Arts for Health: Visual Perspectives in Multiple Sclerosis

Thursday, May 29, 2014
Trinity Exhibit Hall
Susan E Agland, RN MSCN , MS Clinic, Neurology, Hunter New England Local Health District, Newcastle, Australia

Background: In 2013 the John Hunter Hospital Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Clinic  in Australia faciltated an alternative type of support group, an art workshop. The theme for the workshop was Emerging Images.

Objectives: The poster will discuss using art as a means to health and wellness, review the literature about art in the health arena and illustrate the benefits of this alternative type of support group. This project also draws on the personal experience of participating in the workshop, in a small thematic analysis.

Methods: People that attended the MS Clinic were invited to participate in the workshop; a programme that lasted 6 weeks and culminated in the creation of personal and collaborative pieces of art. The weekly sessions were facilitated by an established artist who encouraged the small group to draw on their experience of having MS in creating their pieces. The works were exhibited in the annual Arts for Health MS Awareness Exhibition.

Results: not applicable

Conclusions: This poster will describe a unique support programme and discuss using art and creating art for wellness. More primary health facilities use art to promote health issues and encourage an illuminating, diverting and soothing environment. In the MS arena it provides an opportunity to share artful ideas, to be socially connected, and support one another in their experience of  MS.