Arts Symposium – St Columba’s Hospice Palliative Care, Edinburgh

The Arts Team at St Columba’s Hospice Care held its 4th annual international symposium for the arts in palliative care on Friday 10th November 2023. The symposium was held in our beautiful event space, No.17 and also, for first time as a hybrid event offering opportunities for online participation via Zoom.   

The event built on the spirit of our past symposia (2020, 2021, 2022) all of which were fully booked, attracting arts therapists, community artists, socially engaged arts practitioners as well as other professionals and scholars within and beyond palliative care internationally.  

This year’s theme – “The colours of dying” – brought to the fore the diversity of practices, contexts, research and theoretical approaches that paint the contemporary image of the arts in palliative care. Offering a vibrant and brave space for dialogue among people from different professional, disciplinary and sociocultural contexts was at the heart of this event. The symposium featured different types of presentations and topics including personal stories and examples, new emerging practices, critical perspectives on evidence as well as leadership and wider organisational issues for the arts in palliative care.   

Arts Symposium 2023 illustration

Symposium Programme

The programme includes five key thematic areas: i) Stories, Narratives and Lenses, ii) Knowledge and Evidence, iii) Leadership and Service Development, iv) Equality, Diversity and Marginalisation, and v) Spaces and Community flourishing. Some speakers will be attending in-person and some will be presenting online. 

Download the 2023 Programme

  • 09:30The Colours of Dying

    David Cameron, St Columba’s Hospice Care & University of Edinburgh, UK 
    Sara Smith, Queen Margaret University, UK  

    Giorgos Tsiris, St Columba’s Hospice Care & Queen Margaret University, UK 

  • 10:00Stories, Narratives & Lenses

    Curating daily life under extraordinary and ordinary circumstances  
    Michelle Elliot, Queen Margaret University, UK  

    The process of image-making and curation of participatory events in exploring how food is used to connect to and commemorate the dead  
    Alex Mascolo, University of Edinburgh, UK

  • 10:45Break
  • 11:15Knowledge & Evidence

    Building capacity for high-quality research on the role of music therapy in supporting informal carers of people at end-of-life’: MusiCARER project 
    Tracey McConnell, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland  

    What comes next? Experimenting with outre(sear)ch work during and in the aftermath of the Care for Music project 
    Wolfgang Schmid, University of Bergen, Norway 

  • 12:00Leadership & Service Development

    What’s the profile of arts services in hospices?  
    Rachel Drury, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland & Rachel House Children’s Hospice, UK 
    Giorgos Tsiris, St Columba’s Hospice Care & Queen Margaret University, UK 

    Discipline, disruption and danger: When a musician becomes the leader 
    Nigel Hartley, Mountbatten Hospice Group, UK 

  • 12:45Lunch Break
  • 13:30Workshops

    Colours and memory - Isla Macleod

    Once upon a time - Sally McRae

    Resonances, change, loss and death - Bruce Armstrong

    Reimagining hospice care - Giorgos Tsiris

  • 14:30Break
  • 14:45Re-gathering
  • 15:00Equality, Diversity & Marginalisation

    Queer and trans music therapy in palliative care 
    Colin Andrew Lee, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada 

    An equity-informed approach to advance care planning with underserved people and communities – The No Barriers Here Approach
    Jed Jerwood, NoBarriersHere & Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, UK  

  • 15:45Spaces & Community Flourishing

    “By indirection find direction out”: Creative approaches to grief and the end of life 
    Lesel Dawson, University of Bristol & Good Grief Festival, UK 

    The role of art in increasing skills and confidence around death, dying, loss and care within communities 
    Rebecca Patterson, Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, UK 

  • 16:30Endings