Public event to explore heart disease through art

An upcoming Brock University event is using art to help the community understand what it’s like to live with heart disease.

Held in conjunction with Heart Month, ‘He-art-istic Journeys’ will share recent arts-based data on health-related human experiences. The public event will take place Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Brock’s Sean O’Sullivan Theatre.

Hosted by Brock researcher Sheila O’Keefe-McCarthy and the Heart Innovation Research Program team, He-art-istic Journeys provides a glimpse into the team’s arts-based projects that explore life with heart disease, including the emotional burden of living with a diagnosis.

According to Health Canada, about one in 12 (or 2.6 million) Canadians aged 20 and older live with diagnosed heart disease.

In addition to its focus on heart disease, the event will also share the experiences of nurses during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The evening will include artistic presentations of poems, songs and artwork.

“Art is a very effective way to learn and remember because you use your whole human body, heart and soul to take that knowledge up,” says O’Keefe-McCarthy, an Associate Professor in the Department of Nursing and a registered nurse who has worked for more than 30 years in clinical practice.

The evening will also see cast members from the ‘Heart-DIS-ease PlaY’ interact with the audience to enhance engagement.

“This type of involvement, known as applied theatre, is a form of education and research that uses the benefits of having very impactful conversations in the context of theatre,” O’Keefe-McCarthy says. “By workshopping a scene, we will be creating a creative, safe and reciprocal space for learning and reflective practices.”

The interactional information session will be followed by a reception with a chance to discuss the highlighted research and creations with the artists.

‘He-art-istic Journeys’ is intended for the general public, health-care providers, students, those affected by health-related illness, researchers, educators and artists.

This event is free but registration is required. Guests are asked to consider bringing a donation for Heart Niagara.

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