Thursday, December 13, 2007

Creative Responses to Death and Bereavement , University of Western Ontario, Registration for Spring 08

Creative Responses to Death and Bereavement

University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario
May, 2008

Cheryl McLean

Plans are currently underway to offer the University of Western Ontario course "Creative Responses to Death and Bereavement" on line by May 08 through University of Western Ontario, Continuing Studies. I will be working with UWO helping to adapt new programming and materials for the on line WEB CT OWL version of the program so that the course will be widely accessible and interactive for registrants who frequently include nurse educators, therapists, teachers, social workers, those working in aging and health, caregivers and others with an interest in bereavement counselling and education. Professionals will have an opportunity to learn about the interplay of the arts such as writing, narrative, drama, poetry and ritual in death and bereavement work.

I will also be available to teach the "in class" Creative Responses to Death and Bereavement course which will be offered at King's University College, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Monday evenings starting in early May and running to July from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Register before March l, 2008. This course will be offered as part of the "Grief and Bereavement Studies" program at The University of Western Ontario.

Application deadline: March 1, 2008

For full program details see:
See green bottom rt. sidebar "Grief and Bereavement"

Other information:

King's University College Centre for Education about Grief and Bereavement, UWO

See video clips #1 C. McLean, Introduction, Creative Arts in Bereavement
Presentation, King's University College, University of Western Ontario

video clip #2 Arts approaches in health, training and education gaining momentum, King's University College, University of Western Ontario

"The study of death is truly life enhancing."
Dr. John (Jack) Morgan

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Choral Singing Beneficial for Body and Soul

Cheryl McLean

It's been reported in research that choral singing is beneficial for both body and soul.

In one study, a health educator and music professor teamed up for a study published in England’s Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, in which they reported choral singing promoted not just physical health, but offered emotional and spiritual benefits as well. Using their own choir as a basis for their study, Dr. Stephen Clift and Grenville Hancox developed questionnaires to document physical and emotional feelings while singing. Singers reported improved lung capacity, high energy, relieved asthma, better posture, and enhanced feelings of relaxation, mood, and confidence. In a follow-up questionnaire, 89 percent of the singers reported intense happiness while singing, 79 percent felt less stressed, and 75 percent experienced heightened adrenaline and wakefulness.

From Chorus America

Music today is playing an increasingly important role in many professional education programs. Dalhousie University Medical School, for example, has several performing choirs and choral groups.

Excerpt below from the website at

"medical students, physicians, professors, alumni and friends of the medical school are united by a common love of music and a desire to make our medical lives a little more rewarding, our grand adventure in life-long learning a little lighter, and the community in which we live, work and study a little better for our efforts. ....up to 25% of medical students in the first three years of their undergraduate medical training are registered in one of these performance groups. In addition, we have members who work in the fields of medical education, endocrinology, general surgery, paediatrics, orthopaedics, obstetrics and gynaecology, emergency medicine, biochemistry, ENT, pathology, family medicine, and laboratory sciences."

It's not surprising that more medical schools and schools of business are incorporating music into their professional programs. Choral singing is a highly disciplined and creative team activity. Harmonizing with others in community fills the heart with a renewed sense of promise and optimism. In the rehearsal hall every voice offers something invaluable to the whole. Simply put, singing is good for the soul.

P.S. I know of what I speak. It had been a very busy year at the office here and we had experienced a major move. With deadlines looming and changes underway I was feeling I needed a positive outlet for my "nervous" energy. I joined The Canadian Celtic Choir this September.


"If I cannot fly,
Let me sing. "

STEPHEN SONDHEIM from "Sweeney Todd"

Other related posts: "Jazz Brings Creativity to Business"

Music, Medicine and Arts/video

Front row seats at Youtube

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Graduate Studies, Drama, University of Toronto Applications

Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, MA & PhD Programs 2008/09‏

The Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, University of Toronto, is currently accepting applications for both the M.A. and Ph.D for 2008/2009.

Deadline for applications is February 1, 2008

The programs comprise of courses given within the Centre and drama courses offered by other graduate units. Their intent is to further the academic study of drama and theatre at an advanced level in the fields of theatre history and historiography, dramatic theory, and dramaturgy.

Within these parameters, the Centre supports research in such areas as performance theory and analysis; feminist theatre; and Canadian, American and post-colonial drama and theatre.

Theatre practice is an integral part of graduate work in the Centre and takes place, for the most part, in the context of workshops and productions at the Robert Gill and Studio Theatres.

For more information on the programs visit the website at:

While on the subject of theatre, drama and research I would like to inform blog visitors the deadline for proposals for papers or panels to be presented at the 2008 conference of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR), taking place at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, May 31-June 3, has been extended to December 15.

Send proposals to Jerry Wasserman, Conference Chair, at
Papers may be on any subject involving theatre or performance but Canadian topics will be given some priority. Graduate students are encouraged to submit proposals.
Note that all presenters must be members of CATR (Canadian Association for Theatre Research)

Jazz Brings Creativity to Business

Photo George Laidlaw on sax plays with his jazz band for students at UWO's Ivey School of Business (MORRIS LAMONT/Sun Media)

Fostering Creativity with Jazz in the Business School
The Business of Creativity and All That’s Jazz
"...welcome to the future of business -- where an ability to innovate and improvise is deemed as valuable as an ability to understand double-entry bookkeeping." Ian Gillespie, London Free Press

Today we are seeing the arts in many forms applied across disciplines in health, education and in business to help offer new forms of communication and self expression as well as fostering and inspiring experimentation and innovative thinking.
There was an interesting article in the Wednesday, December 5, "London Free Press" written by Ian Gillespie, reporting on a progressive new seminar held recently at The Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.

This jazz/business session offered a new approach to fostering creativity and learning about improvisation, adaptability and flexibility in life and work with help from The George Laidlaw Quartet... Bob Hughes, on drums, George Laidlaw saxophonist, Alan Ogborne, pianist and John Griffiths, bassist. The musicians performed and talked about jazz and its connections to creative business thinking in a session for about 100 graduate students

“These students know how to do process and structure. What they need to add is the capability to adapt and be ok with the challenge of not knowing where they are going.”
Michael Sider, Assistant Professor, Ivey Business School.

"Never play a thing the same way twice."- Louis Armstrong

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ethnographic Narratives, Call for Manuscripts

Narratives sought for series:


Series Editors:Arthur P. Bochner and Carolyn Ellis (University of South Florida)

"Writing Lives: Ethnographic Narratives" publishes narrative representations of qualitative research projects. The series editors seek manuscripts that blur the boundaries between humanities and social sciences. We encourage novel and evocative forms of expressing concrete lived experience, including autoethnographic, literary, poetic, artistic, visual, performative, critical, multi-voiced, conversational, and co-constructed representations. We are interested in ethnographic narratives that depict local stories; employ literary modes of scene setting, dialogue, character development, and unfolding action; and include the author's critical reflections on the research and writing process, such as research ethics, alternative modes of inquiry and representation, reflexivity, and evocative storytelling.

Proposals and manuscripts should be directed to

See Left Coast Press

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tonight In My Blues Travels

Every so often I like to share work from a featured artist on the "Crossing Borders" blog. Tonight, in my blues travels, I had an opportunity to hear gifted singer, songwriter, Ruthie Foster. For those who love the music, I invite you to listen to "The Travelling Shoes"....

Front row seats at Youtube :

For more about Ruthy Foster and her music:

Friday, November 23, 2007

World AIDS Day Commemoration, University of Toronto

Arts, original performances featured on evening's programme
University of Toronto World AIDS Day Commemoration
The Centre for International Health, Faculty of Medicine

Friday November 30, 2007, 7:00 p.m.

Toronto, Ontario

the Great Hall of Hart House

7 Hart House Circle


Introduction: Pavan Gill (HIV/AIDS Student Committee Chair, UTIHP)
David Zakus (Director, Centre for International Health, Faculty of Medicine)
Aaron Yarmoshuk (Director, HIV/AIDS Initiative-Africa, Centre for International Health)
David McKnight (Associate Dean, Equity and Professionalism, Faculty of Medicine)
Brodie Ramin (Student, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto)

Music, Dance, Performances, Opera

Among the performances for the evening:

Henri-Paul Sicsic, pianist; Kwasi Dunyo, percussionist

Contemporary Dance created for World AIDS Day 2007

by Faculty of Medicine students

An African Bell Song, conducted by Greg Samek

Ladom Ensemble, piano, cello, accordian and percussion

and "We Shall Overcome", an original operatic work

This is a free event! Information and RSVP to or (416) 946-7962.
For more WAD events programmes visit

More info at:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Public Health and Social Justice New Website Offers Accessible Articles, Slide Shows, Resources

From Martin Donohoe MD, FACP:

I have recently developed a website covering public health and social justice, which can be found at or at

This website contains articles, slide shows, syllabi, and other documents relevant to topics in public health and social justice. References for most of the information contained in the slide shows can be found in the accompanying articles. Presentations will be updated a few times per year.

The site is aimed at students, educators, and the general public. It grew out of my recognition that medical, and even nursing and public health schools tend to inadequately address the social, economic, environmental, human rights, and cultural contributors to health and disease. Some of the content focuses on the medical humanities and the history of medicine, long-standing passions of mine.

Feel free to use information from the articles and slide shows, indeed even the slides themselves, with appropriate citation. It is my hope that this information can be disseminated widely, influencing current and future generations of health professionals and others concerned about creating a more just and peaceful world.

I am hoping to add other syllabi and articles from the many talented individuals working in this area. Please email me any articles and/or slide shows you would be willing to share, along with comments, corrections, and suggestions re my content.

My goal is to create an on-line clearinghouse for information and curricular materials re public health and social justice, and eventually to develop an annual, week-long colloquium/training, run by experts in their fields, for health professionals, students, and others interested in becoming social justice advocates.

Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP

We were pleased to receive this general notice from Dr. Martin Donohoe who tells us he enjoys reading the CCAHTE Journal and has recommended it to colleagues.

Martin Donohoe MD, FACP is an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Community Health at Portland State University and a hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Hospital. He serves on the Board of Advisors of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and is Chief Scientific Advisor to Oregon PSR’s Campaign for Safe Foods.

His site is comprehensive and well designed, a generous sharing of information and knowledge about critical health and social issues such as pharmaceutical ethics, physician drug testing, food safety, homelessness, homosexuality and human rights. Accessible slides, presentations, articles...

Highly recommended, check out the website at


Conference Listings 2008

I thought it might be helpful to list just a few of the events and conferences that may be of interest upcoming in 2008. You can find out more details about each event with links by doing a search at the top of this blog "conferences" or by scrolling down to the labels listing and clicking on "conferences".

American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference
March 24 - March 28
New York

Narrative Matters "Storying Our World"
May 7 - 10
Toronto, Ontario

Fourth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry
May 14 - 17
University of Illinois
Urbana Champaign

2008 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences
May 31- June 8
Vancouver, British Columbia

IABA International Auto/Biography Association
June 23 - 26
Honolulu, Hawaii

Sunday, November 18, 2007

2008 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Vancouver, British Columbia

May 31 - June 8, 2008
Thinking Beyond Borders...Global Ideas, Global Values

The 2008 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Canada’s largest multi-disciplinary academic meeting, will be held at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver. This major national event – a congress of about 70 conferences – will be held May 31st to June 8th, 2008. This nine day event is expected to attract over 8,000 delegates.
Congress is hosted by a Canadian university in co-operation with the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences, an umbrella organization of 66 scholarly associations and 69 universities and colleges and comprising more than 50,000 scholars, students and practitioners across Cananda.

For those interested in humanities, social sciences, qualitative research this is a conference that shouldn't be missed.

See the website:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Concordia University Research Records Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War

Life Story in Research
Concordia University, Montreal, P.Q.
Life Story Research Uses Oral History to Record Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide and Other Human Rights Violations

Montrealers who have come from areas of violent conflict will be able to record their stories and have them preserved through a five-year, $ 1-million project funded by a national program called CURA, the Community-University Research Alliances.

This is Concordia University's first CURA project, and has the potential to promote healing in divided communities and a greater understanding of the impact human rights violations have on the lives of those affected.

Steven High will serve as principal investigator for the project. It will be housed in the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling which High was instrumental in creating.

Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide and Other Human Rights Violations developed as a way to build on the History Department’s strengths in oral history and genocide studies through Frank Chalk’s Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies.



"Like most urban centers in Canada, Montreal has a large, diverse immigrant population. In 2001, 25% of the city’s residents were foreign-born. Yet one distinguishing feature of Montreal as an urban community is that a significant proportion of its immigrant population is composed of people displaced by mass violence, ranging from the Holocaust to war and atrocity crime in Rwanda, Cambodia, Latin America, Haiti, and South Asia. Our proposed CURA project, Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide, and other Human Rights Violations, will use the methodology of oral history to explore survivors’ experiences and social memories of trauma and displacement. By conducting life story interviews with 1000 residents the project will examine how horrific events in other parts of the world have shaped the lives of individuals and refugee communities in Montreal. This project will make a significant, original contribution to the preservation of historical memory in Canada both with respect to transnational and local community contexts and realities."

See More about Project Description and Details:

Monday, November 12, 2007

Open Medicine Benefit November 21, 2007, Toronto

It is our pleasure to invite you to a benefit evening for Open Medicine, Canada's new peer-reviewed open-access general medical journal. Open Medicine was launched in April 2007 by a group of volunteer medical doctors and editors who wished to set a new standard for independence and access to medical research.
On NOVEMBER 21, 2007, we will be celebrating the journal's remarkable success to date and raising awareness and support for this bold initiative.
Please join Open Medicine for


TIME: 8:00 - 11:00 PM

LOCATION: The Common Room, Massey College, 4 Devonshire Place, Toronto

COST: $25

Dr. Richard Smith, former Editor-in-Chief of the British Medical Journal and author of The Trouble with Medical Journals (2006) will be in attendance, as will Open Medicine's Editorial Team, Editorial Board and Board of Directors. There be live music featuring Tony and the Hegemones, including band member John Willinsky, Open Medicine's publisher and a prominent open-access advocate.
Registration is required.
Please visit: or contact Lindsay Borthwick at 416-534-5562;
A Conversation with Dr. Richard Smith. Hosted by Dr. John Hoey, a founding editor of Open Medicine and former Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
TIME: 6:30 pm (sharp)

LOCATION: George Ignatieff Theatre, Trinity College, 15 Devonshire Place, Toronto

COST: Free Registration is required.

We would sincerely appreciate your attendance in support of Open Medicine and its efforts to advance medical publishing. Tax-deductible donations will also be welcomed.
Best regards,Anita Palepu, MD, MPH, FRCPC
Stephen Choi, MD, FRCPC Co-editors, Open Medicine
More News at Open Medicine website:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Global Health the Theme for New Open Medicine Issue

Up Close and Personal

Global Theme Issue

Open Medicine: A Peer Reviewed Independent Open Access Journal

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Graduate Centre for Study in Drama, University of Toronto, Festival of Original Theatre

Call for Papers, Performances, and Workshops FOOT (Festival of Original Theatre)

(En)gendering Performance: Feminism(s) in Representation

February 28-March 1, 2008

The Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, University of Toronto
The Graduate Centre for Study of Drama at the University of Toronto is pleased to announce our annual student-run conference and festival, the Festival of Original Theatre (FOOT), running from February 28 to March 1, 2008 at the Drama Centre. Scholars and artists are invited to submit proposals for papers, performances and workshops for this year's theme,
(En)gendering Performance: Feminism(s) in Representation.
Possible topics might include: feminist performance theory. feminist performance/artistic strategies, representations of gender in theatre, film, art, or dance, feminist approaches to historiographic representation, feminist dramatic/art/dance criticism..
Please submit a 300 word proposal to by Sunday, November 25 , 2008.

Monday, October 29, 2007

American Education Research Association (AERA) launches new Arts Based Educational Research Site

ABER (Arts Based Educational Research) , a group within The American Educational Research Association (AERA) has recently launched a new site for those interested in arts research and education. The site will offer visitors resources and information and a place to connect with other artists, researchers and educators. Yet another important indication of the worldwide movement in arts research!

Congratulations to ABER for this excellent new initiative.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stories by William Carlos Williams featured in Reader's Theatre
Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine Program

Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta

Medical Readers’ Theater promotes discussion of issues related to the doctor/ patient relationship, and social, ethical, and other humanities-based aspects of medicine.

Upcoming Performance:

A Face of Stone
By William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

Cast of Characters:
Narrator: Dr. Lisa Steblecki
Doctor: Dr. Ron Damant
Man: Peter Gill (Med 2010)
Woman: Sangeeta Jain (Class 2010)

Discussion Leader:
Dr. Verna Yiu

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
4:00 – 5:00 pm
Classroom D, 2F1.04 WMC

All are welcome!!!!

William Carlos Williams, a world-renowned poet (many will know his famous poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow"), also practiced medicine for 50 years among the working-class citizens of Rutherford, New Jersey, and wrote a number of short stories that used his experience in medicine to explore the lives of physicians and their patients. In this play a physician takes an instant dislike to a young immigrant couple who bring their infant to the office for a checkup. The story tracks the evolution of this initially poor physician/ patient relationship.
Many thanks to Todd L. Savitt, author of "Medical Readers' Theatre: A Guide and Scripts," for sharing his experiences of coordinating the East Carolina University's Medical Readers' Theatre Program with us.

Pamela Brett-MacLean, PhD
Co-Director, Arts & Humanities in Health & Medicine Program
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry,
2-74 Zeidler Ledcor CentreEdmonton, AB Canada T6G 2X8Tel: (780) 492-0980 / Fax: (780) 492-5487 / Cell: (780) 708-3133

... we need the arts to "absorb the new knowledge of the sciences and assimilate it to human needs, color it with human passions, transform it into the blood and bone of human nature." (... from Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Defense of Poetry")

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Illinois Qualitative Dissertation Award


*DEADLINE: February 1, 2008

The International Center for Qualitative Inquiry is pleased to announce the second annual Illinois Qualitative Dissertation Award, for excellence in qualitative research in a doctoral dissertation. Eligible dissertations will use and advance qualitative methods to investigate any topic. Applications for the award will be judged by the following criteria: clarity of writing; willingness to experiment with new and traditional writing forms; advocacy,promotion, development, and use of qualitative research methodologies and practices in new fields of study, and in policy arenas involving issues of social justice. For more information, please visit our website:

*Note: The award will be given at The Fourth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (QI2008), which is now accepting abstracts. Please


for info about:

The Fourth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (QI2008)
"Ethics, Evidence and Social Justice"

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

May 14-17, 2008.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Homeless Woman Have a Voice with Community Based Research Project by Dr.Izumi Sakamoto, University of Toronto

"Community-Based Participatory Research using Arts:
"Coming Together": Homeless Women, Housing and Social Support"

Dr. Izumi Sakamoto, Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto

Date: November 8th (1:15pm - 2:45pm)

Location: Bahen Centre, University of Toronto: Room B024 (40 St. George Street, immediately south of Russell Street)
'Coming Together: Homeless Women, Housing and Social Support ', is a community-based research project by the University of Toronto, Regent Park Community Health Centre, and Sistering - A Woman's Place, which explored how women and transwomen build support networks with each other when housing is the issue . With the help of the advisory board consisting of women/transwomen who experienced homelessness, women/transwomen at four drop-in centres created scenes depicting their own visions of inclusion, friendship and safe space through painting, theatre and photography ("staged photography"). Various methods have been used to disseminate the study findings and the evaluation of the project is under way. The challenges and rewards of conducting university-community collaborative research will be discussed.
Izumi Sakamoto is assistant professor of social work at the University of Toronto. A former Fulbright Scholar, she received MSW, MS (Psychology) and Ph.D. (Social Work & Psychology) from University of Michigan and BA and MA from Sophia University, Japan. Dr. Sakamoto's current program of research focuses on the intersecting oppressions, self-advocacy, and empowerment communities such as immigrants, homeless women/transwomen, and people of colour in local, international and transnational contexts. She has experiences in community-based research, arts-based research, qualitative research and mixed-method research. She has held research grants from the Social Science & Humanities Research Council, Wellesley Institute, and Centre for Excellence in Research on Immigration and Settlement -Toronto(CERIS), among others. Free, all are welcome, please RSVP to

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Books by Canadian Writers Pat Capponi, Yvonne Trainer

Great books

I want to direct you to some excellent reading that may be of interest....

I recently read a very powerful and provocative book on mental health.... "Beyond the Crazy House" the Changing Future of Madness by writer, Pat Capponi from Toronto. I found this book to be direct, honest and deeply wise. Capponi proves through her accounts, personal histories and intimate reports that there is a critical need for change but, beyond the many challenges there can be hope, life and dignity "Beyond the Crazy House"...a home, a job and a friend. This book is written by a great teacher as well as a sensitive leader who is helping to "change the future of madness" in Canada and beyond.

Read an excerpt from "Beyond the Crazy House" at,,0_9780141005102,00.html?sym=EXC

"As for me, on most days I'm filled with a deep sense of pride and shared accomplishment. We are survivors, and more than just survivors: we are groundbreakers and role models and teachers and leaders. and though there remains much to do, much to fight, much to plan, we have made a tremendous start, for ourselves and for others. Madness will never be the same."
Pat Capponi

Another excellent book, a collection of poems about an unforgettable First Nations cowboy,

Tom Three Persons A Multimedia Poetry Sequence
by Yvonne Trainer Ph.D.

I also had an opportunity recently to read the poetry collection "Tom Three Persons", described as "a postmodern poem", a multimedia poetry sequence and a work of Prairie Realism. Written by Yvonne Trainer Ph.D., this book of found poems is well researched and based on archival material and historical accounts and deals with the life of "Tom Three Persons" a Blood and bronco rider from the Standoff Reserve in Alberta who won the Calgary Stampede championship in 1912 on a horse named "Cyclone"...the horse that 126 other cowboys had not been able to ride.

The poems were originally delivered as a 30 minute recitation (performance). I found
the book moving visually as well as a postmodern collection with photos (black and white) to create the feel of a poetic documentary. Yvonne creates in this unique work a "living" and intimate voice that seems to take us deeper and more inward with each poem and reading. It is revealing and honest writing and tells through action about the high points and many challenges Tom faced during his successful rodeo career while also sharing insights about the history, the man and the times.

For more about this book and Yvonne Trainer's poetry

and news....

In addition to her work as a scholar, professor and poet, Yvonne has been working all summer and into Fall to help launch a new site for book lovers. It includes a Book Club, Book discussions, a Weekly Featured Writer (mainly poets) and a Women Who Love to Read Project, plus blogs about books and writers. New features will appear weekly on the site.


Performing Stories About Aging, Mental Health and Autonomy

Cheryl McLean ,Editor, Publisher, International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP
Editor, "Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change"

With a degree in the Social Sciences from The University of Western Ontario, London, Cheryl McLean worked for close to twenty years in publishing, corporate communications and adult education. She also had an ongoing interest in the performing arts producing and directing regional theatre in Ontario. Returning to graduate school at Concordia University, Montreal, she worked for two years (01 - 03) as a researcher and group therapist conducting group sessions with older persons at Maimonides Geriatric Hospital and The Rene Cassin Institute of Social Gerontology of Quebec "Over 60 Mental Health Program".

To help raise awareness about issues related to aging, mental health and autonomy, as her thesis presentation, she wrote and acted in a one woman performance called "Remember Me for Birds" based on this research and these experiences.

This work in its early stages had been influenced in field work by therapeutic approaches drawing from theoretical models and techniques utilized in current approaches in drama and expressive group work and drama therapy (Current Approaches in Drama Therapy, 2000), theatre for social change, Augusto Boal, (Theatre of the Oppressed) drama with special populations..realism and Stanislavski influenced acting approaches while working in projects for two years under the direction of Dr. Muriel Gold (Therapy Through Drama: The Fictional Family,2000) and, later, qualitative/narrative and performative approaches, writings by Dr. Norman K. Denzin, (Performance Ethnography, Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Culture, 2003) and developments in the emerging playwriting and research performance genre, ethnodrama, Johnny Saldana, (Ethnodrama An Anthology of Reality Theatre, 2005).

Working with her Jewish clients, some of them Holocaust survivors, Cheryl had an opportunity to help individuals express their stories (through storytelling, poetry, enactments, other dramatic and expressive methods as well as through one on one interviews). These accounts became the basis for a performance script as did transcripts, oral histories, witness accounts, historical material, topical news stories and current events taking place in Montreal at the time. ( The real names of participants were not used, nor were locations mentioned. In some cases compilation characters were created to protect identities but the authenticity of the stories remained.)

"There is a paternalism with regard to "the elderly" (older persons). This often results in their autonomy being assumed to be less than it is or taken away against their will. I learned I am inappropriately detached from people. I attended because I was curious and I am glad I came. I learned about others but it (the performance) taught me about myself." Researcher, Elder Abuse

The original 30 minute performance was directed by Dr. Muriel Gold , formerly Artistic Director of the Saidye Bronfman Theatre, Montreal. Cheryl had a special opportunity while in Montreal to work as an actor with Muriel in projects for two years studying acting.. (Stanislavski influenced approaches/realism) and training approaches. On April 14, 2003, a solo performance was held for social workers and clinicians at The Rene Cassin Institute of Social Gerontology. Over the next two years following the original performance, the work as an "ethnodrama" advanced through several development phases as more personal and historical narratives were added, as well as written contributions from professionals who worked in aging and health, for example, an audio taped narrative written by a nurse (herself 76 years old) who had directly experienced work with the aged in mental health and palliative care settings.

See video clip

In later performances symbol and metaphor became more important and objects were presented in a "collaged" back drop drawing on significant items identified on site and from true stories. These objects along with news items etc. were used to visually juxtapose and contrast concepts and ideas from past and present.

The research performance in its final form had evolved to become a full one hour ethnodrama. (For more on this genre see, Saldana, J., Ethnodrama An Anthology of Reality Theatre, AltaMira Press) Acting solo in multiple roles, as well as performing personal narratives, Cheryl presented "Remember Me for Birds" for hundreds of academics, healthcare professionals and students at universities, health organizations, medical schools and national conferences in Canada and the U.S.

In follow up discussions and through feedback questionnaires, many audience members commented on the authenticity of what they experienced as witnesses to the stories in the ethnodrama with reflective comments about the value of such work in helping to "re-illuminate" the importance of re/membering the "patient" or "client" as a person with a life, a past history and a unique story.

"Remember Me for Birds" was featured in May 2005 as the keynote performance at The Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work Conference held in conjunction with The Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at The University of Western Ontario, London and later that year for the McGill Interdisciplinary Geriatric Seminar, McGill Medical School, Montreal.

The performance was produced independently as an educational film in 2007.

See a video clip from the performance "Remember Me for Birds"


"Ethnotheatre employs the traditional craft and artistic techniques of theatre production to mount for an audience a live performance event of research participants' experiences and/or the researcher's interpretations of data. This research..meaning to investigate, in its broadest sense, can be conducted by artists, scholars or even by the participants themselves in such diverse fields of study as sociology, anthropology, psychology, education, health care, women's studies, justice studies, ethnic studies, cultural studies, political science, journalism, human communication, performance studies and theatre. The goal is to investigate a particular facet of the human condition for the purposes of adapting those observations and insights into a performance medium..."
Johnny Saldana, from "Ethnodrama: An Anthology of Reality Theatre, AltaMira Press, 2005, (pp. l-2)

"Ethnoperformances are postmodern often building a type of narrative collage that critiques culture. Speakers can "leap forward and backward in time" from present to past, presenting real news accounts against dramatic historic enactments of the past, using poems, monologues, dialogues, voice-overs and interior streams of consciousness."
Norman K. Denzin, from "Performance Ethnography, Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Culture", Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California, 2003.



Boal, Augusto, "Theatre of the Oppressed", Pluto Press, London, 1979.

Denzin, Norman K., "Performance Ethnography, Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Culture", Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California, 2003.

"Current Approaches in Drama Therapy", Penny Lewis, David Read Johnson Editors, Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, 2000.

Gold, Muriel, "Therapy through Drama The Fictional Family", Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois, 2000.

Saldana, Johnny, "Ethnodrama An Anthology of Reality Theatre", AltaMira Press, 2005.

Other references creative arts interdisciplinary practice:

"Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change", Cheryl McLean, Editor,
Robert Kelly, Associate Editor, Detselig/Temeron Books, Calgary (in process for release 2010) see website:

International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, IJCAIP, Cheryl McLean, Editor/Publisher, open access peer reviewed international journal, website:

posted July, 2009

Monday, October 8, 2007

Quotes on Arts in Health and Education, CCAHTE Journal September 07 Quotes of Note

Quotes of note, September 07 issue, CCAHTE Journal

"To live well, and to foster well-being, and to nurture meaningful living, I locate myself in poetry and poetic awareness and poetic knowing. Above all, I seek to live

“In poetry, reading and writing poetry, I learned to listen to my body, heart, mind, spirit and imagination in a holistic honouring of health consciousness.”
Carl Leggo Ph.D., University of British Columbia
from CCAHTE, September 07, "Living Poetically: Pensées on Literacy and Health"

"Increased confidence and self esteem, social wellbeing, skill and knowledge developments, motivation and energy, creation of hope and fighting stigma are themes that reflect how members feel Workman Arts has impacted their quality of life."
Nicole Koziel, MD (in progress), University of Toronto
from CCAHTE, September 07, "Quality of Life and Mental Health Outcomes in Workman Arts Members"

Monday, September 24, 2007

Creativity in Education

"Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. Improvisation, invention and innovation reveal much about us that is both interesting and very human. Engaging in acts of creativity enables us to engage our life world more fully. The excitement of generating ideas, experimenting and becoming vulnerable makes for a passionate world that runs across disciplines and all walks of life. Our predominant learning culture of measurement and standardization is contrasted against a learning culture of creativity. How can these cultures co-exist? What enables individual creativity? What enables creativity within educational systems? What holds us back? "

Robert W. Kelly, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
University of Calgary, Faculty of Fine Art
Curriculum Theory and Design
Creativity and Art Process
Organizational Structures

Faculty of Fine Arts

Robert Kelly Ph.D. is also an Advisory Board member for CCAHTE
The Canadian Creative Arts in Health, Training and Education Journal

More on Robert Kelly and his work at:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Creative Responses to Death and Bereavement, University of Western Ontario, Continuing Studies

Creative Arts Methodologies in Death and Bereavement Programming at University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario 2008
Cheryl McLean

Plans are currently underway to offer the University of Western Ontario course "Creative Responses to Death and Bereavement" on line by May 08 through The University of Western Ontario, Continuing Studies Dept. I will be working with UWO helping to adapt new programming and materials for the on line WEB CT OWL version of the program so that the course can be widely accessible and interactive for registrants who frequently include nurse educators, teachers, social workers, caregivers and others working in bereavement counselling and education.

For up-to-date information about this course and contact information:

CCAHTE Student Submission Publisher's Support Program Announcement

CCAHTE Journal Business

CCAHTE Journal Announces Selected Papers for Student Submission Publisher's Support Program

CCAHTE , The Canadian Creative Arts in Health, Training and Education Journal, is pleased and proud to announce the following two papers selected for the "CCAHTE Journal Student Submission Publisher's Support Program." Both papers will be published in the upcoming fall '07 issue of CCAHTE Journal.

Nicole Koziel, MD (in progress) University of Toronto

Research paper/study
"Quality of Life Study and Mental Health Outcomes, Workman Arts"

"Workman Arts (WA) Company provides artistic opportunities to individuals who have received treatment for mental illness or addiction and attempts to combat social exclusion through the arts. The study (paper) explores quality of life and mental health outcomes."

Jadranka Novosel, MA Education (in progress) University of British Columbia

Personal Story
A Case study/monologue

"The Death of My Young Husband From Cancer- A Love Story"

"This paper recounts Jadranka Novosel's experiences as a graduate student and partner of a terminally ill cancer patient. It spans a five year period from her husband's first major hospitalization to the time of his passing and is the story of her ephemeral search for healing and the profound poetic and humbling circumstance of one man's passing."

To be advised when these articles and our complete free fall 07 CCAHTE issue is accessible at and to register free for a CCAHTE Journal subscription send an email to "please register"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Arts and Health BLOG "Crossing Borders" brings visitors topical news about creative arts in research, action and practice

"Crossing Borders" Links Section Makes BLOG Search Easy

"Crossing Borders" is the companion blog for the CCAHTE Journal the Canadian based, international and interdisciplinary
journal of the creative arts in health, training and education.

For new visitors to our blog you'll find close to 150 articles archived, free and available by clicking on our "labels" section at the bottom of our
blog. Feel free to check out the articles and news related to the creative arts in health, training and education.

A few highlights:

  • aging and mental health
  • applied drama research
  • arts informed research
  • arts in nutritional sciences
  • calls for papers
  • workshops and conferences
  • communication and medicine
  • disability culture
  • film
  • medical humanities
  • employment/faculty jobs
  • narrative medicine
  • performance in health
  • photovoice
  • poetry in health and medicine
  • palliative care
  • visual arts in health

New news and links added almost daily as we work to bring you topical stories about the creative arts in research, action and practice as well as the most recent updates about news, research, events and conferences. CM.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mental Health Featured in London Ontario Film Series

London Central Library

"Windows into the Mind" Film Series
Location: London (Ontario) Central Library

7 pm - 9 pm,

(First Thursday, Second Thursday, Third Thursday, Fourth Thursday of the month October 4 - October 26)

A series aimed at exploring lives touched by mental illness as portrayed in film.

October 4th
Out of the Shadow, 67 min, 2006 documentary
Susan Smiley turns the camera on her own family and the story of her family's secret struggle to deal with her mother's schizophrenia within the confines of the public health system. This film is a story of madness and dignity, shame and love, illuminating the issues through one compelling story.

October 11th
Cracking Up, 45 min, 2007 Documentary
This is a life-affirming documentary about people with mental illness who embark on a quirky quest to become stand up comics. The film follows eleven courageous people who suffer from schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder and manic depression as they embark on a year of stand-up comedy. The course is the brainchild of counsellor and comedian David Granirer.

October 18th
Cinemania, 83min, 2002 Documentary
This documentary about culture of intense cinephilia in New York City reveals the impassioned world of five obsessed movie buffs. Interviews tell the story of each individual. These human encyclopedias of film see two to five films a day, and from 600 to 2000 films per year. This is the story of their lives, their memories, their unbending habits and the films they love.

October 25th,
Everything's Jake, 95min, 2000 Comedy/Drama
Jake is a homeless man living in New York City and a survivor who finds out that even an optimistic attitude won't always protect him from life's little surprises.

Speakers: Representatives of London Homeless Coalition

Cost: Free
From the Central Library, London, website at*&clientgroup_uid=13&defaultbranch=4&template=Generic

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Workman Arts Challenges Myths, Showcases Talent, Celebrates Creativity and Mental Health

Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival
Exploring the facts and mythologies of mental illness and addiction as presented through film.
Busk a Move Music Festival

Showcasing live performances throughout Toronto.
Being Scene Art Exhibition

Exhibiting works by artists who have received services from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
Madness and Arts World Festival
Celebrating the world's first arts festival devoted to creativity and mental health.

A standing ovation for Workman Arts!

Workman Arts (WA) Company provides artistic opportunities to individuals who have received treatment for mental illness or addiction and attempts to combat social exclusion through the arts. Since its inception, WA has produced sixteen original plays, toured over thirty theatres, and played to more than 125,000 people. The organization hosts an annual film festival and art exhibit, supports an in-residence visual art studio, and was founder and host of the first ever Madness and Arts World Festival.

Check out the WA site at:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Creative Responses in Hospice and Palliative Care, Refresher Day London and Middlesex

A Refresher Day in Hospice Palliative Care for London, Middlesex
The London Palliative Care Committee
of special interest to family physicians, registered nurses, personal support workers, social workers, spiritual care providers, nurse practitioners, case managers, therapists, pharmacists, health care students

"Awakening the Senses...a Creative Response"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

to be held at

Stoneridge Inn, London, Ontario

"Living Stories of Hope and Change"

Cheryl McLean is Founder and Publisher of CCAHTE Journal, the Canadian based international and interdisciplinary peer reviewed open access journal of The Creative Arts in Health, Training and Education, accessible to subscribers worldwide and leading universities, medical schools and health organizations. She is a frequent lecturer and presenter at universities and health conferences speaking about progressive developments in the creative arts in research, action and practice in health, training and education and teaches the course "Creative Responses to Death and Bereavement" at The University of Western Ontario.

"Your Tree, My Tree..a Way of Being Together"

Wanda Sawicki

Wanda has a passion for spirit-filled living which expresses itself in art making, storytelling, writing and walking pilgrimage. A visual artist, she has a Canadian exhibition record dating from 1977. As an Art Therapist, with thirteen years experience, Wanda enjoys facilitating creative therapeutic expression in individuals and groups. She specializes in areas of acculturation, life losses and change and spirituality.

"People and Plants: Engaging the Mind"

Marilyn Cox

Marilyn is a horticulturist with an appreciation for the social, spiritual, physical and emotional aspects of gardening. She trained as a horticultural technician then pursued a degree in Sociology accompanied by certificates in Thanatology and Horticultural Therapy. She operates a nursery north of London and is an assistant for the Bereavement Ontario Network.

As a volunteer with hospice and by working with bereavement groups she has witnessed first hand the healing capacity of nature and gardening projects. Marilyn is involved with a network of horticultural therapists and bereavement professionals and is continually learning about the successes and pitfalls of incorporating horticultural therapy into programs for the dying and bereaved.
Information and inquiries about this event contact:
Ann Sabine
519-668-2997 Ext. 1453

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

CIHR Supports Open Access to Funded Research with New Policy

Open Access News
CIHR Press Release Sept. 07

Ottawa (September 4, 2007) - ....the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) unveiled a new policy to promote public access to the results of research it has funded. CIHR will require its researchers to ensure that their original research articles are freely available online within six months of publication.

"Timely and unrestricted access to research findings is a defining feature of science, and is essential for advancing knowledge and accelerating our understanding of human health and disease," stated Dr. Alan Bernstein, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. "With the development of the internet it is now feasible to disseminate globally and easily the results of research that we fund. As a publicly-funded organization, we have a responsibility to ensure that new advances in health research are available to those who need it and can use it - researchers world-wide, the public and policy makers."

In developing its policy, CIHR struck a broadly representative national task force of leading researchers, chaired by Dr. James Till of the Princess Margaret Hospital. CIHR consulted widely with Canadian researchers and stakeholders in government, research, publishing and the library communities. CIHR also looked to the experiences of funding agencies in other countries who have established similar policies. The consultation process was thorough and carefully planned in order to preserve academic freedom while promoting the value of public access.

"This open access policy will serve as a model for other funding agencies," said Dr. James E. Till of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. "The policy will leverage taxpayers' investment by accelerating research and by fostering its broader application."

Under this new Policy, which will apply to all grants awarded after January 1, 2008 that receive funding in whole or in part from CIHR, grant recipients must make every effort to ensure that their peer-reviewed research articles are freely available as soon as possible after publication.

This can be achieved by depositing the article in an archive, such as PubMed Central or an institutional repository, and/or by publishing results in an open access journal. A growing number of journals already meet these requirements and CIHR-funded researchers are encouraged to consider publishing in these journals. Additionally, grant recipients are now required to deposit bioinformatics, atomic, and molecular coordinate data, as already required by most journals, into the appropriate public database immediately upon publication of research results.

This policy builds on other important initiatives to promote openness and transparency of CIHR-funded research such as the registration of clinical trials and randomized controlled trials.

More info. at

Introduction to Open Access

CCAHTE Journal is a Canadian based international and interdisciplinary open access and peer reviewed journal of the creative arts in health, training and education accessible worldwide.

CCAHTE Journal Advisory Board

Monday, September 10, 2007

College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Medicine and Arts to present music film followed by discussion of role of music in listening to patients

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Section on Medicine and the Arts
A Wayfarer's Journey: Listening to Mahler
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
6:00 p.m., Reception 6:30 p.m.
Screening 8:00 p.m.

Please join us for the screening of the documentary, " A Wayfarer's Journey:Listening to Mahler" by Ruth Yorkin Drazen, followed by a post-film discussion about the role of music in listening to the patient in self-reflection and in healing. The film, which explores the life and music of Gustav Mahler, features Christoph Eschenbach, Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra and students from the Curtis Institute of Music. Free and open to the public.

Info: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 19 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia. To register call 215.563.3737, ext. 304 or email: Visit the College's website at for a complete listing of programs.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti October 12, 1935 - September 6, 2007 video Nesun Dorma

The world mourns the death of Luciano Pavarotti.

I share with you in memory of Pavarotti this Youtube video of "Nesun Dorma." For me this voice, the sheer powerful, vulnerable, beauty of this voice, was the pure soul of man made manifest,
with respect,

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Research Study Proves Arts Have Positive Impact on Children's Therapeutic Wellbeing

Today I had an opportunity to speak with Lindy LeDuc-Wilson, Coordinator of the Healing Arts Program at The Windsor Regional Children's Centre about new research into arts
approaches and children's mental health and wellbeing. CM

An excerpt below from the website at:

"The Windsor Regional Children’s Centre falls under the umbrella of the Windsor Regional Hospital, and has a mandate to provide mental health services to emotionally, behaviourally and socially troubled children/youth ages 6 through 18, and to their parents/families. The Centre offers programs and services delivered by interdisciplinary teams that provide specific goal-oriented programs including in-school, in-home and on site services. In conjunction with using the “traditional” methods of treatment (i.e. family therapy; individual, parental and group therapy; psychiatric and psychological assessments, etc.), the Windsor Regional Children’s Centre established the Healing Arts Program. The Healing Arts Program makes use of music, art (drawing and painting), drama, dance and creative movement and reflects a partnership between mental health services for children and youth and the Windsor area arts community. In 2005, the Centre conducted a Research Study for the Ministry of Culture via Children’s Mental Health Ontario. The project demonstrated the effectiveness of children’s mental health intervention that made use of the arts (music, painting, and dance.) It concluded that the arts did have a positive impact on children who were in treatment. The study demonstrated that the art classes had a significant positive impact on children’s therapeutic well-being.

Monday, August 27, 2007

CCAHTE Journal First Interdisciplinary Journal of the Creative Arts in Health, Training and Education Accessible Worldwide with DOAJ

CCAHTE Journal business
August 27, 2007

CCAHTE Journal is now among the high quality Open Access journals selected by DOAJ (The Directory of Open Access Journals) for inclusion in their directory. Hosted by LUND University Libraries, the DOAJ listing of quality, peer reviewed journals helps increase the visibility and ease of use of open access journals worldwide. CCAHTE Journal is listed under Medicine (General), Performing Arts, Education, Visual Arts (keywords: interdisciplinary creative arts research, health, training and education).

This is a critical development for CCAHTE offering worldwide access and even further dissemination for CCAHTE researchers/authors and contributors.

DOAJ website

CCAHTE Journal website:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Integrating the Creative Arts in Healthcare, Drama, Narrative, Collage and Performance Methodologies in Health" October 20, 2007

Register now for this day training intensive sponsored by CCAHTE Journal

See information at the link below about the day training intensive "Integrating the Creative Arts in Healthcare, Drama, Narrative, Collage and Performance Methodologies in Health" , Windermere Manor, London, Ontario, October 20, 2007. There are still openings available in this seminar.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Virginia Commonwealth University Study Finds Drama Helpful in Improving Bedside Manner

Study indicates drama beneficial in teaching empathy techniques to doctors

Doctors taught empathy techniques by theater professors show improved bedside manner, according to a pilot study by a Virginia Commonwealth University research team.

The findings may help in the development of medical curriculum for clinical empathy training. Clinical empathy skills allow doctors to recognize a patient’s emotional status and to respond to the patient’s needs. Patients often identify empathy skills, such as understanding, listening and honesty, as important traits in their primary care physicians.

Results of the VCU study, conducted by faculty members from the departments of Theatre and Internal Medicine, indicate a significant improvement in the clinical empathy skills of internal medicine residents at the VCU Medical Center following six hours of instruction with professors of theater. The study was published in the August issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Medical Humanities, Literature, Arts and Medicine Blog Launched NYU School of Medicine

We're glad here at the CCAHTE Journal BLOG "Crossing Borders" to hear about the new BLOG at NYU. Another important indication that the movement in arts and medicine continues to gain momentum across N.A. and internationally.

New Blog launched in relation to Medical Humanities, Literature, Arts and Medicine Data Base, NYU School of Medicine

Yet another important indication... Movement in Arts and Medicine Continues to Gain Momentum in N.A. and Internationally

the stated purpose (of the NYU blog) is "to promote communication and discussion among scholars, educators, and students working in interdisciplinary fields that utilize humanities, social sciences, and the arts to address current issues in medicine and bioscience . " In addition, the blog has a sidebar listing regional events of interest. Comments on posted commentaries can be submitted directly at the blog site.
Medical Humanities URL:

Friday, August 3, 2007

School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Symposium 2007

The School of Public Health, Symposium
University of Alberta
November 15, 16, 2007
The School of Public Health invites you to Symposium 2007, CHARTING A COURSE: Exploring Directions in Public Health on November 15th & 16th at Lister Hall Centre on the University of Alberta campus, Edmonton.
This exciting two-day event will explore the socio-behaviourial contexts that influence public health from the perspectives of research, policy, and practice. For more info see:

Monday, July 30, 2007

Feedback about "Crossing Borders" BLOG from Nurses for Human Rights

"I whole heartedly support and love you website (web blog). It's exactly what we need in the coming revolution in the mental health industry. My goal is to get us back into a more humanitarian mental health system, off of drugs, and into the arts and practical vocations these people really need. It is my belief that most of the children today that are diagnosed with mental disorders are the artists of our future, not understood by the medical profession.... "

"The arts are the pathway out of their confusion and allows them to communicate as themselves. Well done, "

Kenneth W. Thomas,RN
Nurses for Human Rights

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Vincent Lam, Winner of 2006 Scotia Giller Prize, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, Video

Tonight I share with you a short reading and video featuring Dr. Vincent Lam, emergency room physician, author and winner of the 2006 Scotia Giller Prize for his book "Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures."

See video at:

More about the Scotia Bank Giller Prize
Quotes of Note:

"How can people be helped through the practice of human science nursing? One idea is that health patterns can be changed through creative imaging. For example, nurses and others can invite persons struggling with changing to picture what it would be like to stay in their situation and, alternatively, how they would like to change it. As persons talk about the possibilities that they see for themselves and about their hopes and dreams, they can begin to plan to make them real. Health workers can also encourage persons to do creative journaling, story telling, painting, poetry writing etc. "

Professor Beryl Pilkington, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies
School of Nursing
York University

From the website at York University Gazette online, Nov. 2000

Friday, July 27, 2007

Breast Cancer, The Indestructible Bust and an Artist's Tribute to his Mother

When I came across Toby Jones and his work on Youtube I was moved by the sensitivity of this young artist and son who had coped with the loss of his mother to breast cancer through his artistic process and powerful work. In a statement about the resiliency, beauty and strength of human beings, Toby Jones creates "indestructible breasts in a metaphorical fight against breast cancer."

I asked Toby if I might share his work with you at "Crossing Borders" and he willingly agreed.

Toby's Story

"My mother died of metastasized breast cancer in February of 2001 after valiantly struggling with the disease for five years. After her death, in the years that followed, a large part of coping with the emptiness in my life was my art. I first started what I now call the "Fiberglass Busts Project" driven by subconscious motives I wouldn't understand until much later. It began from a need to create something out of the emptiness in my life, a time consuming project to fill my days with errands and give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning."

"Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs anyone could undertake-- she came to understand that all mothers, coming from a place of love for their children wished they could be better... and that all mothers do the best they can. They learn and love and grow and make it up as they go along if they have to. My mother was not Martha Stewart or Julia Child-- but to this day, I realized she taught me lessons that I have used every day in life. She taught me in showing me the things that she knew and in allowing me to do the things she could not.
She never expected me to be anything but what I was, and never gave me a reason to lie. She never withheld her approval. She is the mother I asked God for. She will always be with me.
I Love You Mom. " Toby.

"It all became clear to me, one morning as I labored in my garage with a power sander, trying to smooth out the bondo. With beads of sweat trickling down into my eyes, I started to wonder what exactly was I doing? This sculpture is way too thick! Why the ballistics grade fabric? Why the over kill? It finally dawned on me what my subconscious motive was. I was attempting to create breasts that were indestructible. This was the gift I wanted to give to my mother and my metaphorical fight against breast cancer. This insight was the catalyst I needed to move forward. I envisioned dozens of sculptures, auctioned off for Breast Cancer Charities. Building Breasts Impervious To would be a tribute to mother. "

See Youtube Video about Toby Jones, Breast Cancer Art Project
TV Report Ch. 11 NEWS
and other Press stories:

More about Toby Jones and his work:

"Fifty percent of sales generated from my work has been donated to organizations that focus on breast cancer awareness, outreach and hospice care. "