2019 Plunkett Lecture

Thursday 15 August 2019
5.30pm – 7.30pm
St Vincent’s Clinic, Darlinghurst NSW

“To thine own self be true!” Reflections on authenticity, citizenship and dementia.

Professor Julian Hughes
Professor of Old Age Psychiatry
University of Bristol

View the recording of the 2019 Plunkett Lecture

Listen via ABC’s Big Ideas website

What is it to 'live well' with dementia?  Is authenticity possible in dementia? Can it be nurtured and maintained?  If it is lost or reduced, can it be restored?   Is it a goal of treatment and care?  If so, how is the capacity to be 'one's best self' to be fostered in the treatment and care of people with cognitive impairment?  Can people with dementia be 'citizens of the world'?

In this lecture, the philosopher and psychiatrist, Julian Hughes, once described as 'the most notable polymath'* in the field of dementia care, will address a range of conceptual and practical issues which arise in the care of people with dementia.

The conceptual issues focus on authenticity and citizenship. Drawing on recent research, both concepts will be explored, particularly from a social perspective. Other issues to be touched upon will include debates about capacity, best interests, agency, autonomy, and the importance of narratives when we contemplate our lives.
The practical issues will include the significance of place of residence, the management of behaviours that are found challenging (including the need for forced care, covert and psychotropic medication) as well as the challenge of managing changing personal relations in a reasonable way.

*'the most notable polymath' - from John Killick (2017) The Story of Dementia. Edinburgh: Luath Press; pp. 100-101.

Past lectures

Lectures from more recent years, together with invited speakers, are listed below. Recorded lectures can be accessed via the topic link.

Year Lecturer Topic
Year2018 LecturerProfessor Daniel Sulmasy MD PhD MACP, Professor of Biomedical Ethics, Georgetown University, Washington DC Topic

Should we take away Hippocrates' licence? Professionalism, conscience and tolerance in a good society

View the recording of the 2018 Plunkett lecture

Listen via ABC's Big Ideas website


Year 2017 LecturerMost Reverend Anthony Fisher OP, Archbishop of Sydney TopicDrive-thru healthcare: is there more to the healing relationship than supply and demand?
Year2016 LecturerMr Mark Tedeschi AM QC,NSW Senior Crown Prosecutor and author of Murder at Myall Creek TopicJohn Hubert Plunkett: The Martin Luther King of colonial Australia and prosecutor of the Myall Creek massacre trials
Year2015 LecturerAssociate Professor Justin Oakley, Monash University TopicWhat should surgical patients be told? The value and limits of medical transparency.
Year2014 LecturerProfessor Wendy Rogers, Macquarie University TopicOver diagnosis: when too much medicine is bad for your health!
Year2013 LecturerDr Steve Matthews, ACU TopicMusical memories and the way we were: musical therapy in progressive cognitive impairment.
Year 2012 LecturerDr Andrew McGee, Queensland University of Technology TopicMy brain, my mind, my body: implications for stem cell research, end of life and organ donation.
Year2011 LecturerDr Paul Biegler, Monash University TopicThe ethical treatment of depression: shortcomings in contemporary practice.
Year2010 LecturerDr John Forge, University of Sydney TopicThe responsible scientist: ethical challenges of research and practice.
Year 2009 LecturerProf Greg Craven, ACU and Mr Edward Santow, University of Sydney TopicHuman rights laws: a benefit to patients, participants in research, residents in nursing homes?


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