Mixed media is simply the use of multiple materials to create art. In research, mixed media can convey complex experiences in ways that are accessible to a range of audiences, while participants find that engaging with mixed media can promote a sense of well-being. Mixed media workshops are offered as part of my research program for people with cancer. Workshops are also available for the broader community.
Our research shows that many cancer survivors do not attend support groups because they traditionally focus on talking, rather than doing. In our study on well-being for women with cancer, participants said they preferred to engage with creative activities. Interestingly, these activities promoted the development of hope and coping skills, without explicit discussions of cancer experiences.
What happens when health researchers focus on their own experiences, rather than those of patients? Guided by an artist, Mary Pfaff, our research group engaged with various mixed media to explore our experiences as psychosocial cancer researchers. Please email Roanne if you would like a copy of the resulting article, published in the journal Arts & Health.
Collage, combined with writing or drawing, helped to foster hope and coping skills as part of a supportive program for people living with lymphedema after cancer. Collaging helped to prompt dialogue about key issues for people coping with the impact of two illnesses – cancer and lymphedema.
Thomas, R., Hamilton, R. (2016) Composing hope through collage: A community-based intervention for cancer survivors living with lymphedema. Health Psychology Open, 3(2). https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2055102916657674