Creative Arts

The creative arts can relate to many forms of the arts embodied in action and practice among them (but not restricted to) drama, dance and musical performance, visual arts, writing, publishing, graphic arts, cartooning, film, multi media and design.

In Humane

To be humane is to have or show compassion or benevolence.

Being concerned with the alleviation of suffering.

To interact with care, consideration and respect.


the word medicine is from the Latin ars medicina, meaning the art of healing.

Broadly speaking the practice of medicine is to be

active in the prevention and treatment of illness.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Physician Reports the Arts and Digital Story in Medical Education Helps Teach Students About Patients

"Creative artistic expression has only recently been integrated into the teaching and practice of medicine. The use of various forms of art through painting, narrative, sculpture and music has been shown to be both therapeutic as well as instructive to both instructor and student, physician-healer and patient. The use of expressive voice as a methodology for encouraging students to understand and translate their knowledge into practice is consciousness raising. It also offers the opportunity to give students an understanding of the complexities of emotion, and its connections with health and illness.

Although not always clear to students because of their rigorous and long years of study, health education centers around the study of people, and the subsequent call to action.
This action is rooted in identifying the social condition through various mechanisms, the more creative and personal the more effective and impactful.

The inclusion of art enriches the understanding of self and place giving life to new interventions that heal.

The Georgetown Department of Family Medicine has chosen to use digital stories as a mechanism to move students from the written page to the visual image. This tool links the social, environmental, and historical issues that influence health and illness through graphics. The students are encouraged to include the collective community voice, learn about patient-centered themes and issues, in addition to determining effective solutions which contribute to the healing process.

Kim A. Bullock M.D., Georgetown Department of Family Medicine, Washington
Quote From IJCAIP Journal, October, 2009, Issue 8, "
Physicians Speak Out About Arts and Medicine" See also Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change, Editor Cheryl McLean, Associate Editor Robert Kelly, Detselig Temeron Press, Teaching Medical Students about Patients as Educators, Kim A. Bullock, Kathleen L. McNamara, Donna D. Cameron(2010)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Arts in Health and the Education of Medical Learners

"As a palliative care physician for over 10 years now, my experiences in working with individuals who are embarking on the final stages of life’s journey, as well as with their families, has highlighted the need for the art and the science of medicine. A holistic approach that requires attention to the physical, psychological, socio-cultural and spiritual/existential dimensions of a person’s illness requires an openness to the human experience which is not taught in the traditional training of health care providers, and many studies illustrate important deficiencies particularly in medicine. This holistic approach, based on relationship-centred care, can facilitate healing even in a person with terminal illness.

The arts can serve as a doorway through which one can pass to explore different cultures, traditions and ways of knowing. The arts can serve as a medium for a “shared humanity of creativity in connection” (McIntyre, 2004, p. 260). The arts are experiential, engaging senses, feelings and emotions as well as cognitive functions. The arts provide a forum where individuals can share perspectives and learn to appreciate the richness that diversity offers and add to our understanding of any given situation.

The arts provide insight into the human condition.

Excerpt from article by Pippa Hall MD, CCFP, M.Ed., FCFP, The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, IJCAIP Journal, October, 2009
Issue 8, "Physicians Speak Out About Arts and Medicine"

Arts in Health Book Call for Abstracts

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 medical and health professional education and practice.

This new 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 medical education and health, 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 innovative approach to the arts in humane medicine in medical education 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)

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 22, 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 January 15, 2013.

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

Kindly circulate, thank you.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Viktor Frankl quote on Meaning Making

"What matters is to make the best of any given situation. "The best," however, is that which in Latin is called optimum--hence the reason I speak of a tragic optimism, that is, an optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential which at its best always allows for (l) turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment; (2) deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better; and (3) deriving from life's transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action."
Dr. Viktor Frankl

photo "the horse" C.L. McLean

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Story for the Caregiver

"For many years, I have personally experienced a powerful relief in the expression of my own stories. Perhaps these stories are powerful because they challenge the oppressive flatland and scientific efficiency that still defines healthcare despite many knowing that care giving is an endeavor of human capacity. Perhaps the power of these stories is in acknowledging that I am not a robot and that the human, emotional, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of what I do are key if I want to be fully present as a caregiver."
Susan K. MacRae

From The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, IJCAIP,
"To be Human with Other Humans" Issue 9, February 2011

Creative Arts in Humane Medicine A Resource for Educators

Creative Arts in Humane Medicine is an educational textbook which will be a valuable resource for educators in medical education and healthcare, physician and nurse educators and their students, public health educators,therapists, those who work in health promotion, social services, social work and mental health and community health, health researchers and ethicists as well as professionals with special interests in stress management, creative arts and healing. (This book will be available in both hard copy and ebook formats.)

Johnny Saldana Ethnodrama About the Human Condition

"Ethnodramatic representations and presentations of health and illness bring participants' vulnerability, fragility, and, in most cases, resiliency to heightened prominence. Perhaps more than the academic journal article, the ethnotheatrical performance—if well done for a receptive audience—holds potential to increase awareness, deepen understanding, and provide experiences that generate sym
pathetic and empathetic responses and memories for future applications and transfer into clinical practice and possibly health care policy. If the shared goal of theatre and qualitative inquiry is to explore and learn more about the human condition, then the outcomes are doubly if not exponentially increased when the two disciplines merge, bringing with them their best representational and presentational modes of expression to the dramatic text."
Johnny Saldana

From The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, IJCAIP, February 2011, Issue 9, "Expressing the Human Story"

see also quote McLean/on ethnodrama in education

What Does it Mean to be Human? 100 Thousand Poets Converge for Change

Poetry raises awareness about need for community change

100 Thousand Poets Converge to explore the question What Does it Mean to Be Human? Sept. 29 in a city near you.

London's happening.... Sept. 29 Landon Library, London Ont.