Title of ArticleCreating a symbol of hope for 2021
Type of ArticleIdeas and Influences
Author/sNicola Drayton
ReferenceVolume 12, Issue 1, Article 10
Date of PublicationMay 2022
KeywordsArts-informed approaches, Covid-19, creative expression, hope, human flourishing

The idea behind our project was to encourage nursing and midwifery teams to create artistic symbols of hope amid the challenges posed by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Our experiences working with teams using arts-informed approaches have shown us that they offer a space for deeper reflection and a change from more traditional reflection models. The outcome of such projects are unique visual representations of what a subject or event means to the team, and of their emotions and experiences. These are displayed in individual wards and units for all staff, patients, relatives and other visitors to see, often becoming a focal point for conversation.

In November 2020, our practice development unit invited teams from across the local health district to create a symbol of hope for 2021. This was inspired by reading an article in AI Practitioner, the international journal of appreciative inquiry, entitled ‘Hope and appreciative inquiry during a pandemic’ (Houston, 2020). The author describes hope as something that is ‘an inescapable part of being a human. Both aspiration, belief in our future and reflection, how we view our past’ (p 49). The importance of finding reasons to ‘live, share, cry, sing, laugh, love, be fearful’ (p 51) is also expressed, with the contention that embracing these as our strengths is where hope lies.

One aspect of the work of the practice development unit is inspiring nurses and midwives to capture the essence of experiences that occur in everyday practice using creative approaches. Arts-informed approaches provide a way for individuals and teams to express their experiences, thoughts and feelings visually and creatively (McCormack and Titchen, 2006; Horsfall and Titchen, 2009).

Creative approaches such as painting, photo elicitation, creative writing, music and dancing can be used to engage our senses, helping us to access, pay attention to and express feelings and experiences, that might initially be difficult to put into words (Horsfall and Titchen, 2009; Sullivan, 2012; Weber, 2012). This is referred to as embodied knowledge, in which the body is the source of knowing rather than the mind (Weber, 2012).

This article by Nicola Drayton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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