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Creating comics, songs and poems to make sense of decolonising the curriculum: a collaborative autoethnography patchwork
  1. Muna Al-Jawad1,
  2. Gaurish Chawla1,
  3. Neil Singh2
  1. 1Department of Medical Education, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, UK
  2. 2Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Muna Al-Jawad, Department of Medical Education, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, BN2 1HA, UK; muna.aljawad{at}


Decolonising the curriculum is a complex endeavour, with the potential to cause harm as well as benefit. People doing the work might find themselves questioning their personal and political identities and motives, it is common for people to get disillusioned. While surveys and toolkits are important to help us start the work, we are interested in finding out how decolonising practices can be sustained. We believe to practise meaningfully in this area we need to understand ourselves as practitioners, make sense of the work and have deep connections with colleagues and possibly our institutions.

This research uses collaborative autoethnography; our personal experiences, reflected through the lenses of each other’s point of view; to help us know ourselves and make sense of our practice. We also show how art, in the form of comics, poems and a song, can be used to deepen our research by adding meaning, connection and joy. We present this research as a patchwork text of writing, art and conversations. Our work is underpinned by theory, particularly drawing on Sara Ahmed and bell hooks. It is produced by the three of us to illuminate the process of decolonising a curriculum. We see this paper as part of our collective resistance: resistance to colonialism, to scientism and to inhumanity. We hope you will find resonances with your practice, and perhaps discover new ways to find meaning and connections.

  • art and medicine
  • medical education
  • Graphic Medicine
  • poetry
  • Qualitative Research

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Data availability statement

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  • Contributors MA-J conceived and designed the research. MA-J and GC refined the methodology. MA-J and GC obtained ethics approval. All authors produced and analysed data. All authors contributed to writing up and revising the manuscript for publication. Art, poems and songs were made by the authors as indicated in the paper. MA-J acts as guarantor for the work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.