The Law School is the brand new large building right next to Fisher Library and overlooking Victoria Park and its outdoor pool.

Buses regularly service both City Road and Parramatta Road (the closer option). Interstate visitors are advised to catch any of the buses that travel from Circular Quay or Town Hall along George Street. From Central Station, the bus will pass four stops before arriving at the University. Ask the driver to let you off at the University of Sydney.

There are two bus stops very close together: the first is at Victoria Park opposite Glebe Point road (that is 3 stops from Central), the second is just past the first entrance gates of the University. From either stop simply walk up the drive towards the large sandstone buildings and clock-tower. At the top of the drive turn left. The law school is the second building on the left with the soaring glass windows and lovely green lawns in front.

There is also a good coffee shop right at the entrance to the Law School so for those needing a coffee before the day begins, it is right there!

BUS NUMBERS: 435, 436, 438, 440, 412
431 and 433 turn into Glebe Point Road. Get off at the first stop on Glebe Point Road, cross Broadway and walk up.


Parking is available underneath the law school at a cost of $6 per day. The machines accept $1 and $2 coins or credit cards. There is additional parking throughout the University for the same price. Make sure you display your ticket.

Location of Law School

The Law School is at 19 I on the map found at: