Monday, February 25, 2008

Arts, Mental Health and Autonomy

"Socialized fences, isolating human beings behind "us" and "them" notions, confining individuals behind ideas such as "the elderly" can be cleared in the act of learning as one becomes the other fully animated and performing the "stories" of life. A performance can raise awareness educating well beyond the podium conveying "lived experience" in action with elements visual, emotional, physical and spiritual. In this field process we are told and we tell stories engaging in one of the most primal, meaningful and universal of human connections."
C. McLean

Click here for more information about the performance "Remember Me for Birds"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tonight February 20 on the night of the lunar eclipse as the moon passes through the shadow of the earth I would like to share with you a moving and illuminating slide show "From Autism to Artism" created by Australian artist, author, singer, songwriter Donna Williams.

"From Autism to Artism"

Front row seats at Youtube:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Medicine and Classics Sponsored by Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario

Medicine and Classics
Ancient History for the Medically Minded
Four Wednesdays, March 5, 12, 19, 26, 2008

7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Martha Bishop Room, Landon Library, London, Ontario
Free Admission
The Department of Classical Studies
The University of Western Ontario and the Landon Branch of the London Public Library
The public will have an opportunity to discuss selected aspects of ancient Greek culture with both a Classics Professor and a Professor from medicine.

March 5
The Great Plague of Athens and Pandemic Planning
March 12
Let the Games Begin: Training for the Ancient Olympics
March 19
Images of Mental Illness
March 26
Wandering Wombs and Prometheus' Immortal Liver:
Ancient Greek Views on Anatomy and Physiology
For more information:
see Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry

Events and Conferences 2008 New Websites

A few reminders about upcoming events and conferences and a couple of interesting websites for you on this Tuesday morning February 19th.

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, May 31 to June 8

Fourth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, May 14 - 17

Robert Neimeyer Death Loss and the Quest for Meaning, February 28

Hand Held Digital Technology and New Media, March 20

If you haven't already registered for Congress 08 in Vancouver I highly recommend you plan on attending. This is the largest conference of its kind in the country. It's a unique multi-disciplinary event that brings together over eighty national societies and associations and an estimated 8,000 participants from across Canada and internationally. I've always enjoyed my experiences at the congress as well as opportunities to sit in on presentations related to my own interests in arts informed research, narrative, drama and life history research. A great networking opportunity to connect with others with like interests.

At The Fourth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry this year at The University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign there will be a very interesting line up of presentations, among them, Autoethnography and Performance Studies, Justice as Healing, Participatory Action Research, Visual Sociology, Visual Ethnography and...a special presentation by Dr. Norman K. Denzin on Performance Ethnography.

And new websites, check out Manifestation: Journal of Community Engaged Research and Learning Partnerships. It's an open-access, electronic, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to conversations about how to most beneficially support and engage in community-based research, community-campus partnerships, service-learning, action research, and other inclusive methods and practices that build and empower our communities. Peter Levesque of Knowledge Mobilization Works is founder and editor of this progressive new open access journal as well as the Publisher of Mental Health Poetry

And, finally, if you didn't catch it on air, you can access podcasts from the the CBC radio show "White Coat Black Art" with host Dr. Brian Goldman who takes listeners through the swinging doors of Canadian hospitals and doctors' offices for direct, issue oriented and honest talk about healthcare. Tune in to the podcast with Dr. Cunningham . In this interview he tells his story speaking with openness and conviction about physicians , "the God complex", alcoholism and his own personal spirituality. "White Coat, Black Art" airs Monday's at 1130 am and Friday's at 8 pm on Radio One and is also broadcast at 4:30 p.m. Monday's on Sirius Satellite 137, and podcast every week.

All the best for February, the journey continues,

Cheryl McLean.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Smoking and Health Promotion, Creative Methodologies Lead to Deeper Understandings

The creative arts can be used effectively in research and in awareness raising in health promotion work. The University of British Columbia, School of Nursing, shares with us today news about "Creative Methodologies in Tobacco and Health Behaviour Research: Using Photography and Theatre to Foster Deeper Understandings"

A message below from Ariadna Fernandez, MA Research Manager, NEXUS, University of British Columbia, School of Nursing:
Creative methodologies - such as participant photography (photovoice) and participatory theatre (forum theatre) - allow researchers to be more inclusive of participant "voices" to explore and translate knowledge about certain health behaviours.
Hear what researchers and participants have to say about these methodologies. View the images created by participants about their smoking experiences and participate in a mini-forum theatre production.

Tobacco use is a particularly sensitive and personal topic which requires creative approaches to foster deeper understandings. This panel discussion, photo exhibit & forum theatre production will explore the challenges and benefits of using photovoice and forum theatre in three research projects: "Smoke, In My Eyes," "Families Controlling & Eliminating Tobacco" (FACET 2), and "Cultivating Awareness of the Context of Tobacco Use" (CACTUS).

Date: Wednesday, March 12th

Time: 5:00 to 7:00 PM

Location: UBC Robson Square

800 Robson Street Vancouver, B.C.

RSVP by March 8th: For directions:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cancer Film Festival Call for True Stories About Cancer

Reel Lives The Cancer Chronicles Film Festival
Call for entries. Deadline: May 1, 2008.

The festival is an opportunity for people who have been touched by cancer to tell their story through the medium of film and to have their voices heard. It seeks to shatter the taboos and myths surrounding cancer, educate and enlighten, bridge cultural divides, and help unite the global cancer community.
Reel Lives: The Cancer Chronicles Film Festival will be held on 28-30 August 2008,during the World Cancer Congress in Geneva , Switzerland , culminating in an awards ceremony. The awards will celebrate films that are thought-provoking, educational and inspirational.
Winners will also be acknowledged at the closing ceremony of the congress on 31 August 2008.

Who can take part?

The competition is open to cancer non-profit associations; patient groups and advocacy organizations; cancer, research and medical centres; amateur and professional filmmakers; and film school students.

Deadline for entries: 1 May 2008
For more information visit

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mental Health Art Exhibition, Framing the Phoenix, Call for Artists, London, Ontario

(click for larger poster and full information) Framing the Phoenix
Call for Artists

This from the CMHA London-Middlesex;
This annual event in London, Ontario is very exciting and inspiring to those of us who are impacted by mental health and addictions. It is a deeply moving and often joyful event that takes many months of preparation. Now, it's time for you to highlight your gifts by preparing or putting those final touches on a submission for this annual art show.
Please see the poster above (click for enlarged version) for guidelines and note that the DROP OFF DATE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS APRIL 30, 2008 from 2 to 5 pm at RMHC, London.

Spread the word! We welcome submissions from anyone who has been touched by mental health issues, mental illness and addictions. This includes those of us who have experienced or continue to have these experiences, as well as family, friends and professionals. We know that we have all been touched by this in so many different ways and this is an opportunity to highlight this experience during Mental Health Week.

Trix VanEgmond
Team Leader, Public Education
CMHA, London-Middlesex

The Mental Health Public Education and Bereavement Program for Survivors of Suicide is funded by the United Way of London and Middlesex.

See "Emerging Into Light" a place to share original stories, art, fiction or poetry, life stories or stories from someone who has touched your life in a significant way.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Breast Cancer Activism, Filmmaker, Researcher Seeks Images

Announcement from filmmaker Patricia Kearns On Behalf Of BC Centre of Excellence (WHC)

Searching for images
of breast cancer activism

I am currently researching a film about the history of the breast
cancer movement for the NFB (National Film Board) and am looking for images.
... photos or videotapes of meetings, demonstrations, conferences...
I am especially looking for anything from the first World Breast Cancer
Conference held in Kingston in 1997 and the subsequent ones
in Victoria, Ottawa and Halifax. The search for this material has proven to
be quite difficult but it is an important
story to tell. I am in touch with both
the Second Wave Archival Project
and the Canadian Women's Movement Archives.
(An independent filmmaker living in Montreal, Patricia Kearns brings a strong sense of community and a wide range of interests to her work. Through her own company  Pack Productions, she has directed such acclaimed experimental documentaries as "If the Family Fits", a thoughtful deconstruction of the family-values agenda, and "Choir Girls",  a celebratory portrait of a women's choir. "XS STRESS: Teens Take Control" is the second  film she has directed for the National Film Board, following "Democracy à la Maude",  a profile of Canadian social activist Maude Barlow. She also was producer of the NFB's acclaimed website, Citizenshift that hosts media for social change. )


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Digital Storytelling and New Media, Event Explores Power of Digital Technology in Hands of Young Mothers in Need

We heard today from CCAHTE subscriber, Catherine Moravac, Clinical Research Co-ordinator at Women's Health Care Centre, St. Michael's Hospital Toronto. Catherine contacted us to share news about the Hand-Held conference in Toronto and film and new media projects making a difference for young mothers experiencing homelessness. CM

You are invited to a unique one day event...HAND-HELD is an [un]conference that explores how digital storytelling and new media can be harnessed to improve health care when the tools of creation are placed in the hands of citizens. For one day, HAND-HELD brings together health-care professionals, academics, media-makers, politicians, advocates, decision-makers,and young parents who have experienced homelessness.

March 20th MaRS Centre 101 College Street, Toronto

HAND-HELD will showcase the remarkable results of I WAS HERE, a photoblogging project that puts digital cameras into the hands of young mothers who have experienced homelessness to document their lives through their own eyes. Their work will be the starting point for discussions throughout the day:
  • How can we improve the health of young pregnant or parenting youth who are homeless?
  • How can the I WAS HERE media workshop model inspire innovation elsewhere in health-care?

Confirmed participants include The Honourable Deb Matthews (Ontario Minister for Youth and Child Services), Tonya Lee Williams, (an actor best known for her role on The Young and the Restless, and a tireless advocate for a strong Canadian Media Industry) and Dr. Michael Evans (Director of the Health Media Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital).
The day-long event is the culmination of a three-year experiment in socially-engaged media-making, the National Film Board of Canada's Filmmaker-in-Residence project at St. Michael's Hospital.

Presented by the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital and the National Film Board of Canada

More conference info at the website:

See video clips:

Frida Kahlo in Art, Poetry and Music at King's University College

King's Centre for Creativity

art poetry music
Artists: G. Alvernaz Mulcahy, P. Kemp, D. Sneppova,
M. Riley
A. Caxaj, O. Whitehead, N. Ramirez

With keynote speaker: Dr. M. Lennon, Art Historian, University of Western Ontario

February 8, 2008
Bessie Labatt Hall, King's University College

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Medical Illustrator Crosses Borders Between Fine Arts and Sciences

Cheryl McLean

I recently had an opportunity to connect with Dr. Tim Fedak a medical illustrator based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Tim Fedak has a Ph.D. (Biology) from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor Fine Art from NSCAD. His academic publication work also includes vertebrate palaeontology research. Tim produces custom medical illustrations and animations for academic and patient education publications. Here is a profession that crosses borders between the fine arts and sciences where the artist creates with scientific accuracy highly detailed yet engaging illustrations visually explaining complex medical concepts.

This image created by Tim Fedak represents a unique oblique view of the pharynx showing the anaesthetic nerve block in the piriform sinus.

Truly art in action and practice such work communicates well beyond words effectively representing medical treatments and procedures.

Tim sees his work as a medical illustrator as rewarding and challenging, an ongoing learning process.

"I do enjoy the challenges of my work as a medical artist - it combines my academic knowledge of biology and medicine with my skills and experience as an artist. My international clients are experts in their respective fields and it's a pleasure to serve them and learn from their experience.... the work is incredibly interesting"

You can see Dr. Tim Fedak's work and visit the site at and blog -"Medical Illustration Studio Blog".
In a recent post Tim explores issues in the medical illustrations field and Open Access publishing.

"I’ve previously discussed the impact of open access publications on the activity and role of a medical illustrator. Another aspect of the open access publishing trend will be the need to consider implications of the wider audience base for the development of suitable visuals to accompany medical publications and educational programs. The issue of cultural diversity, audience, and visual communication is also relevant to the consideration of medical illustrations in open access medical journals. The idea that one of the benefits provided by open access is its unrestricted distribution and ability to reach a more diverse audience base brings the issue of audience and visual conventions to the forefront. "

This quote from the Medical Illustration Studio Blog