Hospice films receiving international interest

A project featuring films made by John Taylor Hospice patients and families is helping share understanding of end of life issues around the globe.

Life:Moving includes six films created by people being cared for by the hospice and their families which were made in 2017. All were supported by the research team to create films looking at their lives and their thoughts around dying. Exhibited in Birmingham and at the Hospice UK conference that year, the project has now attracted international interest.

The project’s principal investigator and Warwick University Reader in Film and Television Studies Michele Aaron has been sharing Life:Moving in East Africa this September.

The 2nd Uganda Conference on Cancer and Palliative Care in Kampala (4-6 September) brought together experts from across Africa and beyond to discuss the latest research and developments in end of life care. The 6th African Palliative Care Association Conference (16-20 September) in Kigali was an even bigger and broader affair which enabled Michele to make strong links with end of life professionals from various African countries who are keen to follow the model of Life:Moving in their own organisations.

“The events have been really successful and the films have generated a great deal of interest. There is a desperate need to harness the power of film for therapeutic, empowerment and advocacy purposes in East Africa, and the Life:Moving project shows what can be done,” said Michele.

The trip also gave Michele the opportunity to share and discuss the films with medical students, young filmmakers and rural hospice staff during the visit.

Life:Moving saw professional film-maker Briony Campbell visiting John Taylor Hospice in Birmingham, facilitating patients and their families to make the films. Different patients chose to focus on different subjects – some celebrating their lives, others focussing on their thoughts at receiving a diagnosis for a terminal illness.

The project aimed to look not just at the film-making process but also at examining the ethics around filming real people in real end of life situations. Life:Moving has been exhibited in public places including St Barnabas Church in Erdington and Birmingham Repertory Theatre and has also been used in education settings.

In December 2017, Michele and Briony took the exhibition to Respublika! Community Media Arts Festival in Limassol in Cyprus and in early 2018 it was installed at Materia, a care and rehabilitation unit in Nicosia.

This October, Michele together with Jed Jerwood, former art psychotherapist at John Taylor Hospice, will also present Life:Moving at the 6th Public Health Palliative Care in Sydney, Australia. The films will also be screened as part of an accompanying arts festival there and then shared with communities in Sydney and Melbourne.

John Taylor Hospice CEO Penny Venables added: “It is really rewarding to know that films created by people we care for are being shared with national and international audiences. The films enabled our patients and family members to share their experiences in their own way through film.

“It’s very encouraging to know these films are now inspiring others to do the same. We hope the team is able to continue sharing this valuable research with more audiences into the future.”

For more information on Life: Moving click here.

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