Blog post written by Saoirse Finn (Network Coordinator) In collaboration with Kings College London’s (KCL) Health + Humanities Society we hosted an evening on June 10th as part of London Creativity and Wellbeing Week 2018. This networking event showcased a wealth of arts in health across research and practice.
Arts and the clinical environment
Amisha Karia from Paintings in Hospitals and Visual Artist Emma Barnard highlighted the importance of being aware and reflective of the aesthetics of the clinical environment due to its impact on wellbeing. Emma also showcased some of her artistic projects used as teaching tools in medical education for understanding the experiences and emotions of others.
Arts and development of clinical practice Clinicians and artists from the Medical Humanities Masters programme at Kings College London spoke about their exploration of literary devices, such as anecdotes, in narrative medicine. Artistic narrative medicine is used to help improve support and wellbeing for medical staff, and as an expressive form for those suffering from illness or disease. Medical undergraduate students then spoke about projects co-writing poetry with patients in their GP practice. The work was beautiful, and the process transformational. It was promising to see Social Prescribing being integrated so early on in a clinician’s training, shaping the next generation of clinicians to further develop the field of arts in health. Mandeep Singh then performed a thought-provoking freestyle about his experiences as a medical student transitioning from the lecture theatre to real-life patient settings.
Arts in health practice and research Shãnali Perera shared her inspirational story of using art to combat her illness. Shãnali creates beautiful artwork using a digital application due to physical hand limitations in order to share the power of art to others in combating pain and fatigue. Nirjay Mahindru spoke about the charity InterActStroke Support who are dedicated to supporting stroke recovery by using professional actors to deliver stimulating and inspiring short stories. Music therapist and music producer, Jon Hall, shared his Outsider Music project that helps people with significant mental health needs find a way to create music and eventually get to a place of being able to perform.
I finished the evening by speaking about my involvement as a research assistant on the Sing with Us project exploring the long-term psychological, biological and social impact of singing in those who have been affected by cancer. The data is currently being analysed but do follow @CancerChoirRsch for updates once the results are published. The attendees were very keen to hear about the types of evaluations that can be done for pre-existing arts in health practice. It is evident that there are barriers to conducting evaluation such as resources, funding, uncertainty of the knowledge-base, or worries evaluation may not be robust compared to clinical research. We hope more events like this will help network and bridge the gap between research and practice, drawing together Early Career Researchers with those working across practice, and finding creative methods to evaluate project outcomes. Thank you to Saoirse for writing such a wonderful reflection on this event. If you are interested in writing a blog post about an arts and health event that you have attended or organised, please feel free to get in touch.