14 September 2023

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Creative arts therapies conference brings medics and therapists together

Facing Death Creatively

Mandy Bruce tells us more about this fully interactive and engaging conference

Sculpture, storytelling, song, paintings, poetry, dance and drama. Some of the UK’s finest exponents of using these for therapy as part of a holistic approach to palliative care will be gathered at St Christopher’s sixth Facing Death Creatively conference on 30 October.

Mandy Bruce, St Christopher’s Psychological and Spiritual Service Lead, has curated the conference with the intention of making it a shop window, providing therapists with a platform to show medical professionals what they have to offer.

In pulling together the eclectic programme, Mandy says she was looking for people across the full range of disciplines of creative therapy who could speak to a contemplative and compassionate way of working and help delegates see the full scope of what’s possible and available.

Perhaps more than anything else, Mandy wants health professionals to see first-hand what creative therapists have to offer palliative care.

She adds: “As well as gathering creative therapists together I’m really keen that medics, physios, occupational therapists and others in the healthcare community, come and better understand what we do. Often, I think they’ll have a sense of it, but don’t really know and maybe don’t have the time to find out. Facing Death Creatively will be a fantastic chance to go a bit deeper and see how the creative therapies tackle psychological elements of Total Pain effectively.”

That’s the official theme of this year’s event: The creative contribution to addressing elements of ‘Total Pain’ – creative therapies in palliative care. Mandy hopes it will help professionals see the important role creative therapists play in tackling people’s psychological and spiritual pain.

While the invitation for health and social care professionals is to come and discover, for the creative therapist community, Mandy sees the conference as a rare chance for them to come together.

“It’s a brilliant opportunity for us to connect and network, get new ideas and leave feeling nurtured and inspired,”

In terms of the content and style of the day, delegates can look forward to interactive workshops and events, engaging performances, several networking opportunities and an all-round experiential day, including a fabulous vegetarian lunch!

Among the speakers/performers and workshop facilitators are:

  • Deborah Kelly, Integrative Art Psychotherapist, exploring Nature and the Cycle of the Seasons as a therapeutic container in palliative care
  • Peter Darby-Knight – Drama Therapist – Once upon a time: The Power of story when facing death
  • Linsey Clark, Dance Movement Psychotherapist takes a creative approach to palliative care in a session called: When the door is shut, we shut everything out, it’s a miracle!

Delegates will also get to enjoy performances from spoken word poet, Molly Case, a nurse at St Christopher’s, and from Threshold Choir, a volunteer collection of singers who perform comforting songs at people’s bedside.

In the fabulous atrium space at St Christopher’s CARE, artist Lilly Meikle, who works in the St Christopher’s bereavement team, will be displaying some of her nature inspired work which helps her to process grief, alongside pieces created by people being supported by our Community Action Team.

The day will be rounded off by what Mandy anticipates will be one of the event’s highlights – a talk by California-based, St Christopher’s-trained doctor, Michael Kearney, who is releasing his much anticipated new book in October.

To find out more about this fully interactive and engaging conference and to book your place, click here. Do so by 30 September and you’ll be able to take advantage of the early bird price of £99.

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