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  • Arts Health ECRN

Kings College London (London, UK) event - Creative Performance and Medicine

Blog post written by Mandeep Singh (Head of AHECRN Representatives)

A unique, creative and immersive symposium entitled STAGE: Creative Performance and Medicine was hosted by KCL Health & Humanities Society on 3rd March.

The event ran under philosophy that arts interventions and projects have to be experienced to be really understood. The day therefore consisted of artistic performances and academic talks, interspersed with some fascinating practical workshops, attacking the ideas from all angles!

The day began with a performance from Slam The Poet, a South London based spoken word artist who explored intimacy and its crises in the modern age through an intense stream-of-consciousness style piece. This was followed by Rosie Perkins presenting compelling research on her Music and Motherhood project for postnatal depression. The symposium immediately had an intimate, informal feel to it which paved the way for some engaged discussion from the audience consisting of medical students, healthcare professionals and artists.

This was followed up by the first session of 4 practical workshops. John Bowtell hosted fascinating drama-therapy/play session which had a uniquely dream-like and emotionally authentic feel to it. Drew Caiden hosted a session translating insights from stage acting to the clinic. Mandeep Singh (Mandeep The MC) hosted a session using freestyle rap as a therapeutic tool, guiding participants to find utility in mistakes. Slam The Poet hosted a session prompting participants to devise psychological dense and complicated characters using some clever literary games. The goal was to remind ourselves how to be intensely curious about our patients. The feedback from all the workshops was extremely positive and the society has plans to run similar workshop focussed events in future. Nothing can match immersion as a means to learn from the arts.

Workshops were followed by two more talks. Bella Earcourt represented Performing Medicine and their eye-opening ‘Circle of Care’ model for enhancing clinician and patient well-being, before Professor Brian Nurwitz concluded the academic part of the day with a unique investigation into the manner in which James Parkinson described Parkinson’s disease in 19th Century London, providing detailed historical and socioeconomical context. Mandeep The MC concluded the day sharing stories of patient and doctor encounters in acapella rap songs, hosting a discussion with the delegates after each story to explore the thoughts they provoked about well-being, balance and vulnerability in medicine.

Unanimously, the workshops were seen as the highlight of the day for most delegates. Many attendees had no prior exposure to the arts in health, leaving them with totally new ideas as to what a career in healthcare could entail. KCL Health & Humanities has been strongly encouraged by the success of this event to keep future events as practical and experiential as possible.

Thank you to Mandeep for writing such an informative blog post. If you have an Arts and Health event you would like to blog about please get in touch.

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