Interview with Joan McMeeken

Last week I spoke with Professor Joan McMeeken about her recent book Science in Our Hands: Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne, 1895–2010.

Joan is the Foundation Professor and was Foundation Head of the School of Physiotherapy and Associate Dean Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne from 1991 to 2006. She is a Professorial Fellow of the University.  Her previous research and clinical interests included physiotherapy education and accreditation, health promotion and health management through education, injury prevention and rehabilitation.  She continues to play a major role in the recognition, registration and accreditation of university and tertiary academic programs in Australia and internationally, now with the World Confederation of Physical Therapy.  Since retiring from her substantive position she completed a PhD in the School of History and Philosophy of Science in the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Arts. Her current historical interests include work on a current Australian Research Council grant, Diggers to Veterans: Risk, Resilience and Recovery in the First Australian Imperial Force and the history of the physiotherapy profession. In 2018 her book Science in Our Hands Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne, 1895–2010 was published.

You can listen to the interview in full here.


McMeeken Joan M 2018 Science in Our Hands: Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne, 1895–2010. Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Posted by Dave Nicholls

Dr. Nicholls is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand. He is a physiotherapist, lecturer, researcher and writer, with a passion for critical thinking in and around the physical therapies. David is the founder of the Critical Physiotherapy Network, an organisation that promotes the use of cultural studies, education, history, philosophy, sociology, and a range of other disciplines in the study of the profession’s past, present and future. David’s own research work focuses on the critical history of physiotherapy and considers how physiotherapy might need to adapt to the changing economy of health care in the 21st century. He has published 35 peer-reviewed articles and 17 book chapters, many as first author. He is also very active on social media, writing more than 500 blogposts for in the last three years. David has taught in physiotherapy programmes in the UK and New Zealand for over 25 years and has presented his work all around the world. The End of Physiotherapy – the first book-length critical history of physiotherapy, and written by David – was published by Routledge in mid-2017.

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