I’m currently working on the re-mount of a project about patient safety culture in hospitals; this is a project I initially worked on in 2007 with researchers from York’s Faculty of Health, namely Drs Gail Mitchell, Deborah Tregunno and Liane Ginsberg. The team was so inspired by the project and process, they wanted to re-work the play and present it at several hospitals during patient safety week in early November of 2010. The new title of the script is “Seeing the Forest” and the play focuses more clearly on the importance of communicating among interdisciplinary team members to draw out potential problems and issues before they manifest themselves as safety hazards for patients. The team wants to acknowledge the importance of systems and check lists already in place for patient safety, but also wants to stress the importance of going beyond these measures; to encourage health professionals not to rely on or assume the system will catch potential problems. But to use creativity and problem solving and clear communication to assess each situation as a unique thing; not to get caught up in ones own track but to “see the forest from the trees.”
We are using the story of Heather as our frame to explore these ideas; we watch a patient, encouraged by health professionals to engage closely in her own health care, trying to bring concerns to light, only to have her health care providers so caught up in their own track, unyielding on their path, to lose sight of what is really in front of them: a specific patient with specific needs.
We have a fantastic creative team on board: director LJ Nelles and actors Sarah Machin Gale, Melina Nacos, Tim Machin and Mark Prince. I will be lingering around rehearsals too as writer/producer, although not in full swing because of the birth of my second child at the end of August. I’m sure everyone will be deeply disappointed when I bring her to rehearsal.
My collaboration with researchers from Toronto Rehab and Toronto General about exercise for wellness with dialysis patients has a new title – Fit for Dialysis. The editing is coming along very well (thanks to Claire and Mark of Marchlight Films!!) and I just received some photos of the shoot by the talented Scarlet O’Neill.
‘Watershed’ (the film’s working title) has been shot and we’re launching ourselves into editing! ‘Watershed’ was initated by researchers at Toronto Rehab and University Health Network to expose the barriers and facilitators to exercise for wellness with dialysis patients. The process has gone extremely well, in great part due to the fantastic team of researchers and artists on board.
Drs Pia Kontos, Gary Naglie, Vanita Jassal and Dina Brooks have been incredible to work with – not only have they provided excellent research material from which to work, but also provided phenomenal feedback and amazing support to get this project up and running.
Our film production team, Claire Muir and Mark Huisman of Marchlight Films, have also been incredible – their patience, diligence and creativity has brought ‘Watershed’ to the next level.
And I also had the honour to work with some truly talented actors: Jack Berke, Patricia Garnett-Smith, Alan K Sapp, Megan Dennis, Lisa Karen Cox, Caroline Azar, Joyce Ballantyne, Neil Naft and nisha ahuja.
I’m in great hands with Claire and Mark guiding the editing process. It’s been an exciting venture and it’s not over yet!
Possible Arts’ has begun a new collaboration with The Cyril & Dorothy, Joel & Jill Reitman Centre for Alzheimer’s Support and Training through Mt Sinai Hospital in Toronto. The Centre is committed to creating support and training programs for family members and caregivers of people with dementia. The program promises to provide practical, hands-on training in everyday activities (such as bathing, feeding, toileting), as well as experiential learning about the disease. A parallel program for people with dementia is also underway.
Connecting this program with the arts is very exciting, and Possible Arts will be contributing to the philisophical and practical approach to the program. Using a variety of learning tools including arts approaches, primarily theatre-based improvisation as well as movement, visual art, music, among other art forms, the parallel programs focus on the acquiring of skills and new perspectives, not just imagining the skills. I am very excited to be involved in this innovative program!
The arts can bring research to life by provoking a multi-sensory, multi-perspective, embodied experience that moves people to feel, think and be inspired.
As an accomplished playwright and director and as an emerging artist-researcher, I facilitate the creation of artistic work as a form of social analysis and as way to open up discussions about research processes and knowledge production. My past projects in brain injury, dementia, hemodialysis, and patient safety culture have instigated change in these clinical areas and have moved and inspired the general public.
I look forward to collaborating with members of the community and fellow researchers who want to change the world with their work. When art and research break boundaries, together the possibilities are endless.