In 2011, I moved from the Department of Sociology at the University of Saskatchewan to the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Ottawa, where I hold a Canada Research Chair in Creative Practices and Well-being.
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Writing toward well-being - New article available

As part of our program of research on cancer survivorship, we recently conducted a pilot study of creative writing with 12 women who had experienced breast cancer.  Our findings have now been published in the Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal (CONJ).journal photo unsplash

Key themes were related to safe spaces, the seeking of permission to write, and fear/uncertainty.  As with our research on fostering hope and coping with lymphedema, the creation of a safe workshop space was connected to a variety of factors.  Interestingly, safe space is not limited to the physical location of any of the workshops we have facilitated across various projects.  Rather, safe spaces are also about process and even the provision of appropriate materials to enhance creativity.  With the writing study, some participants also felt that they needed to give themselves permission to write about negative experiences related to cancer, and that they also needed to give themselves permission to take the time from their busy lives to be creative.  Finally, participants showed that writing helped to relieve some of the fear and uncertainty associated with living with a chronic illness.

For more information about the study and our findings, download the article here.

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Arts, Research, Creativity & Health Lunch & Learn

The Arts, Research, Creativity & Health (ARCH) group is a dynamic team of health professional faculty, students, artists, and researchers who are passionate about interprofessional education and practice & arts and humanities based theories and practices.  Medicine (UGME, Medicine and Humanities), Nursing, Rehabilitation Sciences, Social Work, Psychology, and Sociology are all represented by our group members.  The University of Ottawa, Bruyère Continuing Care, Bruyère Research Institute, and Carleton University are the institutions represented.

Our goal is to develop an arts-based program to facilitate interprofessional learning and collaboration and to build therapeutic alliances across the health sciences and other disciplines.ARCH Lunch and Learn 1 April 2017

We held our first Lunch and Learn event on April 20, 2017.  Facilitated by Charlene Lau Ahier (Artist in Residence, Medicine, uOttawa), our group participated in automatic drawing from direct observation, conversational drawing, and collaborative hybrid drawing.  We also discussed possible research questions in response to the "drawn together" activities.

Two other Lunch & Learn events are planned and new members are welcome!

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Visualizing Indigenous Cancer Experiences: Final Summaries

Final Report

As our project begins to wrap up, we are excited to share our findings from the communities. Summaries from two of the communities can be found here, additional summaries will follow shortly.

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