Imagining Posthuman Care



Partners and collaborators

Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds International Film Festival, Foundation for Responsible Robotics


Dr. DeFalco’s current research project, ‘Posthuman Care,’ reconsiders care as a concept, philosophy, and a textual practice, following contemporary critical reorientations toward animality, vulnerability, and the posthuman. It explores how contemporary literary and cinematic representations of nonhuman companionship and assistance draw attention to the consequences of embodiment, namely, affectivity, responsibility, and dependency. Exploring embodied imaginative responses to central theoretical questions, this work asks: How might the philosophy of care, a largely humanist philosophical perspective, work in dialogue with posthumanism? How can the shared attention to embodiment, contingency and interdependence in posthumanism, new materialism, and philosophy of care be cultivated in ways that expand and enrich both perspectives?

In their depictions of unconventional, often transgressive, scenarios in which relations of care between human and nonhuman not only supersede human-human relationships but produce new human/animal/machine ways of being, literary and visual representations can help us to imagine a future of care while analysing the meaning and ethics of care in our neoliberal, posthuman present. Through interdisciplinary workshops, networking and engagement events, as well as interdisciplinary publications, the project explores the social, political, aesthetic and ethical issues arising from new models of relationality, companionship, and caregiving.

The project brings together researchers and stakeholders from care and ageing studies, philosophy and cultural studies, medical humanities and robotics to participate in a range of projects and activities funded by the AHRC (“Imagining Posthuman Care”), the British Academy (“The Ethics and Aesthetics of Intimate Robot Care”), the Leeds Humanities Research Institute (“Touch: Feeling, Sensing, Knowing” Sadler Seminar Series and the “Future of Care Initiative”) and the Leeds Cultural Institute (“Touching Worlds” Engagement Event).  

Additional reading

Beyond Prosthetic Memory: Posthumanism, Embodiment, and Caregiving Robots

MaddAddam, Biocapitalism, and Affective Things

Toward a Theory of Posthuman Care 


For further information, please contact Dr Amelia DeFalco


The project will engage with a broad range of academic and non-academic partners and audiences, including the Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR), the Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF), and the Thackray Medical Museum. Through interactive public film screenings, a symposium, museum exhibition, and consultation report, in addition to scholarly activities and outputs, the project will reach audiences both inside and outside of academia who are curious, concerned, apprehensive, and/or excited about the possible futures of robot care. The pathways are interrelated and cumulative, scheduled to allow for interaction between audiences and events. Collaboration with the FRR early in the Fellowship will allow us to incorporate questions and concerns raised during the roundtable workshops as we continue to develop the pathways that follow. Research and preparation for a public consultation report will scale up this initial collaboration and provide key material for the final converging pathways to impact: the Future of Care symposium and exhibition. These twinned events coincide with the release of the consultation report.