Arts-Based Research

Psychosocial stress commonly arises after experiencing cancer. Post-treatment is widely recognized as a critical transition, yet it can be difficult for individuals to find adequate resources to address emotional issues left unexamined during the treatment and diagnosis phases. The aim of this aspect of my research program is to find innovative and novel ways to explore distress throughout the cancer trajectory. Below are some examples of the projects that we have on the go, in order to further explore arts-based research in health. 

 Art and Well-being for Women with Cancer

We are beyond excited to announce a new upcoming project where we will deliver a series of fusion arts-based workshops to women with cancer in the Fall of 2017. Fusion art involves building texture, layering paint found images and objects, photo transfers and other dynamic combinations. The workshops will provide these women with an opportunity to utilize the creative process as a vehicle to find meaning within their experiences with cancer. Use of art and art therapies in cancer care has helped create avenues for expression and communication life.The overarching goal is to test the impact and feasibility of fusion arts-based workshops with an embedded qualitative component. We are conducting the study with women who are cancer survivors and who have completed acute treatment (i.e., surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy) to evaluate the impact of the workshop on distress (primary outcome) and personally valued activities (secondary outcome). If you are interested in participating see the poster below or contact Viviane Grandpierre at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

AWWC Poster

 Artists, Health Professionals, & Conceptualizations of Well-being

AWB Poster

Another upcoming project we have, explores the conceptualizations of health and well-being by artists in the Fall of 2017. The study aims to document conceptualizations of health and well-being by people who identify as both health professionals and artists. A secondary goal is to compare the two groups' conceptualizations of healthand well-being. We aim to accomplish this by asking: 

    What are the ways in which health and well-being are conceptualized by artists?

    What are the ways in which health and well-being are conceptualized by health professionals    who also identify as artists?

    How do conceptualizations of well-being by health professionals who are also artists compare to those of artists?

 If you or someone you know is interested in participating, contact Roanne Thomas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 ReVisioning Breast Cancer

Look for our recently submitted publications stemming from this meeting coming soon. The use of art-making as a form of reflective or creative practice by social scientists themselves, or for themselves, has been limited. In this project, we explored the impact of creating and art-making within our group of researchers. As a team, we represented sociology, psychology, nursing, occupational therapy, kinesiology, as well as interdisciplinary studies. 

Guided by the very talented Mary Pfaff, we engaged with various mixed media to explore our experiences as psychosocial cancer researchers. Our learnings may help to inform initiatives that other health researchers might undertake if choosing to expand beyond prevalent models of arts as intervention for those who are ill to more fully engage those who explore such lines of inquiry. A publication from this project is currently under review, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more. 

Figure 14

 Creative Writing

The goal of hte Creative Writing project was to develop and test a supportive, community-based writing intervention for women who have experienced breast cancer. I completed a pilot study in August & September 2014. In conjunction with a professional writer, we delivered a community-based intervention to 11 women (14 hours over 2 days) where the women participated in embodied writing exercises, collage, and breath and movement (tai chi/qi gong). This intervention had very positive reviews, and resulted in a community presentation and publications which can be found here.

Other Arts-Based Projects

In addition to creative writing, mixed media, and visual arts-based research, I also have extensive experience with photovoice. See our National Picture Project here for more information on using photovoice with inidividuals who have experienced cancer.  




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