Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Creativity in Education, New Book Features Creative Thinkers

Recent news……Robert Kelly, “Creative Expression, Creative Education”

Robert Kelly, Fine Arts, University of Calgary , and a member of the CCAHTE Journal Advisory Board, will soon be releasing a new book with Carl Leggo, University of British Columbia, “Creative Expression,
Creative Education,” which will feature contributions from close to 20 creative thinkers sharing their experiences and bearing witness to acts of creativity in practice. This is a progressive concept for a new book that could open the way for innovative methodologies, innovation and change. Info: rkelly@ucalgary.ca

Bereaved Families of Ontario, Summer 5K Run

Run to support Bereaved Families of Ontario

in support of the
Bereaved Families of Ontario
SW Region

Friday, July 18th, 2008

The Barking Frog
, Ontario
7:00 PM

click here for info

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Art, Humanities and Medicine Theme at Global Health Research Conference

We recently posted an announcement about The Sixth Annual Global Health Research Conference held at The University of Toronto. The exhibition explored transformative modes of conceiving the body, and its relationship to global health as well as the intersections of the arts, sciences and medicine. Below are excerpts from a recently published article
written by Brett Popplewell at The Toronto Star (June 7, 2008).

"For more than a century, the physician has been viewed as a robot with a scientific mind and, for the most part, a wooden bedside manner. But with medical schools paying more attention to arts and the humanities, a new breed of doctor – one that is both scientist and artist – is beginning to emerge in hospitals and clinics. The re-emerging significance of art and the humanities to modern medicine was the central theme at last week's sixth annual global health research conference at the University of Toronto.

"We are more than just repositories of evidence-based knowledge," says Dr. James Orbanski, a family physician, former president of Médicins Sans Frontières and the keynote speaker at the conference.

"The phenomenon, to use the broadest term, of a person who is both a doctor and a cellist, or a doctor and a poet, or a doctor and an artist, demonstrates this perfectly."

Orbanski, whose work as a physician in Rwanda was recently documented by the National Film Board, says people like Vincent Lam, the Giller Award winning doctor-turned-novelist, are examples of how the interests of many physicians often transcend the barrier between the arts and sciences.

Before the medical revolution of the 19th century, the study of the human body was as connected to the fine arts as it was to medicine.

With the advent of chemistry, biology, laboratories and new technologies, the traditional art of medicine was revolutionized. Ill-advised practices like bloodletting and purging became less common as cures for everything from consumption to syphilis.

As the scientific understanding of bacteria and viruses improved, science's importance to medicine increased and the teaching of what some refer to as the art of medicine – the human communication between doctor and patient – dwindled. As art and the humanities became less important, doctors with poor bedside manners proliferated.

Until recently, Canadian medical students had to learn their human touch during residency (medical school's version of an apprenticeship) by watching the interaction between senior doctors and their patients.

Dr. Peter Singer, a published poet and professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, says when he went through medical school 25 years ago, the curriculum was so focused on science that doctors would graduate without ever having been taught about medical ethics and other humanities.

"(I)t was very much focused on science and technology and the scientific understanding of anatomy, physiology (then)," he says.

"We would be taught in lecture halls filled with 200 people and have information thrown at us on medical science.

"I think we've come a very great distance in medical education in the last 25 years on the issues of balancing science and humanistic concerns," he says.

But beyond the humanities, what role, if any, do the fine arts have in modern medicine?

Singer says a doctor's knowledge of poetry and music helps them to understand the human suffering often involved in medicine.After all, a physician well versed in science and technology who also understands poetry is likely more in touch with the humanistic side of life and death, and thus better suited to care for patients on their deathbeds.

Visual art and music have also been recognized for their therapeutic powers and are used in some clinics where patients improve their mental health through painting and where the music of composers like Bach is used to reduce stress."

It is encouraging to see more universities and medical schools incorporating the arts and humanities into health programming. At this blog, "Arts and Health Crossing Borders", you will read many posts and stories about progressive programming at the intersections of the arts and medicine/health currently underway across the country. I was pleased to read this article in the Toronto Star. Such news is an indicator that the work continues to gain momentum.


For full article read more at:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Creative Arts and Bereavement , University of Western Ontario Distance Education Course Becomes Learning Community

"Reclamation" photo by C. McLean

Creative arts and bereavement education over the internet.

Twenty five women from across the country.. nurses, counsellors, mental health professionals, qualitative researchers, artists, teachers, social workers, ministers, chaplains and caregivers are connecting in a unique distance education course at The University of Western Ontario with the help of instructional technologies (Web CT Owl) and learning together about creative responses and the arts in death and bereavement work. Course content explores “the creative response” and the interplay of creativity and the arts such as writing, drama, ritual, narrative, poetry and visual arts in healthcare.

This academic course, “Creative Responses in Death and Bereavement” is part of the Grief and Bereavement Certificate Program, Continuing Studies, University of Western Ontario, London and is taught by Cheryl McLean. “This is more than a course. It’s become a community as we have had an opportunity to share rich and meaningful stories while learning about the many applications of the creative arts in health, education and training."

The course will close with a week-end of arts and bereavement presentations, performances and experiential workshops reflecting the theme “Remembering the Story of a Life” to be held at King’s University College July 5 and 6.

Art as Medicine Books of Note

Art as Medicine Creating a Therapy of the Imagination A Book by Shaun McNiff
"Whenever illness is associated with loss of soul the arts emerge spontaneously as remedies, soul medicine." Shaun McNiff

For those interested in art therapy approaches I would like to recommend the book, "Art as Medicine, Creating a Therapy of the Imagination" written by Shaun McNiff and published by Shambhala Publications. Shaun McNiff is a Past President of the American Art Therapy Association and Dean of Lesley College and a university professor at Lesley University, Massachusetts. He is also a board member for CCAHTE, The Canadian Creative Arts in Health, Training and Education Journal.

One of the many progressive ideas put forward in the book, "Art as Medicine Creating a Therapy of the Imagination" is the suggestion that one can have an "image dialogue" with art and artworks, actively engaging with the subjects present in the art while opening the way for inner discovery.

From the book (pg. 145):
"Image dialogue is a mode of the creative process that follows picture making and creates yet another series of expressions. This therapy of the imagination was anticipated by Jung, who introduced all of the creative arts therapies to psychotherapy through his practice of active imagination, an inner drama involving the full spectrum of artistic expressions."

"My use of dialogue has emerged from a desire to deepen psychological engagement with images and amplify the spectrum of expression." S. McNiff.

As the book moves toward these rich and intimate dialogues and exchanges through art, I am taken to the place of dream, a soul place of symbol and metaphor, that sacred world where the many and varied sides of the self are made manifest and given voice. CM