Thursday, April 17, 2014

Homelessness, Lived experience and an arts proposal for London, Ontario


Below I have posted a proposal called "VOICE"  I submitted to The London Community Foundation in 2011.  The community concept sought to mobilize the community around arts and stories of lived experience to help raise awareness about poverty and homelessness in our city.  I thought the information may benefit others seeking to use the arts for change in their own communities across Canada.

IJCAIP

 THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE CREATIVE ARTS IN INTERDISCIPLINARY PRACTICE

Cheryl L. McLean, Publisher, Executive Editor


London, Ont.

 
 

VOICE



VOICE is a year long pilot programme (consisting of numerous community art projects)  leading to a main culminating event  for London, Ontario which will focus on raising awareness through arts  about the  human  stories of those who are often marginalized or unheard in our community.  This will be a unique and community supported opportunity to raise awareness but also a place for inclusivity..for Londoner’s  to come together to celebrate the considerable creativity, diversity and  talents of all of the citizens living in and around the City of London.   The projects and main event/s will help create a place to voice stories about:

  • homelessness
  • poverty, unemployed
  • mental health
  • disability
  • Aboriginal life
  • Environmental issues
  • aging/Alzheimer’s, dementia
  • youth/under-employed
  • immigrant communities
  • needs of caregivers/professional healthcare workers
     

London, Ontario, is currently experiencing growth and change with an emphasis on development in our city core.   Considering the opportunities and challenges in times of increased urban development and  the  possible consequences such as  displacement, lack of affordable housing, homelessness and poverty,  as well as the critical needs for mental health services, VOICE is a well timed event which would  help serve vital  needs in our city.

The purpose of  VOICE will be to use the arts in many forms  to help bring about transformational change, to  tell and present stories for public witness,  to  help foster public empathy and understanding, to  raise awareness, gather support and to ultimately improve quality of life for our citizens. In terms of action the event will raise awareness, foster empowerment and act as  a catalyst to help raise critical  funds for affordable and accessible housing for those in need in our city. 

It is envisioned VOICE act as  an “umbrella” programme (featuring many arts for change  projects developed and prepared over a year) removing barriers and breaking down prohibitive “special interest” silos while uniting the London community its citizens and  organizations around positive community change.  A number of  local organizations are already currently active in highly successful events that help support local citizens and offer places for self expression  (examples:  CMHA “Framing the Phoenix” (mental health/arts) , “Grit Uplifted” London Intercommunity Health (writing/homelessness), Poetry Slam and others…VOICE will help profile these projects and initiate new projects through story, drama, poetry, art, photography, visual art, music, dance and film in a unified effort to educate the community and  profile persons and issues while working to validate individuals, provide a space and place for creativity and  purpose,  community  connectedness, and foster hope for change.

 It is envisioned that organizationally, members of varied communities (see para. 2 list above)  will  lend a participatory voice in helping to shape the year long projects and main event   (providing input,  leadership, volunteers,  etc.)

It is conceived VOICE  might also link to our London educational communities…research  and social service community and feature research/dissemination  (such as photovoice/performance and narrative  projects etc. ) at our local art galleries and other venues.    Projects will seek to raise awareness about issues of marginalization.  Public and secondary schools would be active in projects linked to the theme as well as the  idea of working together for hope and change.

It is expected the pilot programme would require at least one year in terms of  preparatory lead up programmes and the main event.  Groups will be active over the year in creating art in many forms which will be featured at the main event.   Lead up projects would involve groups working with trained facilitators/directors who will guide them in creating their own exhibits/written contributions/ special performances/music (instrumental/choir etc.) /video/dance/films /digital etc. for VOICE.   This initiative may also involve facilitation and working with homeless persons and other participants  over the year  to help create other forms of craft (which could potentially be marketable)  …carpentry projects for example,  quilting  and projects related to fashion, digital technologies etc.  These projects could help provide creative and purposeful activities while fostering empowerment, agency and self sufficiency.

VOICE will be designed to be a prototype project which could be an exemplar for cities and an example for positive community change… the London VOICE project becoming the model for similar events across Canada.  There are plans to formally study this project as it unfolds in order to create a VOICE  document/report which could be consulted by other municipalities who would wish to institute a similar programme.

In terms of dissemination, The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP available and accessible worldwide (http://www.ijcaip.com)  will feature several articles about VOICE in upcoming journal issues accessible worldwide  and the third text in the CAIP (Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice) Series,  also titled “VOICE”  will feature an article in the book  about the  story of the London  project as it unfolded… a model  and an inspiration for other communities active in work for  community change.

 Although it is very early to speculate as to which London organizations may be potentially interested in some form of involvement in this event, the following is proposed as a list of possibles:

 

International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP

London Food Bank

London Intercommunity Health Centre

London Community Foundation

Museum London

Canadian Mental Health Association

London Intercommunity Health

London Health Sciences Centre

University of Western Ontario

Aeolian Hall

Palace Theatre

East London Business Association

Community Care Access

YMCA/YWCA

United Way

The Arts Project

My Sister’s Place

Lawyers Feed the Hungry, London, Ont.

Ark-Aid

Hunger Relief Action Coalition

London Coffee House

Street Connections

Unity Project/Up with Art

London Dental Community Cares

London Fire Department

London Police Department

Habitat for Humanity

Sunfest

Old East Village Business Improvement

London Free Press

Scene Magazine

The Londoner

 

Proposal summary:

There have been programmes and initiatives related to marginalization and homelessness in London, however, the human issues are still not well understood by the public at large.  This creates a knowledge gap which continues to impede efforts for change in our city and in other urban centres. There is a growing body of research that substantiates the use of the *creative arts for community and cultural change.  VOICE is a community based process and awareness raising initiative , an exemplar for other cities, that uses the arts in action to foster participative citizen engagement, build community vitality and foster transformative change focusing public attention on stories and lived experiences of marginalization, homelessness and related issues.  The initiative will offer an inclusive opportunity to connect around the creativity, diversity and talents of all London’s citizens with arts opportunities for youth to senior citizen with a goal to close the gap between rich and poor and bring about attitudinal change.

VOICE consists of of facilitated and participative arts for change projects (visual arts, storytelling, writing, performance, choral music, other) leading to a culminating event October 2012.  There will be opportunities for research and exhibits in galleries and public spaces to encourage reflection, public dialogue and discussion.    A summary report would be completed 2013 with follow up articles in *IJCAIP Journal and upcoming book *VOICE! Transforming Cities through Citizen Stories and the Arts in Action

 VOICE could potentially  build on work of London CAReS and Strengthening Community and Neighbourhoods, London Community Housing Strategy and The Cultural Prosperity Plan. There was a suggestion a presentation about the new initiative might be scheduled at the Culture Days event and National Housing Day. (list of 30 other potential city collaborations was included in draft submission to LCF).

Leverage may include in kind donations, city venues, community volunteers, IJCAIP donated publishing support, academic expertise, etc.

 

_____________________

 

 

 Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Cheryl McLean/IJCAIP

Executive Editor, Publisher, International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice Journal

Editor, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice CAIP Research Series

Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change

Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change, Detselig Temeron Press, Calgary.
Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Brush Education, dist. University of Toronto Press, 2014

http://www.ijcaip.com

 


London.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

IJCAIP Subscriber News, April 2014


 

IJCAIP  Spring/Summer 2014 Publishers' Supplementary Issue 12 Advance Announcement

Upcoming issue Summer 2014 Is.  #12 of IJCAIP Journal, "Creating Spaces for Change" will feature articles on The Healing Arts in Action * The Art of  Mindfulness for Practitioner Wellness * Story for Change * Book reviews and more...this supplementary issue will  be published with full text articles for access by IJCAIP subscribers,  June 2014 at http://www.ijcaip.com

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Arts and Medicine: Meeting the Challenge of Change

Living Stories of Hope and Change,  How can the creative arts contribute to practitioner wellness?


More follow up and news about this presentation at Alberta Doctors' AMA website

____________________________________________________________________________________

Creative Arts in Humane Medicine

New Book! Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, a project of The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, published by Brush Education, dist. University of Toronto Press


____________________________________________________________________________________

IJCAIP Subscriber News and Congratulations!

Dr. Vincent Hanlon, Physician and Family Support Program, PFSP, Alberta,  facilitated workshops Everyday Mindfulness Practice and Evidence and Ready or Not Here Comes Retirement, Alberta Psychiatric Association Conference, Banff, March 2014

New Book! Catherine Etmanski, Budd L. Hall, Teresa Dawson,  Learning and Teaching Community Based Research Linking Pedagogy to Practice, University of Toronto Press.

Amy Clements-Cortes, Assistant Professor, limited term appointment, Research, Music and Health Research, University of Toronto

Cheryl L. McLean, Pt. time faculty appointment, summer 2014, M.Ed. Curriculum Studies Program, Research in Creativity, Acadia University, Nova Scotia.  Keynote speaker summer institute 2014.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Arts and Psychiatry, Meeting the Challenge of Change


Living Stories of Hope and Change

Meeting the challenge of change through the arts in medicine

Keynote:  The Alberta Psychiatric Association Conference, Banff, Alberta

March 28, 2014

Cheryl L. McLean, CherylMcLean@ijcaip.com

______________________________________________________________

This article features a few very brief excerpts from my recent keynote presentation, Living Stories of Hope and Change.

 

 "The business of art is rather to understand Nature and to reveal her meanings to those unable to understand. It is to convey the soul of a tree rather than to produce a fruitful likeness of a tree. It is to reveal the conscience of the sea, not to portray so many foaming waves or so much blue water.    The mission of art is to bring out the unfamiliar from the most familiar."
Kahlil Gibran

 

This is a presentation about meeting the challenges of change through the arts in medicine.

In this talk,  I want to show how living stories, or personal stories, stories of lived experience,  particularly those written and performed for public witness, might lead to hope and change for the practitioner and the patient.    There are two key questions I will address: The first question,   How can the creative arts be used for my own personal wellness?   I will share with you research as well as  personal stories and performed  illustrations of the work (that I will weave in and through this presentation) to show how living stories have been healing in my own life and in the lives of others and to suggest how they might be healing for you.   The second question,  How do the creative arts in medicine help practitioners, (especially psychiatrists) enhance clinical and relational skills? I will share with you topical research and evidence and  relate performance examples to skills in psychiatry and offer other specific ways the work links to skills in practice.

 I understand many psychiatrists (the healers of the soul)  enter psychiatry as a profession  because they are interested in helping those who suffer and are in need of healing, opening the door to human understanding.  You want to know why people behave the way they do, you want to use your considerable education and skills to help people be well, you want to restore balance and quality of life to those you care for.  Among you today will be those who  commonly deal with issues around depression, anxiety, paranoia, and /sex abuse...

 Many psychiatrists  have themselves seen what it is to live on the other side of the door, they may know, through lived experience, through their fathers, their mothers, their aunts and uncles what abuse and alcoholism is, some have suffered devastating personal losses of those closest to them, many have grown up with family members who have lived with depression and other mental illnesses.   

Research shows that doctors, in general, are at greater risk for depression, mood disorders and suicide and psychiatrists, according to The American Psychiatric Association, commit suicide at rates at about twice that of other physicians.  Dr. Michael Myers, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and a leader in physician health and wellbeing  also stresses deeply depressed physicians still feel the effects of the stigma of mental illness. 

Meeting this challenge of change for your patients and your profession,for your health and your wellbeing, I believe can be achieved through sharing your stories and the stories of others to help counter stigma and break the silence with your voices in creative communities of love, support and common connection.  This is where hope can be found and where the change can begin.

 EVIDENCE

 "In the US, a recent study found that over half of all US medical schools involved the arts in learning activities (Rodenhauser, Strickland, & Gambala,2004). This survey found that the arts are used to foster student well-being,enhance teaching and learning, and improve clinical and relational skills, for example, observation and  reflection and insight."


There are many illustrative examples of the arts in research and in medicine in the book "Creative Arts in Humane Medicine" .   Among the topics; teaching empathy through role play and fabric art, visual arts in dental education, drama for patient communication, reader's theatre and sharing experiences of caregiving, music for practitioner self care and narrative as a reflective process in the illness experience among others. 

Dr. Rita Charon at Columbia University, New York, a pioneer in the field of narrative medicine and founder of the Narrative Medicine program at Columbia has long advocated for the value of sharing stories of medical practice, of reading and writing stories, of attentive listening, reflective writing, and bearing witness to suffering.   

Dr. Arthur Frank  has written extensively about illness narratives.  He encourages people to tell  stories to reflect and help make sense of their suffering.   He believes when illness can be transformed into story this can be deeply  healing.   Other medical educators  like  Dr. Johanna Shapiro, Medical Education, University of California School of Medicine,  who does qualitative research on patient narrative and the doctor-patient relationship with a focus on  communication skills, literature and medicine, believes theatre performance, as well, can provide opportunities for medical students to identify with imagined roles and situations as viewers or participants.    

I have special research interests in  narrative and  ethnodrama which is a form of  performance based qualitative research. While doing graduate work at Concordia University in Montreal I also worked as a drama therapist associated with an Over 60 mental health programme.   I wrote and acted in the ethnodrama  "Remember Me for Birds" based on this research and client stories.   Ethnodramas have been written about communication between physicians and cancer patients, nursing  and home care, stigma and HIV/AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse, schizophrenia, death and loss and eating disorders, for example.

How can such work be healing for the practitioner?

I have personally found that writing and embodying the stories was a transformative and visceral form of learning and healing, a deeply transformative process of self discovery whereby one can explore and re-experience  the personal links between self and family history and the common connections between themes that arise in client/character  stories and themes in one's own life.  For example, it was through my own work in the creative arts and living story that I discovered survival was an important theme in my personal life, as it had been for family members and the many characters  in my performances.

How might the creative arts in medicine help practitioners enhance clinical and relational skills?

Empathy is a key relational skill in clinical practice.  The arts can help foster empathy.

  A study through Thomas Jefferson University has been able to quantify a relationship between physicians' empathy and their patients' positive clinical outcomes, suggesting that a physician's empathy is an important factor associated with clinical competence.

Jodi Halpern, a psychiatrist and professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities at The University of California, Berkeley, claims that empathy requires experiential not just theoretical knowing. The arts and drama are particularly effective, she reports,  as a means of active and embodied learning and knowing.  

Embodying the living story through an experience with the arts can foster a sense of having being there, to see as another sees,  bringing about  the miracle of empathic connection that Henry David Thoreau refers to in the quote;  "Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?"  

 Empathy is good for practitioner wellness  and important  in the physician patient relationship.   The processes we are referring to, the capacity to read, write and share complex, fully embodied stories, foster great empathy for the patient or client as well as ourselves as we connect closely on an embodied and emotional level while becoming increasingly attuned to our own corresponding issues and themes.  

 There is a  transformative learning  process taking place for practitioners in writing such  narratives and performing living stories.  As well, the audience may learn more about human experience as they witness historical or past events and the present within a performed context. As an audience member witnessing a living story we can see the NOW more  contextually and observe the WHYS in action.

 I have presented numerous examples of narrative, story, poetry and monologue in this presentation  that have shown how these creative forms of self expression have been healing for the practitioner.    Sharing your personal story for witness  can be a validating  act of self compassion and love.  Self-compassion that can help protect against anxiety and promote psychological resiliency. We can meet the challenge.  Countering   stigma through sharing our living stories we can break the silence and open the way for others to share their stories.


Cheryl McLean M.A. is an educator, publisher, author and speaker.  Editor, Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, published by Brush Education (dist. University of Toronto Press) and
the books Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change, Creative Arts in Research for Community and Cultural Change.

 For more information:  website:  http://www.cherylmclean.com
email:  CherylMcLean@ijcaip.com

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 2013 IJCAIP Subscriber News, A year of celebration and thanks.....


 
Dear subscribers International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice:

Books and Reviews

This year comes to a close on a note of celebration and thanks as  I reflect on activities at  IJCAIP Journal.  Work  has  largely been devoted to our new book, Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Brush Education, distributed by University of Toronto Press. Creative Arts in Humane Medicine has been created as a resource book for medical educators, practitioners and students who wish to learn how the arts can contribute toward a more caring and empathic approach to medicine.  Physician wellness is also an important topic as we examine the many ways the arts can play a role in addressing the health needs of physicians and other allied health professionals.  This book  is available now for  ordering in hard copy or ebook formats at the  Brush Education website.  

In editing this book I  have been privileged to work with international leaders and innovators in the field of arts and medicine, physicians and medical educators, researchers, allied health professionals and internationally renowned artists.  In my association with Brush Education  I have been fortunate over this year to collaborate with some of the best editors in the Canadian publishing industry.  

 My thanks also  extends to those IJCAIP Journal  subscribers who reviewed our book:

"Some have said that medicine, rather than being a science, is really an interactive process. It is informed by science but also dependent on psychology, sociology, philosophy, law and human creativity. McLean’s book should be a must read for those responsible for medical education...so that in the end the human connection between healers and those they heal is enhanced."

Michael Gordon MD, MSc, FRCPC -- Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System; Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto

"Creative Arts in Humane Medicine takes us on a fascinating journey to meet the educators, clinicians, support workers and artists who apply arts-based methods in innovative ways to enhance patient care, reflexivity in learners and a sense of community, and well-being in practitioners. The book stands out with an emphasis on multiple media (theater, music, visual and digital imagery, literature and reflective writing), as well as the inclusion of international and interprofessional perspectives."

Allan D. Peterkin, MD, FRCPC, FCFP -- Head, Health, Arts and Humanities Program and Humanities Lead, Undergraduate Medical Education, University of Toronto

"Creative Arts in Humane Medicine is a fascinating collection of essays that evocatively illustrates the importance of literature, music, photography, and art in facilitating self-care and awareness among health care providers, training empathetic physicians, and improving patient care."

Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP -- Author of Public Health and Social Justice (2013)

"Through a collage of creative arts methods and messages, these authors illuminate the essence of the “human story of health care” as loving, healing and humanly embodied—an essential message in an era of highly institutionalized technical health care. A must read for academics, researchers, clinicians, and students interested in creative healing arts, narrative health and humane medicine, or for anyone interested in the application of reflection and curiosity, creative expression and arts-based methods to the field of healthcare."

Sue MacRae -- Registered Nurse, Clinical Ethicist, Psychotherapist

 

International Inroads, Medical Education

We have made  important new inroads internationally around our common interests in the creative arts and medicine. I had a special opportunity to present  for the American Medical Students' Association AMSA as part of their Medical Humanities Scholars' program. Aliye Runyan MD, Education and Research Fellow for AMSA, has written the forward for our book Creative Arts in Humane Medicine. She writes,  "AMSA believes it is paramount that the physician not only be a scientist but a humanist, a communicator and an advocate."

Keynotes/Medicine

I will be presenting a keynote, March 2014,  in Banff  for The Alberta Psychiatric Association conference, "Challenges of Change for our Patients and our Profession" ...the  talk, "Living Stories for Hope and Change"  will examine how the creative arts, lived and embodied through drama and story, can lead to personal discovery, healing and change for the practitioner.  A breakout session will follow with an active group opportunity to embody, remember, write and perform a " living story"/narrative.   More keynote information here:

IJCAIP Subscribers List/Notice

We have updated and revamped our computer system here at the office and this has affected our IJCAIP subscriber mailing list.  Please let us know if you have received this message in error, or if you would like to be removed at this time from our mailing list with a quick email to CherylMcLean@ijcaip.com with "please unsubscribe" in the subject line.    If you have friends or colleagues who would like to subscribe to IJCAIP Journal send an email to CherylMcLean@ijcaip.com "please subscribe".  We welcome new subscribers and there is no membership or subscriber fees.

IJCAIP   still offers subscribers  free access to full text articles and our journal archive at the website at http://www.ijcaip.com.  Be sure to visit the IJCAIP blog  Arts Crossing Borders accessible by pressing the blog tab at the top of the website.  Here you can search the blog for hundreds of articles related to the creative arts in action and practice across disciplines.   For those interested in arts and health you might also  want to visit the Creative Arts in Humane Medicine book blog website where you'll find many other links, articles and videos related to the topic of arts and medicine. 

FYI  IJCAIP subscribers  receive about 4 - 6 notices a yr. with important inside news, events, announcements, book news, calls for papers for our books and journals...

After eight years, our journey continues and I want to thank our many subscribers who have supported us at IJCAIP....a vital web based  academic and professional community with common interests in the creative arts in interdisciplinary research, education and practice.   Please feel free to contact me, your feedback or comments would be most welcomed.

Respectfully,


Editor CAIP Research Series, CherylMcLean@ijcaip.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Advance Reviews Creative Arts in Humane Medicine October 2013


October 5, 2013

We are pleased to share with you the following advance reviews for the book, "Creative Arts in Humane Medicine". 


Cheryl McLean's Creative Arts in Humane Medicine is a fascinating collection of essays that evocatively illustrates the importance of literature, music, photography, and art in facilitating self-care and awareness among health care providers, training empathetic physicians, and improving patient care.


Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP -- Author of Public Health and Social Justice (2013)

Creative Arts in Humane Medicine is a graceful and important book that offers a groundbreaking, inspiriting engagement with issues such as empathy, empowerment, ethics and evidence, explored by a rich cast of inter-professional authors such as artists, educators, clinicians, and researchers. Through a collage of creative arts methods and messages, these authors illuminate the essence of the “human story of health care” as loving, healing and humanly embodied—an essential message in an era of highly institutionalized technical health care. A must read for academics, researchers, clinicians, and students interested in creative healing arts, narrative health and humane medicine, or for anyone interested in the application of reflection and curiosity, creative expression and arts-based methods to the field of healthcare.

Sue MacRae -- Registered Nurse, Clinical Ethicist, Psychotherapist, Former Deputy Director, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics

Some have said that medicine, rather than being a science, is really an interactive process. It is informed by science but also dependent on psychology, sociology, philosophy, law and human creativity. McLean’s book should be a must read for those responsible for medical education...so that in the end the human connection between healers and those they heal is enhanced.

Michael Gordon MD, MSc, FRCPC -- Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System; Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto

Creative Arts in Humane Medicine takes us on a fascinating journey to meet the educators, clinicians, support workers and artists who apply arts-based methods in innovative ways to enhance patient care, reflexivity in learners and a sense of community, and well-being in practitioners. The book stands out with an emphasis on multiple media (theater, music, visual and digital imagery, literature and reflective writing), as well as the inclusion of international and interprofessional perspectives.

Allan D. Peterkin, MD, FRCPC, FCFP -- Head, Health, Arts and Humanities Program and Humanities Lead, Undergraduate Medical Education, University of Toronto

Monday, September 2, 2013

Creative Works Studio featured in.. What's Art Got to Do With It? Film


 

The Creative Works Studio is an occupational therapy arts based community program at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, that helps individuals living with mental health challenges heal and cope through the power of artistic expression. It is part of the Inner City Health Program and operates in partnership with the Good Shepherd.

Their Mission is to provide a community based creative arts studio that offers a safe and accepting place of healing for people marginalized by the challenges of living with severe and persistent mental illness or addictions.

The healing process is based on the integration of the principles of occupational therapy, mental health, primary care, visual arts and vocational counseling.  The studio supports members on a self-guided journey to self- expression through art, greater self esteem, improved confidence and eventually increased participation with the larger community.

 What’s Art Got to Do With It?, Isabel Fryszberg and Parsons’ documentary film about the Creative Works program at St. Michael's Hospital  takes viewers inside the world of mental illness, homelessness, addiction and recovery. The film features five people who, despite their unique challenges, find fulfilment and celebration in art.

 “Our participants agreed to let us film their experiences and were surprised to find that the filming was a healing experience in itself,” said Isabel Fryszberg, the film’s director. “Hiding yourself from the world takes a tremendous amount of energy. So putting yourself out there like that can be very freeing.”

Fifty minutes in length, the film has been a labour of love for Fryszberg, Parsons, Marlena Zuber (studio assistant) and the project participants for the past several years. It’s also the product of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research dissemination grant to share research knowledge and innovative practice.

“We’re excited about promoting the studio through this film, but we’re also excited about this idea of documentary filmmaking as a knowledge translation tool,” said Isabel Fryszberg creative lead at the Creative Works Programme.


What’s Art Got To Do With It?


Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 at 6pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox
There will be an address from Chair of the Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative, Mary Deacon,
a Q & A session, and a reception to follow.

 To see film trailer click here!
 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Touching the Heart of What it is to be Human




Press Release, 
July 21, 2013
International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice


Creative Arts in Humane Medicine 
Book touches the heart of what it is to be human
Cheryl L. McLean
Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Editor, Cheryl L. McLean, Published by Brush Education, and distributed by The University of Toronto Press,  is a resource book for medical educators, practitioners and students as well as those in the allied health professions who wish to learn how the arts can contribute toward a more caring and empathic approach to medicine.  
In this collection, which features the latest research and real life examples, physicians, medical educators, researchers and allied health professionals, as well as medical students, residents, artists and others across Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia show how the arts in action can contribute toward humane medicine.
To be humane is to show empathy or understanding and to care about the condition and suffering of others, to treat others as we ourselves might wish to be treated.  The word medicine itself is from the Latin “ars medicina” refers to the art of healing, the practice invested in the treatment and prevention of illness. Humanistic Medicine is a growing trend today as more medical professionals integrate the arts into their practice to improve communication with their patients and build better relationships.  A recent study found that over half of all medical schools in The United States  involved the arts in some form in learning activities(Rodenhauser, Strickland, & Gambala).This survey showed that the arts are used to foster student well-being, enhance teaching and learning, and improve clinical and relational skills,for example, observation and diagnostic skills, reflection and insight.
There are other encouraging signs that the arts are alive and thriving in medical education today with programs integrating the arts and humanities into medical education and leading medical schools and universities offering more programming to promote creative and scholarly work at the intersections of the arts, humanities and medicine.  One Canadian effort, the Medical Humanities HEALS Program at The Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, offers programming in visual parts, performing arts, the history of medicine and creative writing.  Another, The Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine Program at The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at The University of Alberta,  launched in May 2006,  has a mandate to balance scientific knowledge and compassionate care.  Its mission statement formally acknowledges “the explicit recognition within the Faculty that clinical practice is both an art and a science”.  At The University of Toronto, the Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) program,  has begun to integrate different types of narrative systematically into the curriculum with a new companion curriculum.
At Yale School of Medicine, The Yale Medical Humanities and the Arts Council reports it is committed to fostering the use of the humanities, social sciences, and the arts as a lens for examining issues in health, medicine, and healing. Arts and Humanities at Harvard Medical School aim to promote the role of the humanities in medical education, clinical care and research. Stanford School of Medicine, Arts, Humanities and Medicine, has been established to promote creative and scholarly work at the intersections between the arts, humanities and medicine.
And there is growing support for the creative arts in humane medicine today coming from the medical students themselves.  The AMSA (American Medical Students' Association)  has over 150 chapters in medical schools across the United States and an estimated  350 pre-med chapters. Aliye Runyan M.D.,  Education and Research Fellow, American Medical Student Association, reports , The AMSA  Medical Humanities Scholars' Program exposes students to lead faculty in narrative medicine, humanities and the arts as they explore reflective capacity, communication, self care and the art of listening to their patients' stories.  "AMSA,"  Runyan writes, “believes it is paramount that the physician not only be a scientist but a humanist, a communicator and an advocate.”
I was recently a guest presenter for a webinar for The American Medical Student Association’s Medical Humanities Scholars’ Program.  During the session a student asked, “If this work (about the creative arts in medicine) is frequently about empathy and feeling the human story, how much empathy is too much empathy?  What if I can no longer bear it?” The student asked me a very difficult question, one not easy to answer.  Our creative work is powerful and profound in the way it frequently uses all the senses to foster empathy and  draw us closer to human understanding, but what are our human limits?  If I were in bed, ill and fighting for life, I asked myself, how much empathy would I hope my caregivers would extend to me?  When would enough be enough?   This collection raises provocative questions and proposes alternative approaches  in the hopes of inspiring new areas of investigation while opening up a larger conversation about the creative arts in medicine among students and medical practitioners.
The book, Creative Arts in Humane Medicine has been divided into four distinct and related sections.  Section 1, “Educating for Empathy through the Arts”; Section 2, "The Arts in Medicine and Practitioner Self Care" ; Section 3, "Navigating with Narrative Through Life Experience" ; and Section 4," The Creative Arts in Action for Change in Health".
Section l,  Educating for Empathy through the Arts, opens with special attention paid to the overriding theme in this collection, that of care and  fostering empathy through varied arts methodologies.  We begin our book with visual art as the focus as Andre Smith and his research team at The Department of Sociology, University of Victoria, demonstrate an innovative pedagogical approach using fabric art for teaching empathy with end-of-life health care providers.  Similarly, in my own article that follows, I share the process of creating an ethnodrama to raise awareness about aging, mental health and autonomy and discuss how writing and creating a performance based on research led to greater empathy and human understanding.  In his opening essay, Craig Chen MD, an anesthesiology resident at Stanford University Medical Centre, supports the view that the arts and humanities can bring about understanding about  illness and disease.    He explains,  
 “It is not easy to go to work every day and care for people who hurt themselves, are going to die, cry on your shoulder, feel terrified or distrust the health care system…The arts and humanities, with respect to medicine, are about understanding how humans experience illness and disease and placing that within a context of diagnosis, treatment and care”.   
The section’s closing paper by researchers Mina Borromeo, Heather Gaunt and Neville Chiavaroli,  from the Melbourne Dental School, explores the visual arts used in education for increasing observational skills and understanding as students are guided through the rediscovery and re-appreciation of  human responses as it applies to  Special Needs Dentistry.
In Section 2, The Arts in Medicine and Practitioner Self Care, we examine working in medicine and the realities of  illness, disease, aging, death and after death and how the arts can offer healthy opportunities for practitioners to deal with stressful situations while  addressing  their own self care needs.  Alim Nagi MD,  who is also an actor, producer and writer, stresses that teaching people to understand their patients stories must begin early in their training before the erosion of empathy.  Nagi believes using theatre in medical education for “performative reflection” can help students delve into the character’s back stories drawing parallels between those experiences and their own.  In the article that follows, Maura McIntyre’s arts informed research, part of the growing genre of performance ethnography, offers caregivers and others an opportunity to participate in reader’s theatre so that they might experience real stories of nursing home life.  Craig Chen MD informs us about the importance of providing health professionals and others a place for self expression through varied forms of  performance.  At Stanford,  medical students had a vital opportunity for expression and community connection through performance while audiences learned more about what it is like to work in the field of anesthesiology.  In the next article, Rachael Allen, an Artist in Residence (AIR) at university anatomy and clinical skills laboratories in the North East of England, writes about her work witnessing students engaged in lab work with prepared prosections of embalmed and plastinated specimens and believes it is fundamentally important for health and humane medicine that students working in anatomy labs are offered opportunities to express these intimate human encounters through art. Allen offers new and sensory approaches to anatomy and clinical studies while artistically rendering the undergraduate experiences of medical students.  Forms of art therapy and varied modalities for healing  are also discussed.  Music therapy has long been recognized as being effective for self expression and healing and, as Amy Clements-Cortes demonstrates in her article, music therapy in many forms can also help address stress and other issues for those working in palliative care settings. In other programs expressive approaches have also proven useful for healthcare practitioners as is presented in the article by  Diane Kaufman, MD and her team at The  University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Contributors present  personal stories and engage with narrative in Section 3, Navigating with Narrative Through Life Experience, as well as demonstrating  the applications of literature in medical practice.  Dr. Rita Charon, a leader in the field of narrative medicine,  has long advocated for the use of the narrative in medical education.  Each of our contributors navigate with narrative or use story in uniquely different ways, however, all writers in this section share in common an underlying belief about the humanity and dignity that can be found through fostering the practitioner patient relationship. Jasna Schwind, a nurse educator, writes about her work, informed by narrative inquiry while sharing aspects of her own illness story to demonstrate how intentional and thoughtful reflection allowed her, as both patient and caregiver, to make sense of the experience. Narrative and poetic inquirier, John J. Guiney Yallop,  writes in the article that follows, about his lived experiences over time with medical practitioners and, in so doing, poignantly illustrates the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient.   Catherine L. Mah, MD, FRCPC, PhD a scientist, practitioner, researcher, and teacher discusses in her article the uses of literature and the childhood novel in pediatrics practice suggesting the approach  may help establish  a foundation for narrative examination in the one on one interview.
In Section 4, The Creative Arts in Action for Change in Health  we embrace change and the future opening with an exploration by Louise Younie,  a Clinical Senior Lecturer, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, who writes about her journey of discovery through arts based inquiry and considers the transformative influences of  the arts  in medical education as well as within her own work. In the next chapter Canadian activist artists Carol Conde and Karl Beveridge are featured demonstrating the arts in action for change and the power of story and photography to touch people and advocate for humanity for those  who work in healthcare settings. Bandy X. Lee MD at Yale University believes that today there is a great need for collective and emotional healing. She reports The World Health Organization has noted that health is not just the absence of disease and, in terms of change, effective violence prevention may be the key to health and human flourishing and creativity.  Louise Terry PhD PGCHE LLB illustrates how digital stories and technology can help teach ethics and law to health and social service professionals while contributing to humane medicine.   Visual and audio technologies, she suggests, help realize and bring to life our human stories complete with actions, omissions, aspirations and values.
Our chapter closes with an exhibit from the heart as medical and fine arts students from The University of British Columbia, Canada, reach out and build bridges to understanding health and the heart while connecting to communities through the visual arts.
This is an educational  book in which, through creative processes, we  feel the human story, touching the heart of what it is to be  human in others while attentively loving and caring for ourselves…not only surviving but thriving as humane practitioners in our lives and work.  I invite you, through this book  to read, to engage and to actively learn through these chapters about the creative arts in humane medicine. I believe you will find, in keeping with the embodied nature of our field, each article unfolds in its way as a story, a revealing performance about life, a creative act within itself.
The book, Creative Arts in Humane Medicine will be released in November 2013 and can be ordered through Brush Education.
More information ijcaip@gmail.com
Presentations about this book can be arranged at ijcaip@gmail.com