Friday, February 19, 2016

Course Medicine and the Arts

Announcement

Futurelearn is offering the course Medicine and the Arts online.
Course starts Feb. 29, 2016
Fee:  no charge

Educators:  Susan Levine, Associate Professor Anthropology
                   Professor Steve Reid, Family Physician
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/medicine-and-the-arts/3/welcome
University of Cape Town

More info:

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Autobiographical poem/story excerpt from ethnodrama about aging and caregiving Cheryl L. McLean

Autobiographical poem/story based on lived experience 
 an excerpt from the ethnodrama/preview "Who Cares?"
written by C.L. McLean
performed September 23, 2015 Acadia University, Nova Scotia

Two Eggs Soft Boiled

I wish she could have joined us for breakfast today, but it’s too late now,
too late to have visited her more often than I did,
too late for more meat pies, Syrian bread, fatias, Kibi
with pine nuts made especially for me,
made with love in her kitchen in the small house in Espanola
so small could barely fit a table.
I remember my mother-in-law, Frances, in her hospital room
nearly time for brain surgery,
neuroblastoma cancerous, another tumour, about the size of a walnut.
She was 87 years old.
I am standing next to Frances
they are preparing her gurney,
the one that will wheel her down the hall
in a very short time,
up to the elevator that will take her to the operating room.
I don’t know what to say.
I know she always loved her food
as much as she enjoyed sharing it with us.
Afraid for her now
and afraid for me,
it’s her third cancer operation,
a warrior
double mastectomy at thirty-two,
two small children at home
two breasts removed
months of radiation and surgery
battled a reoccurrence, bowel cancer
and now this, this, brain cancer.


“You’ll be back for breakfast tomorrow morning,” I say.
“Yeah?” She turns to look at me. “What will we be having?”
“Eggs and toast with wild blueberry jam, the good jam.”
“Yes the good jam,” she smiles.
“Eggs how do you want them?” I ask.
“Boiled, make them boiled.”
“White or brown toast?” I ask.
She looks up at me.
“Brown.”
The attendants crank up the bed, ready to transfer her to the gurney.
“Keep talking, oh keep talking, don’t stop. It’s helping,” she says.
“Oh the toast,” I say, “it’s good with butter and lots of jam, lots not just a little
and the eggs, we don’t want to overcook them.”
They are lifting her body and moving her now on to the gurney,
lying there, they are wheeling her toward the elevator.
I am standing outside the hospital room
turned toward the elevator, one last look, good bye.
The elevator doors open and they wheel her in and before I turn to go…
she leans forward, raises her hand, puts up two fingers and calls out
“Remember two eggs…soft boiled.”


Two eggs soft boiled.
Egg, symbol of nurturing, rebirth, hope
this her last thought she might return
to join us for breakfast in the morning.

It will never be too late
to remember her,
the meaning of her life
the love food provides.
To give thanks here at this table
for the gifts she gave,
her loving generous presence
and these two eggs, soft boiled.


C.L. McLean excerpt from the script “Who Cares” 2015.

The script (40 pgs.) for the preview ethnodrama, “Who Cares?” was written in August 2015 and the 50 minute preview show, we referred to as “a taste of”,  took place September 23 at the Lower Denton Theatre, Acadia University.  In the audience were faculty members, physicians, spiritual care workers, dietitians, caregivers, students and community members.


T


Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Call to Art at a Time of Arms


On December 28, 2015 we welcomed this guest post from Bandy X. Lee MD, MDiv
Assistant Clinical Professor, Law and Psychiatry Division, Yale University

A Call to Art at a Time of Arms

 “They have guns but we have flowers,” says a father to his frightened son.  “Flowers are nothing,” retorts the child.  “See, everyone posing flowers protects us from guns,” tells the father, which instantly reassures the son: “I feel better,” he concludes.  This message from Le Petit Journal has been retweeted across the world following the Paris terrorist attacks, and there is a reason why it moves us.  It echoes a poster message once displayed in the Chartres Cathedral: “Violence destroys, but only love creates life.”  It is a fitting response of a nation that has been the creative crucible for much of Western civilization.  Yet, however poignant its message, it is still a minority voice as the world proceeds with further policing, military planning, and viewing more violence as the only viable solution to the violence.  If we took a step back to analyze the true causes of violence—which are no longer a mystery—then we would be able to come up with more creative solutions that are capable of bringing about true change.  The growing international nature of this struggle makes it all the more critical that we respond intelligently, and we now have a good deal of knowledge to be able to do so.

Since the mid-1990’s, we have observed the evolution of an interesting field.  Since a 2002 World Health Organization publication by the name of The World Report on Violence and Health,[1] violence has been established as a worldwide public health problem rather than just a security and criminal justice issue.  This means that it has become a topic for research inquiry and not merely an object of reaction after the fact.  Since then, and perhaps for the first time in history, we have come to recognize that violence is not inevitable but preventable, and not random but predictable.

This is of interest to creativity scholars because the ultimate prevention of violence lies in creativity.  Although some have recently advocated looking at violence as in decline and thus less and less of a problem, it is more pertinent than ever to take measures to prevent violence rather than merely respond to it, for we now have the capacity.  In fact, one of the preconditions for preventing violence seems to be recognizing what violence is and acknowledging that it is a problem.  Thanks to the research of many disciplines and the burgeoning courses and degree programs around the world, knowledge about the nature, causes, and consequences of violence has been growing rapidly.  Furthermore, we have grown in awareness about what are the conditions that promote peace, how to channel energies toward productivity and creativity rather than violence, and how to implement peace-promoting just governance, as outlined in the recent United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.[2]  This is where cultivation in the arts can play a role, especially in the education of future leaders, for we have come to a place in history where what is lacking is not the resources to resolve the major problems of our day, which are mostly human-made.  Rather, it is resourcefulness, and scientific and intellectual knowledge has its limits in investigating the question of social justice, equitable living, and ultimately preservation of life on this planet.

In considering violence, there is an important technical point to be made: while behavioral violence (suicides, homicides, and collective violence) is responsible for 1.5 million deaths per year worldwide, structural violence (socioeconomic inequality, discrimination, and injustice) is responsible for 18 million deaths per year worldwide—more than tenfold of behavioral violence.  If in our considerations we left out structural violence, aptly termed for the real life-and-death difference it makes, not to mention being the more large-scale, enduring, and pernicious type of violence, we would be leaving out the big fish in our quest to reduce violence.

**Inequality and injustice not only result in more diseases, disabilities, and excess deaths for the disadvantaged, it is also the most potent cause of behavioral violence, giving rise to early and excess deaths even for those who are supposedly advantaged.  Are we surprised, then, that terrorism is springing up around the world at a time when structural violence—the gap between the rich and the poor within nations, as well as the gap between rich nations and poor nations—is increasing?  We can try to go after every terrorist attempt (which we cannot) and morph our approaches to match the tactics of new and insurgent groups, but unless we address the underlying pathology, we will never advance in reducing overall violence.

Central to conceptualizing violence is that it is an ecological problem, one that has roots not only in the individuals involved but in the family, community, and society in which they take part.  Even biological predispositions require the “right” social environment, which will determine which genes are expressed, and which brain circuits activated, to bring about the end event we call violence (“born criminals” seem to elude us, no matter how hard the best and the brightest have looked for them).  And even the most individual forms of violence, such as suicide, can be traced largely to social causes, as the wave of unemployment in the late 2000’s has shown.  Large-scale epidemics of violence, furthermore, can only be predicted at the societal level.  Violence rates thus become a barometer of the collective emotional health of a society, and we know well from the ebb and flow of civilization that high points of peace and creativity have been associated with a wealth of productivity in the arts.

It is time to think more creatively about the way we organize our world, and the paradigms that we bring.  Will we continue to resort to violence of our own, knowing that the growing threats of terrorist organizations have a direct link to our wars in their regions, as many researchers are discovering?  Or will we look at our collective violence, as a society, and rightly declare it a problem?  If so, we might search for more creative solutions than the vicious circle of reacting to violence with more violence of our own.  If so, we might consider collecting flowers and what they symbolize, for a change, so that we might at least stop increasing the symbolic power of violence.  If we were truly ready for the flowering of a new civilization, we would then develop our capacity for the art of judgment, prudence, empathy, and ethics, which consist of the true substance of power, as the legacy of Athens over Sparta demonstrates.  Violence prevention is possible, and there is reason for hope: the World Health Organization has encouraged governments and sometimes entire countries, for example, to implement violence prevention programs with measurable success—sometimes exceeding expectations both in terms of time taken and extent of the results.[3]  Large-scale prevention programs at the societal level, at the very least, can be expected to yield results, whereas chasing after each terrorist is labor-intensive and costly but may or may not be effective if a key individual or two are missed (or, as we have learned, replaced).

Shortly after the two World Wars, Hannah Arendt observed that power and violence are opposites.[4]  If we are to have a truly powerful response against terrorism, it would do well for the ruling world to regain its moral authority and ethical bearing, which through a general climate of social justice and good governance would naturally root it out.  Symbolic animals as human beings are, nothing motivates more powerfully than an inspiring vision, and that vision can be one of peace, justice, harmony, and collective emotional health, rather than its poor substitute.  There are reasons why the “War on Terror” we have waged in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other nations, at great cost, has served only to embolden terrorist groups and bolster their recruits.  Psychologically and symbolically speaking, it supports the mindset of viewing violence as a legitimate means of resolving problems, in a demonstration that “might makes right.”  Compared to that, the flowers of human civilization—with its accumulated knowledge and creativity—far from irrelevant, seems in all likelihood to be a more practical weapon as well.  At least a growing legion of violence scholars (and creativity scholars) will say so.







[1] Krug, E. G., Dahlberg, L. L., Mercy, J. A., Zwi, A. B., & Lozano, R. (2002).  World Report on Violence and Health.  Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.
[2] United Nations (2015).  Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  New York, NY: United Nations.
[3] World Health Organization, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, & United Nations Development Program (2014).  Global Status Report on Violence Prevention 2014.  Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.
[4] Arendt, H. (1970).  On Violence.  New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1970.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Psychiatry and my mother's story, A story of depression and the psychiatric nurse



Excerpt a personal story from keynote, "Living Stories of Hope and change:  The Challenge to Change" Cheryl L. McLean, Alberta Psychiatric Association 2014 Scientific Conference

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. 

I have some personal experience with this through my mother now 87, who had been the head nurse at a geriatric ward at our city psychiatric hospital (previous know as an asylum for the insane)  in Southwestern Ontario for over thirty years.  She started her career in geriatric care  as a nurse in 1952  and worked her way through the 50's, the  60's and 70's, through the days of  electroconvulsive therapies , lobotomy surgeries, insulin shock therapy,  strait jackets, restraints.  One of my mother's many assignments was to  dispense medications like tranquilizers and phenobarbital to 450 older patients twice daily on five wards.  Many of her geriatric patients lived out their later lives and died in hospital.  My mother was proud of her nursing job.  When I was a girl of  fourteen and thinking about nursing as a career myself she drove me to her hospital, turned off the main street, past the grassy fields  and up the long, shaded tree lined road and down the curved driveway leading to that big old building.  I met her patients.   They told me their stories.  Some were very interesting.   One nice lady said she was friends with a "gangster" named "Duninger"  who, she said,  went everywhere with her. 

Mom made sure she kept the staff and the ward together.  But there were serious troubles at home.  Mom worked late most nights and always took her work home with her, sitting at the kitchen table, draining the coffee pot, coughing and chain smoking Export A's while trying to get her time slips done, couldn't sleep at night, was  worried about how to cover for staff  when attendants said they were sick or took time off.  Then one day  she just stopped talking, wouldn't eat, went to her bedroom, turned off the lights and shut the door.  But somehow even through these  darkest of times she managed to get up in the morning at 5:00 a.m., get the car started in the dead of winter and  made it in ,on time,  to work. My mother, an attractive woman,  always concerned about her appearance, her hair, her makeup, was  meticulously, even obsessively neat.  We knew there was something terribly wrong when she started falling asleep at night in her uniform...  One sleepless night while fighting yet another migraine headache she cried out, "What's the use?"   Yes, she had her nursing friends,  but most of the time she tried to make it through these dark times alone.  Mom would never have admitted she had a mental health issue nor that was depressed.  You just didn't talk about those things.  She was a psychiatric nurse, and proud of it., she cared for patients with mental illness, consoled the families when their loved ones passed away, her staff came to her when they were depressed,  to solve their problems.  She was praised by the psychiatrists  for her meticulous attention to detail and  tireless  dedication to her job and her patients.   My mother wasn't just a nurse.  Nursing was my mother.  As I reflect now years later  I see that  my mother suffered with depression, the  classic DSM  indicators of major depressive disorder but she wasn't sick...she was fine.  It was her job to keep everything under control.   

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Commercials Assault the Senses in Battle to See Star Wars

Editor's Commentary
December 23, 2015


May the force get lost. My husband, son and I found ourselves fighting a battle with the load of endless commercials we were subjected to before the movie "Star Wars" at a local movie theatre. My guess would be about thirty of them plus trailers....an oppressive assault on the senses for a captive audience forced to sit through mind numbing booming, flashing ads, so visually explosive and painfully loud that when I looked around I saw people with their heads down and fingers... plugging their ears....waiting....hoping....wishing...for Star Wars to begin. Nobody would argue with the realities of commercialism and a reasonable five or six commercials and trailer or two before the show begins. But I would go so far as to say that such blatant force fed sensory abuse of a paying audience is undemocratic...even hurtful when we must fight the attack or try to block it out to survive in some kind of shape to attend to, watch and listen to the feature. If theatres are losing money maybe they should consider the sensory onslaught on paying customers who have made the decision to give up the comfort of their at home armchairs and relatively non-commercially invasive Netflix movies to pay good money to enter their movie theatre. People are not stupid...they deserve more, or should I say less. And this was not a generational thing...yes I was one of the people plugging my ears and closing my eyes to fight the deadly blasting commercials but I looked beside me and my young son was doing the same thing. He said to me, "Mom that's the way it always is these days, it's really bad, it gets to you...you can't hide from it." And after the show he commented, " I want to see the movie "The Revenant" at the end of the month, but after this...I've decided I'll watch it but it sure won't be at the theatre." The big theatres need to know we gave them our money and our attention, but there are alternatives. In the "artistic" realm of the movie theatre may the force of change be with us.


C.L. McLean

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Intersections of Research, Ethnodrama and Nutrition Education

 


Writing “Who Cares?” a preview ethnodrama about caregiving, feeding family, love and survival


Cheryl L. McLean M.A., Harrison McCain Visiting Scholar, Acadia University July – Sept. 2015


In November 2014 at The Power of the Arts National Conference in Ottawa, Dr. Catherine Morley, Assistant Professor in The School of Nutrition and Dietetics at Acadia University, approached me about writing an ethnodrama based on research about feeding aging family members.  Catherine Morley engages in research to raise awareness about the causes, prevention and management of malnutrition in aging Canadians and those living with dementia or changed health status.  In her research she hopes to reduce caregiver burden and the frequency and duration of hospitalization and institutionalization of older persons.


I had several reasons for agreeing to participate in the project.  Over the last ten years I have sought  to advance the creative arts in interdisciplinary research and practice while building a knowledge base supporting and informing professionals about the research and varied methodologies and how we work creatively across disciplines to offer hope for change and improve quality of life for individuals and communities.  I publish  The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice and had recently completed a third book, Creative Arts in Humane Medicine (McLean, 2014)  published by Brush Education, a text for medical educators, practitioners, students and others in the allied health professions to help demonstrate how the arts and research contribute toward a more caring and empathic approach to medicine.  In the years previous I had several opportunities to address audiences and work with students at Acadia and I had hoped to continue my working relationship with this leading Canadian liberal arts university.  I presented a keynote for the Arts Based Research Network, Acadia, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, A Pond of Interdisciplinary Opportunity, followed the next year by the course Problems in Education Research in Creativity (MEd Curriculum Studies) and a keynote for the Acadia School of Education Summer Institute,  Navigating the Tides of Challenge and Change through the Creative Arts in Education and Research.


I too had special interests in aging and health and I believed it was critical to address quality of life issues for caregivers and older persons. During my graduate research at Concordia University, Montreal  I worked as a therapist with an “over sixty”  mental health programme and had written and performed in the ethnodrama, Remember me for Birds, about aging, mental health and autonomy.  This script was based on two years of therapeutic work and research with older clients, including Holocaust survivors, and was performed across Canada for health organizations and universities, among them McGill Medical School.


I had previous experience in Canada advocating for creative arts in interdisciplinary practice in the field of dietetics and supporting progressive dietitians and educators who used the creative arts in their practices. The book Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change (McLean/Kelly, 2010) presented  a broad spectrum of examples of creative arts in research and practice. Two articles, Creative New Directions in Dietetics by Catherine Morley and Mapping Resiliency Building Bridges Toward Change an Experiential Arts-based Narrative Inquiry with Dietetics Professionals by Jacqui Gingras, Assistant Professor at the School of Nutrition at Ryerson University, and Jennifer Atkins a dietitian at Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services, presented varied arts based approaches in practice.  Later that year at the Dietitians of Canada National Conference in Montreal,  I presented with a panel about the creative arts across disciplines and implications for dietetics practice and performed a brief ethnodramatic monologue which shared a client’s memory around eating with family (his brother) and his current lived experience at the resident home.  During the break-out sessions I facilitated a well attended workshop using creative arts and drama methods with a group of dietitians drawing on the powerful image of the kitchen as a significant place to access meaningful connections through visualization and memory.  Participants wrote narratives based on this embodied and preparatory exercise which they performed for group witness and reflection.


About ethnodrama


Ethnodrama is a research based art form, a type of qualitative playwriting or performed research. Johnny Saldaña, Professor of Theatre at Arizona State University School of Theatre and Film, a leader in North America in this emerging genre, has described ethnotheatre as a form which “employs the traditional craft and artistic techniques of theatre to mount for an audience a live or mediated performance event of research participants’ experiences. The ethnodrama itself is the written play script consisting of dramatized significant selections of narrative which may be derived from interview transcripts, participant observation, field notes, journal entries, personal memories….” (Saldaña, 2011 pg. 13). Dr. Norman K. Denzin, one of the world’s most distinguished authorities on qualitative research writes, “Performance becomes public pedagogy when it uses the aesthetic, the performative, to foreground the intersections of politics, institutional sites and embodied experience.” (Denzin, 2003 pg. 9). Such “dramas” are unique in that they are an embodied way of performing research while artistically provoking change, presenting issues and, at the same time, questioning the status quo through story.


The process


For the script “Who Cares?”  content was very close to verbatim whether drawn from interview transcripts, video provided or from newspaper articles, journals or emails.  But moving from collected data or transcripts to a performed story or play requires a delicate and selective creative process.  Saldana writes  “Everyday life can be quite mundane, but it is also peppered with occasional moments of excitement, tension and conflict….one of the goals of an ethnodramatist is to take the actual words of a participant and adapt them into an economic form that has aesthetic shape. ” (Saldana, 2011 pgs. 69 -70) The most challenging job for the ethnodramatist as playwright is to sensitively work with and through data and lived experience seeking themes, metaphor and turning points, shaping the essential message, crafting a factual but emotional telling that is far beyond the practical goal to inform or transfer knowledge but rather to move an audience and ultimately inspire change.


Autobiographical poetry and original song lyrics were also included in this script inspired and based on personal narratives and end-of-life or food related lived experience. For the conclusion of the ethnodrama preview, Who Cares?  I wrote and performed, for example, an autobiographical poem/story written based on my own personal experience with my mother-in-law at the end of her life in hospital.


Two Eggs Soft Boiled


I wish she could have joined us for breakfast today, but it’s too late now,
too late to have visited her more often than I did,
too late for more meat pies, Syrian bread, fatias, Kibi
with pine nuts made especially for me,
made with love in her kitchen in the small house in Espanola
so small could barely fit a table.
I remember my mother-in-law, Frances, in her hospital room
nearly time for brain surgery,
neuroblastoma cancerous, another tumour, about the size of a walnut.
She was 87 years old.
I am standing next to Frances
they are preparing her gurney,
the one that will wheel her down the hall
in a very short time,
up to the elevator that will take her to the operating room.
I don’t know what to say.
I know she always loved her food
as much as she enjoyed sharing it with us.
Afraid for her now
and afraid for me,
it’s her third cancer operation,
a warrior
double mastectomy at thirty-two,
two small children at home
two breasts removed
months of radiation and surgery
battled a reoccurrence, bowel cancer
and now this, this, brain cancer.


“You’ll be back for breakfast tomorrow morning,” I say.
“Yeah?” She turns to look at me. “What will we be having?”
“Eggs and toast with wild blueberry jam, the good jam.”
“Yes the good jam,” she smiles.
“Eggs how do you want them?” I ask.
“Boiled, make them boiled.”
“White or brown toast?” I ask.
She looks up at me.
“Brown.”
The attendants crank up the bed, ready to transfer her to the gurney.
“Keep talking, oh keep talking, don’t stop. It’s helping,” she says.
“Oh the toast,” I say, “it’s good with butter and lots of jam, lots not just a little
and the eggs, we don’t want to overcook them.”
They are lifting her body and moving her now on to the gurney,
lying there, they are wheeling her toward the elevator.
I am standing outside the hospital room
turned toward the elevator, one last look, good bye.
The elevator doors open and they wheel her in and before I turn to go…
she leans forward, raises her hand, puts up two fingers and calls out
“Remember two eggs…soft boiled.”


Two eggs soft boiled.
Egg, symbol of nurturing, rebirth, hope
and resurrection.
This her last thought she might return
to join us for breakfast in the morning.
It will never be too late
to remember her,
the meaning of her life
the love food provides.
To give thanks here at this table
for the gifts she gave,
her loving generous presence
and these two eggs, soft boiled.


C.L. McLean excerpt from the script “Who Cares” 2015.
 
The script (40 pgs.) for the preview ethnodrama, “Who Cares?” was written in August 2015 and the 50 minute preview show, we referred to as “a taste of”,  took place September 23 at the Lower Denton Theatre, Acadia University.  In the audience were faculty members, physicians, spiritual care workers, dietitians, caregivers, students and community members.


The roles for the ethnodrama preview “Who Cares?” were played by skilled actors with considerable performing experience adding to the quality of the overall production and the authenticity of the performances. Paula Rockwell a graduate of the University of Toronto is an experienced and multi talented performer and vocalist who has worked with the Canadian Opera Company and  teaches Voice, Diction for Singers, Scene Studies and The Singing Actor at Acadia.  She joined the production as an actor and cast member and also composed music for an original song providing expert vocals and keyboard accompaniment for music in this ethnodrama.   Robert Seale offered a touching and deeply sensitive portrayal of a caregiving husband to a wife with Alzheimer’s Disease.   Associate Professor in the Theatre Department, he is a graduate of the National Theatre School in Montreal and has appeared in over 150 leading roles in the major theatres across Canada, and in the U.S.   I also joined the cast as an actor and the director of “Who Cares?”


Our  preview based on research addressed challenges unpaid caregivers face each day to care for their family members, from assisting and feeding a spouse with Alzheimer’s Disease, advocating for food choice at end of life,  providing for those in need balanced with the dynamics of the personal relationship and attending to a family member who is dying.  The title Who Cares? referred to those who do care, the caregivers themselves and their stories, and also challenged the prevailing cultural notions and policies regarding the aged and those (often family) feeding and supporting older persons in need. It was through these stories, these true and dramatized accounts of caregiving experience, that those unrecognized , frequently “invisible” and marginalized in their unpaid work became visible. The title also raised other questions, Who should care? How can we democratically come together in the hopes of bringing about change which could affect quality of life for those in our care today and others who will surely need care in the future? The purpose was not to  provide a recipe for change nor to dictate the methodologies for transformation but rather to begin to illuminate true stories and create spaces for possibility, innovation and critical thinking that may, even in this early phase of development, lead to eventual change and solutions around caregiving and feeding family that could ultimately improve health and quality of life for caregivers and older Canadians.


Cheryl L. McLean   is a leading international contributor to the field of creative arts in interdisciplinary practice (CAIP) and founder and publisher of The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice (IJCAIP) http://www.ijcaip.com and has edited the research books Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change and Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice (Brush Education, Edmonton). She is also an educator and ethnodramatist who has presented widely as a keynote speaker at universities, medical schools and health organizations across Canada.  She worked as a Visiting Scholar at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, between July and September 2015.
http://www.cherylmclean.com
___________________________________________________


 References


Denzin N.K. (2003). Performance ethnography, critical pedagogy and the politics of culture.  (pg. 9), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
McLean, C.L. (2014). Creative arts in humane medicine, Edmonton: Brush Education Inc.
McLean, C.L., Kelly, R. (2010). Creative arts in interdisciplinary practice inquiries for hope and change. Calgary: Detselig Enterprises.
McLean, C.L. (2015). Who Cares?  An ethnodrama preview script, research based true stories of caregiving, feeding family, love and survival, (script pg. 32 – 36 ) performed Sept. 23, 2015 Lower Denton Theatre, Acadia University.
Saldaña, J. (2011). Ethnotheatre research from page to stage, (pg 13), CA: Left Coast Press.
Saldaña, J.(2011).   Ethnotheatre research from page to stage, (pg. 69 – 70), CA: Left Coast Press.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Advancing the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Research and Practice (new article) August 2015

The Advancement of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice
CHERYL L. MCLEAN


(published August 2015, Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Taylor and Francis)


My perspective on the creative arts in interdisciplinary practice (CAIP) has been shaped by a hybrid practice as a publisher, educator, writer, researcher and performer. These pursuits have helped advance the field, creating a third space for interdisciplinary learning and knowledge exchange as well as a place for cross disciplinary dialogue and inquiry.


As publisher of The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice (http://www.ijcaip.com) and editor of the research texts Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change (McLean &Kelly, 2010), Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change (McLean & Kelly, 2011), and Creative Arts in Humane Medicine (McLean, 2014a), I have sought to promote the arts in interdisciplinary contexts while informing professionals across disciplinary borders about our methodologies. One example is an article published in the book Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change (McLean & Kelly, 2011) written by B. Stephen Carpenter II, professor of art education in the Penn State School of Visual Arts. Carpenter (2011) worked with the TAMU Water Project at Texas A&M University to create ceramic water filters in participatory pedagogical research informed by visual art, education, civil engineering, sociology, anthropology and community development. Another example by Andre Smith (2014), associate professor of sociology, University of Victoria, in the book Creative Arts in Humane Medicine (McLean, 2014) explains an innovative pedagogical approach for end-of-life health care providers to help teach empathy to medical students through role play and fabric art.


Our research books have been reviewed by leading practitioners outside traditional arts education circles. A recent review by Vincent Hanlon (2015) published in The Canadian Medical Association Journal of the book Creative Arts in Humane Medicine (McLean, 2014a) acknowledged the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration and the gifted voices represented from medicine and the humanities which show physicians different paths to the future.


As arts educators and practitioners we can uniquely share our methods across disciplines and re-illuminate and embody lived experience through the visual arts or through hybrid forms such as social science and drama to help even the most experienced professionals see again in a new light fulfilling the mission of art as Kahlil Gibran (1966) describes, “to bring out the unfamiliar from the most familiar.” (KG-P-100) I (McLean, 2014b) have written and performed stories of lived experience for mental health professionals based on research and the lives of older persons living in residential homes in Montreal, to actively demonstrate ethnodrama as an educational research method while stressing the importance of understanding and empathizing with lived human experience as it relates to depression.


I have been influenced by diverse fields and approaches, among them arts based educational research (Eisner, 1972), performative social sciences (Denzin, 2003), ethnodrama (Saldaña, 2005), and realism and acting methodologies (Stanislavski, 1961) as well as by pioneers in the growing field of narrative medicine (Charon, 2008). Many leading educators and practitioners have converged around our publishing projects and interests in CAIP. Exchanging knowledge with leaders from varied interdisciplinary cultures is a rich and creative third space for learning as we envision together new ways for our creative work to positively impact individuals and communities. It is as Eisner (1981) suggests, a question of seeing with the mutual benefits the arts and interdisciplinarity provide: “It is to the artistic to which we must turn, not as a rejection of the scientific, but because with both we can achieve binocular vision. Looking through one eye never did provide much depth of field.” (pg. 9).


CONTRIBUTOR
Cheryl L. McLean M.A. is Publisher of The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice (http://www.ijcaip.com) and Editor, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice Inquiries for Hope and Change, Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change and Creative Arts in Humane Medicine (Brush Education, Edmonton) Cheryl has taught Problems in Education Research in Creativity (M.Ed. Curriculum Studies) and was recently awarded a Harrison McCain Visiting Professorship grant. She is a Visiting Scholar at Acadia University Nova Scotia and is currently writing and directing the new ethnodrama “Who Cares” about caregiving, feeding relatives, love and survival.


REFERENCES
Carpenter, B.S. (2011). Re/Searching for clean water: Artists, community workers and engineers in partnership for positive community change. In C.L. McLean & R. Kelly (Eds.) Creative arts in research for community and cultural change (pp. 41 – 64). Calgary: Detselig Enterprises.
Charon, R. (2008). Narrative medicine honoring the stories of illness. New York: Oxford University Press.
Denzin N.K. (2003). Performance ethnography, critical pedagogy and the politics of culture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Eisner E. (1972). Educating artistic vision. New York: Macmillan.
Eisner, E. (1981). On the difference between scientific and artistic approaches to qualitative research, Educational Researcher. 10(4), (pg. 9).
Gibran, K. (1966). The wisdom of Gibran. New York: Philosophical Library.
Hanlon, V. (2015). Book review: A place for humanities in medical education, Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ Feb. 2015, DOI: 10. 1503/cmaj.1405.32.
McLean, C.L. (2014a). Creative arts in humane medicine, Edmonton: Brush Education Inc.
McLean, C.L. (2014b, April 11). Living stories for hope and change. Alberta Medical Association, Edmonton, Alberta, retrieved from: https://www.albertadoctors.org/4899.aspx
McLean, C.L., Kelly, R. (2010). Creative arts in interdisciplinary practice inquiries for hope and change. Calgary: Detselig Enterprises.
McLean, C.L., Kelly, R. (2011). Creative arts in research for community and cultural change. Calgary: Detselig Enterprises.
Saldaña, J. (2005). Ethnodrama: An anthology of reality theatre. Walnut Creek. CA: AltaMira Press.
Smith A. (2014). Teaching empathy through role play and fabric art: An innovative pedagogical approach for end-of-life health care providers. In C.L. McLean (Ed.), Creative arts in humane medicine, (pp.1 – 23). Edmonton: Brush Education Inc.
Stanislavski, C. (1961). Creating a role. New York: Theatre Arts.