Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Critical Role of the Arts in Global Governance


 IJCAIP blog Arts Crossing Borders/Guest Post
by Bandy X Lee, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry,
Yale School of Medicine

Building a Global Ethic through Aesthetics

In Ancient China, apart from hereditary power, there were scholar officials who determined the affairs of the state.  These officials were in fact artists, theoretically from any background or social status, who won competitions in poetry, calligraphy, and painting.  Of course, learned philosophy came through in their artwork, but the purpose was to select the greatest humanists, who were assumed to have the greatest wisdom and therefore an ability to make important governing decisions.  This is the kind of civilization that has become legend, one that we can only imagine in our day.

Similarly in Ancient Africa, political systems often consisted of circles of tribal members, divided by age group and gender, which would hold discussions, over and over, until a problem reached its resolution.  Other than that of the chief, political appointments were rare and arose more out of necessity of situation.  This maintained order in a widely spread, decentralized system, kept solutions at a very human (and humanistic) level, and probably prevented any individual or entity from taking over, as has occurred post-Western influence.
As we emerge from some political storms in the U.S. and the rest of the world (wherein Europe went through twelve leadership changes over the past two years), the differences between  our social and political structures come  to light.  Our system requires such specialized knowledge to maneuver, that it seems the greater this knowledge, the less room there will be for a true understanding of human affairs, not to mention human solutions.  A result is that rampant immorality and injustice are permitted to reign without regard to human and societal casualty—the kind that any scholar official or tribal member would have long recognized as antithetical to the purpose of government.

Instead, our system allows us to deny almost any problem, some of terrifying proportions: global climate change, destruction of the planet, erosion of democracy, depletion of social safety nets, plunder of the poor, and illegal wars, to name just a few.  We are told that the source of our problems is complex and mysterious, and the solutions beyond the reach of an average citizen.  Meanwhile, we are the ones tightening our belts in a nation that possesses half the world’s wealth, and we on the ground are the ones to feel, at a visceral level, the consequences of decisions that we did not make.
If Plato called for philosophers to become rulers for global decision-making to carry thoughtfulness, we might call upon practitioners of creativity for ethical bearing.  While education empowers populations by alerting them to ways in which oppression can occur, the arts do so by centering the heart such that one will refuse to accept injustice or untruth (the role of aesthetics in ethics is not new[1]).  

"....what education achieves cognitively, art does emotionally—and with most problems facing us now originating in humans, we see that we are in great need of collective emotional healing.  In this context, it does not help that we marginalize artists from “Bohemia” to misery—a distant cry from the position of scholar official—for the suffering of artists often foreshadows the suffering of a whole civilization."

Thus, in developing a proper perspective for global ethics, those in the creative fields may have a crucial role to play.  Few professions take on the highest and ultimate of human expression and are sensitive to any curtailing of human thriving (Henry James, for instance, suffered with a prescience of the Second World War while everyone was rejoicing the end of the First and politicians were emitting sighs of relief).  Their sensitivity can become a guide for ethical global governance.  Adherence to basic principles, for example, is how artists maintain coherence in their work, unlike scientists, who take a more methodological approach of fragmenting the whole so that the parts can be scrutinized more carefully (which are then added together to reconstruct the whole; science and other fields, at their best, can be an art, as is Einstein’s physics or Osler’s medicine).  A more artistic approach fosters the development of judgment and wisdom, by staying close to the human experience and keeping sight of the whole—and readily varying method according to overall need.

The artistic approach, then, might lead to the recognition of principles over rules, like the African governing circles that brought no concrete formula other than to answer a specific question.  Amid changing conditions, keeping with original purpose can allow us not to lose sight of the basic principles that every healthy society seeks (and which keep societies healthy): harmony, equity, justice, and peace.  We might then work toward true prosperity rather than an ideology of Capitalism or global domination.  We might actually solve problems and not let rules and procedure trump purpose, which then require a heaping of more laws and regulations upon them to try to correct, with ineffectual results.  Retaining a firm vision, far from being impractical, can facilitate expedient and ethical governance.  Restoring artists and creative individuals to a role in global governance, far from being unthinkable, may bring back the human sensitivity that was emblematic of the scholar officials and might perhaps be a step toward restoring our society into a higher, healthier civilization.

Bandy X. Lee, MD, MDiv
Assistant Clinical Professor
Law and Psychiatry Division

We thank Dr. Lee for this important contribution to our IJCAIP blog, "Arts Crossing Borders".  Dr. Bandy Lee is a violence studies specialist.  She trained as a psychiatrist at Yale and Harvard Universities and focused on public-sector work as chief resident and was active in  anthropological research in East Africa as a fellow of the National Institute of Mental Health.  In addition, she worked in several maximum-security prisons throughout the United States, consulted with governments in Ireland and France, and helped to set up violence prevention programs both in the U.S. and abroad.  She is currently Assistant Clinical Professor, Law and Psychiatry Division, Yale University and teaches students representing political asylum seekers through Yale Law School.  She also served as Director of Research for the Center for the Study of Violence, as consultant to the World Health Organization, and as speaker to the World Economic Forum.   Her interests are in public health approaches and transdisciplinary research/discourse, and she organizes an annual colloquium series called
'Making Sense,' to bring together the arts, the sciences, and the practical disciplines.

[1] Cf. Scarry, Elaine. On Beauty and Being Just.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Monday, November 12, 2012

American Medical Students' Association Humanities Institute

AMSA Humanities Institute

February 1-3, 2013
Sterling, VA (AMSA National Office)

Sponsored by Brown University Program in Arts and Medical Humanities, Department of Emergency Medicine

Application Deadline: December 1, 2012

The Humanities Institute is designed for students who appreciate the power of using creative expression to bear witness to their patients and their own experiences in medicine. This institute incorporates narrative medicine, creative writing workshops and the arts, along with hands-on sessions that explore topics of student wellness and avoiding burnout. Sessions are led by guest faculty physicians, authors, and wellness experts.
Sample sessions may include the following topics:
  • Writing for Social Justice
  • Medical Representation in Film, Photography & the Arts
  • Honing Interviewing Skills through Narrative
  • The Physician-Poet
  • Writing for Wellness
  • Professionalism & Ethics in Writing
  • Medical Journalism
  • One-on-One Writing Meetings with guest authors
  • Healers' Voices: Open Mic Night
  • Well Student Workshops: yoga, nutrition, managing stress, & more!
The AMSA Humanities Institute is an intensive experience with both didactic and experiential learning components. It combines student-led and field expert-led sessions. AMSA institutes are open to pre-medical, medical, resident, and allied health members. The AMSA Academy is a training ground for physician leaders, established by and for students. The Academy strives to empower medical and premedical students to effect change in medicine.

For more information about the AMSA Humanities Institute:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Creative Arts in Medical Education Programming Contributes toward Humane Medicine

Cheryl L. McLean, 

Publisher,International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice

Among the fundamental principles of humanistic medicine or values based medicine are open communication, mutual respect and relationship centred care.  The creative arts can play a critical and important role in fostering humane medicine in medical education and in practice.   

"In the US, a recent study found that over half of all US medical schools involved the arts in learning activities (Rodenhauser, Strickland, & Gambala,2004)  to help  foster student well-being, enhance teaching and learning, and improve clinical and relational skills, for example, observation and diagnostic skills, reflection and insight." ( Excerpt from the article by Pamela Brett-MacLean Ph.D. Use of the Arts in Medical and Health Professional Education, University of Alberta Health Sciences Journal • September 2007 • Volume 4 • Issue 1)

Programs integrating the arts and humanities in medical education continue to flourish and gain momentum with leading medical schools and universities offering programming such as Stanford School of Medicine, Arts, Humanities and Medicine, established to “promote creative and scholarly work at the intersections between the arts, humanities and medicine in order to enhance understanding of the contextual meanings of illness, healthcare, and the human condition”,  and The Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham U.K. with a research programme organized around five research clusters,  Imagination and Creativity; Practice and Practitioner; Policy Politics Collective; Transfiguring and Mind Body Affect.

In Canada, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Humanities in Medicine, offers five core initiatives: History of Medicine; Narrative Medicine (oral storytelling film, mass media, and literature); Music; Spirituality; and Visual Arts.  The Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine Program at the University of Alberta was launched in May 2006. The program is directed to engendering a balance of scientific knowledge and compassionate care with a mission statement that formally acknowledges “the explicit recognition within the Faculty that clinical practice is both an art and a science.”

The arts can offer creative opportunities for learning and a place for self expression and healing. A leader in the field of Narrative Medicine, Dr. Rita Charon, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University has long advocated for the use of narrative in medical education to honour stories of illness. Dr. Arthur Frank, Professor of Sociology, University of Calgary, and author of “The Wounded Storyteller, Body, Illness and Ethics”, writes about the meaningful uses of storytelling for those experiencing illness, “The personal issue of telling stories about illness is to give voice to the body, so the changed body can become once again familiar in these stories.”

At the University of Toronto, the Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) Program has begun a systematic integration of different types of narrative into the curriculum with a new Companion Curriculum which offers support to the empathic or “moral imagination”, and allows students to consider the internal experiences of patients,  families, other students and healthcare professional (see Health, Arts and Humanities Programme, University of Toronto,

In the article, "Physicians Speak Out About Arts in Medicine", published in The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice,  physicians were offered the opportunity to voice their stories and share examples of how they use the arts in medical education.

The article “Stories and Society, Using Literature to Teach Medical Students About Public Health and Social Justice,” was contributed by Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP, Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Community Health, Portland State University and Senior Physician of Internal Medicine at The Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Centre.  Donohoe offered an argument for “enhancing public health education of medical students through the use of literature with the goal of creating activist physicians knowledgeable about, and eager to confront, the social, economic and cultural contributions to illness”.  

In the same issue Dr. Maureen Rappaport reported on the creative writing course she teaches as an elective to fourth year medical students at McGill University, a course that provides an important place for students to express feelings through narratives and poetry.

Physician and Educator Dr. Pippa Hall at The University of Ottawa, has been a palliative care physician for over ten years integrating arts into learning activities for pre-licensure students and in post graduate programs as well as in continuing professional development activities in nursing and spiritual care. She explained how she found the arts in many forms provided opportunities for learning while offering new insights into the human condition.

 The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP also explored the exciting potential for other innovative and creative technologies incorporated into teaching and medical education. Kim Bullock, MD, family medicine and emergency room physician, and Director of the Community Health Division and Assistant Director of Service Learning in the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University, Medical Centre, Washington reported she believes digital storytelling in medical education has the potential to “link the social, environmental, and historical issues that influence health and illness through graphics”. “What emerges,” she writes, “are voices from the community that bear witness to issues that influence health including problems related to the environment, housing, public safety violence, inequities ..”

Human communication,  has been recognized as increasingly important in medical education.  According to a recent article in Family Medicine, "the Association of American Medical Colleges, the US Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education have called for medical educators to carefully define, teach, and evaluate communications skills for physicians in training." (Haq, Steele, Marchand, Seibert, Brody, Family Medicine,Vol. 36)

With new emphasis on communication, mutual respect and relationship building,  be it interprofessionally or between physicians and patients, Creative Arts in Humane Medicine will be a topical resource for  educators in the Medical Humanities, Public Health, Health Promotion, Social Work and the Social Services providing helpful examples for others interested in using the arts in education to help contribute toward a more caring and empathic approach to practice.

 Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, a new text for medical educators, has been developed in response to the growing need for resources in the arts and medicine.  The book explores the field internationally and features illustrative examples of the arts in action in medical education and practice. 
The groundbreaking book, scheduled for release in 2013,  is a project of The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP edited by Cheryl L. McLean and published by Brush Education Inc.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Call for Submissions "Keep Reflections Fresh"

New Book, Allan Peterkin MD and Pamela Brett-MacLean Ph.D.  Editors
Top Educators Share Their Innovations in Health Professional Education

To be published by Kent State Press in their Literature and Medicine series

 Our teaching innovations have necessarily been influenced by our own diverse backgrounds, and for many of us, by unique collaborative relationships we have entered and by what we have learned when we have shared and reflected back on our work. In this volume of short descriptive, readable, personal essays, we look forward to highlighting a broad array of representative methods, processes and themes associated with introducing our learners to the benefits of reflexivity and reflection as they become health professionals.  

  This collection offers an accessible view of our various praxis approaches, and also an opportunity to clarify and further our understanding by thinking with and through our own stories as reflective practice educators.

Here are some general (but non-prescriptive) guidelines for submission:

How do you approach reflection in your teaching?

·         Writing (writing prompts/exercises)
·         Use of literature (memoir/poetry/fiction), close reading
·         Theater; performative, embodied reflection
·         Visual reflection (visual art-based workshops, “looking/seeing”); film/video; graphic medicine); dance/movement; music; art exhibits/-performances
·         Humor, comedy
·         Technology (online), social media (YouTube/blogging, etc.)
·         Portfolios; field work assignments

Which themes do you explore?

·         Professional identity formation
·         Professionalism; the hidden curriculum
·         Uncertainty and ambiguity
·         Clinical error, patient safety
·         Challenging assumptions about gender/class/race/ability/power
·         Clinical/ethical acumen/moral imagination; distress
·         Clinician burnout and wellness; remediation
·         Making sense of simulation technology
·         Naturopathic /complementary and alternate healing
·         Gender and sexuality
·         Architecture/contemplation of physical space
·         Inter-disciplinary exchange/learning
·         Community building; changing cultures of health care education

Describe your processes:

·         Introducing reflection at different stages of professional development
·         Fear of reflection, defensiveness, resistance, trust, safety
·         Faculty development, mentoring
·         Fostering learning communities in support of reflection; changing learning cultures
·         Silences, challenges, untoward consequences
·         Ethical concerns, practices

We are seeking submissions from 500-1500 words on how you encourage your students and colleagues to become reflective practitioners.

How/Where to Submit:
Please send us your submission as a Word/PDF in the following format:
·         Provide an engaging narrative about how this teaching approach came to you
·         Offer a clear description of your teaching innovation (with sufficient detail which would allow others to adapt/use it)
·         Describe impacts thus far/ future imaginings
·         Describe the clinical/ humanities disciplines informing your approach to teaching reflective practice
·         Provide a three line bio

Where indicated, include:
·         Appropriate authorization for reprinting of text/images and sample student excerpts should be obtained.
·         A “top three” list of references/publications/web links/resources if available

Send your submission to:            by March 31st 2013

Saturday, November 3, 2012

IJCAIP Provides Consulting Services

IJCAIP Press Release, November 3, 2012

Responding to increasing needs and requests for leadership and guidance in the area of communications and knowledge translation IJCAIP, The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, announces Publisher and Executive Editor, Cheryl L. McLean has taken on the expanded role of Knowledge Transfer Consulting.  This service will be provided for individual researchers and organizations seeking expertise to effectively communicate information and research in multiple ways with strategic dissemination designed to effectively transfer knowledge into practice.  Information

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fourth International Symposium on Poetic Inquiry

 Fourth International Symposium on Poetic Inquiry
 October 23-26, 2013
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Poetic Inquiry: Resonant Voices

The hosts of the Fourth International Symposium on Poetic Inquiry, (Lynn Butler-Kisber, McGill University, Mary Stewart, LEARN Quebec, and John J. Guiney Yallop, Acadia University) welcome proposals for papers to be considered for presentation at the Symposium. We invite submissions that, through a range of lenses, will broaden and deepen our thinking about research, representation, social justice, and inclusion.  We encourage texts that illustrate possibilities, advocate for silenced voices, and address challenges and tensions.

 Sessions will be held at the Avmor Gallery in Old Montreal with other special events planned. The Symposium will open on Wednesday evening, October 23, 2013, with a Welcome Reception and Registration. Thursday and Friday will be full days of sessions, with planned evening events. The conference will conclude on Saturday after morning sessions and a Closing Activity. Consider staying for an extra night, or longer, in beautiful Montreal. We hope that the collaborative sharing at this conference will validate and inspire our poetic practices.

Submissions should include an abstract of not more than 250 words with a brief bio for each participant not exceeding 50 words. Any citations and references should follow the format of APA 6th Edition. Submissions should be sent to:  The submission deadline is October 31, 2012. Acceptances will be sent to authors in February, 2013.

 Please note:

1. In order to respect the established and intimate nature of this symposium, and to continue the practice of only consecutive sessions, the number of accepted papers will be limited.

2. Presenters are limited to participating in one paper only.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Research Topic of Acadia Keynote

I am pleased to share excerpts from the Arts Based Research Network Symposium keynote address "Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Research, A New Pond of Interdisciplinary Opportunity" presented  October 5, 2012 at Acadia University, Nova Scotia. The symposium was opened by Dr. Tom Herman, Vice President Academic  and Dr. David MacKinnon Dean Research and Graduate Studies with an introduction by Dr. John J. Guiney Yallop.  
The Arts Based Research Network at Acadia  is a multi-faculty cross-disciplinary network including the Faculties of Arts, Professional Studies, and Science.   This is the kind of meaningful and cooperative connection that is so important in our interdisciplinary work and it was an honour to represent The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP and present research from the two books in our CAIP Research Series, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice and Creative Arts in Research for Community and Cultural Change.
Access the keynote address here:

 Executive Editor, Publisher International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP
Editor CAIP Research text Series, Upcoming 2013 "Creative Arts in Humane Medicine"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Arts in Health Book Call for Abstracts

The International Journal of

The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP

New Call for Abstracts for upcoming book….

“Creative Arts in Humane Medicine”

Publisher: Brush Education, Calgary

Editor: Cheryl L. McLean

Creative Arts in Humane Medicine” will be a contemporary educational textbook, a practice oriented collection which presents stories and illustrative examples demonstrating how the creative arts can be used in multiple ways in health professional education and practice.

This new arts in health book follows the success of the CAIP, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice Series, “Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change” and “Creative Arts in Community and Cultural Change”, edited by Cheryl McLean, Publisher of The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice and Dr. Robert Kelly, Professor, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary, published by Detselig Temeron Press, 2010, 2011. Creative Arts in Humane Medicine” is a project of The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice and will be published by Brush Education, Calgary. The book is scheduled for release in 2013 and will be available in both hard copy and ebook formats.

About the Book

Creative Arts in Humane Medicine” will be a much needed educational resource in contemporary health and education, a compelling and informative textbook for medical educators, physicians, nurse and health professional educators and their students as well as for those engaged as educators in the Medical Humanities, in Public Health, Health Promotion, Social Work and the Social Services and for others interesting in the burgeoning field of arts and health.

As its title suggests, thematically we are especially interested in how the creative arts are used in many forms to help foster humane medicine and to “humanize” healthcare.

We will be featuring compelling articles about the story of the work in action, contributions that move beyond simple descriptions of arts in health programmes. We want to know, what is the story of this work, the narrative behind the reasoning for using this approach? Was there a particular challenge or need that the work was addressing? What was the intended goal of the programme? What were the results? Although this is not a formal research collection per se, Creative Arts in Humane Medicine is a university level textbook which will be used widely by health educators. The methods and approaches presented should be described within a theoretical and contextual framework, citing available source references and research when possible or referring to other studies supporting this approach. Once the approach is adequately described there will be an “action” component to each contribution with some focus on how the approach might work experientially in practice with suggested exercises, and how to’s for other educators and professionals to help integrate the approach into educational sessions, workshops etc.

In terms of the shape of the book itself, the topics below are a general guide only. Please do not feel restricted by this list. We are open to considering other creative topic suggestions that deal with arts in humane medicine and healthcare.

Here are some important areas which have been identified as most relevant to medical educators and those active in healthcare education and practice:


Arts methods which provide creative opportunities for respectful and open human communication between and among healthcare professionals as well as between practitioners and patients, families etc. (moving beyond simple role plays commonly seen in medicine, how can the arts create dynamic opportunities to increase embodied experience and open the way for critical discussion and potential changes in practice and policy?)

Arts enhancing observational skills, fostering empathy (examples visual art, fabric art, drama, collage etc.)


the use of the arts in varied forms to teach about the importance of ethical decision making and challenges (narrative, poetry, drama/other)

Story and Narrative

How story and narrative can be use effectively in medical education and in healthcare

Methods that help provide opportunities for expression/feelings/experience (narratives and personal stories from caregivers and patients, examples)

Creative Arts Therapies

Arts in Helping to Address Pain and Suffering, Stories of therapeutic modalities in action and practice in healing and healthcare

Humanizing Space: Creative Arts and Applications of Design and Technology in Health

Arts in innovative design and architecture, how design contributes to wellness and a healing environment, New ways technology can be used creatively to enhance health education and/or practice (example digital story)

Practitioner Self Care

Burn out, mental health issues, life balance, time management, stress reduction (mindfulness and meditation etc.)

Creative Arts in Aging and Health

Creative arts methods applied in aging and health for caregivers and older persons

How the creative arts can be helpful for physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals in work in death and dying and in palliative care as health professionals and families cope daily with the human realities of death, loss and grief

Multi cultural Perspectives

How other cultures use the creative arts in innovative ways in education and healthcare, aging and health etc.


How the art of comedy and humour can play a critical role in humanizing medicine/healthcare for caregiver and patients alike.

Instructions for Submitting Abstracts:

We are welcoming abstracts from educators, physicians, nurses, mental health educators and therapists and other health professionals as well as from artists and individuals with compelling stories to tell who have had personal experiences with arts and health.

Please send abstract only (max. 200 wds.) by email to as a Word email attachment, “abstract CAHM” in the subject line, before October 15, 2012 deadline. Double space. Please be sure to include your name, affiliations and contact information, email address.

Those selected will be asked to send full papers (max. 6,500 wds.) by December 15, 2012.

All contributors whose full papers are published will receive thank you copies of the book upon publication.

Kindly circulate, thank you.