On Sunday 3rd of June I was given the opportunity to talk for a few minutes at the British Museum about my journey from being a cancer patient, to being a research project participant, to being an advocate for arts in health. This was at the Arts, Materiality and Representation Conference, jointly held by the British Museum and SOAS, which attracts hundreds of papers and attendees. It was wonderful to be given a platform to share my experience, as well as my art (which I never imagined would be on a big screen in the British Museum), to help promote arts and health, and also arts in research.
It was through participating in Dr Sofia Vougioukalou’s research project – Living Alone with Cancer Explorations – led by Cardiff University, which led me to starting up the Breast Cancer Art Project last year. In her words, ” (it is) fantastic to see small grants having a big impact – this is the power of co-production and meaningful patient and public involvement in all stages of the research cycle.” Sofia can be proud that she’s engaged patients in a way that is meaningful to them and even helped them during their experience of cancer, in addition to contributing to her research. You can view the fantastic booklet, a compilation of artwork produced from her project, here.
To invite me, as a project participant, to present alongside her, Sofia has really embraced co-production of science and knowledge. I’m looking forward to thinking about ways in which the Breast Cancer Art Project can work with Sofia and other researchers in the future.