Alysson Rheault, a research assistant with our Creative Practices Lab, recently presented a research poster at the Annual IPOS World Congress (August 2022).

She presented preliminary findings from our ongoing project “Community-based creative practices and visual research methods: Developing new understandings of a good life for people experiencing impairment”. Via this qualitative arts-based study, we are aiming to explore how we can gain new insights into a good life while living with impairment by using visual arts.

While our analysis of the data continues, we’ve garnered 3 preliminary themes from video recordings of the workshops, photographs of participants’ artwork, and individual follow-up interviews with 10 women living in the Ottawa Region who had experienced cancer.

Important elements of a good life highlighted by participants included:

Camaraderie: First, creating alongside each other and hearing other participants’ personal stories contributed to a sense of community, support, and camaraderie. As you can see in the findings section of the poster, this is reflected in Katey’s artwork titled Compassionate Lines. The black represents people taking different journeys in life, while the hands represent support received and given along the way.

Play: Secondly, workshops provided participants with an opportunity to play and try things outside their comfort zone. For instance, participants explored new mediums such as plaster seen in the image of our participant Ange’s heart.

Nature: Lastly, nature and taking part in activities such as walking in nature are other elements that enhance a good life. For example, Mary depicts a sunrise she saw one morning and explains that her artwork reminds her of this pleasurable and joyful moment.

Our work on this project continues as are currently working on creating a video summarizing our findings and showcasing participants’ artwork and stories.

Stay tuned for future updates and don’t hesitate to email Roanne for more information about this project and conference presentation at!