This World Creativity and Innovation Week, the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health Journal features the creative works from our funded Art Therapy program.
World Creativity and Innovation Week (April 15-21) is a worldwide movement dedicated to celebrating all forms of creativity. The aim of WCIW mission is simple: to encourage people to use new ideas, make new decisions, and take the steps towards making the world better through creative thinking.
Our clinical care pillar provides dedicated program funding designed to enrich and enhance a child’s cancer treatment by fostering creativity, play and expression.
In 2021, The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health Journal will feature artwork created by children in the art therapy program at RCH. We couldn’t think of a more perfect week to share this meaningful and creative collaboration than World Creativity and Innovation Week.
Find out more below…
By Udani Samarasekera
A diagnosis of cancer for a child or adolescent is a personal and familial crisis. It marks the start of treatment, an exhausting and emotional process, which can involve long periods in hospital. In 2020, young patients faced an additional challenge: the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore with admiration and gratitude that we announce that the journal’s covers for 2021 are by oncology patients at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne, Australia: art created amid these personal and global crises.
The RCH art therapy program is based in the hospital’s Children’s Cancer Centre. Before the pandemic, the art therapists offered both individual and group sessions for patients and their families in inpatient and outpatient settings. During the pandemic, the art therapists are continuing to see patients at their bedside, with social distancing and COVID-safe practices in place. Matilda Dawson, art therapist at RCH, says: “Predominantly our work is process driven, about the act of artmaking and the experience of expression rather than the end product. We often use artmaking as a discussion piece to reflect on the child’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences during hospitalisation.”
The artwork that has been selected for the journal’s 2021 covers include photographs of striking three-dimensional pieces. Sophie, age 18 years, has created art from her medication entitled “Arrangement of pills”, a reflection of her cancer journey. Bella, age 6 years, along with her family and the art therapy team, has produced an intricate and detailed piece based on her hospital room and experience, completed throughout her long admission. Paintings also form several of the covers. 10-year-old Ivy has painted a self-portrait of her wearing a red cape joyfully entitled “Super Ivy”. Aidan, age 5 years, has painted a bright landscape with trees and sunshine. Nell, Aidan’s mother, says: “The art therapy program gave Aidan an hour of respite where he could forget where he was for a while and just be a normal child. It was a creative outlet for him, in a time where all other options had been shut off due to COVID.”
This article first appeared in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health Journal, Vol 5 January 2021. www.thelancet.com/child-adolescent
About the journal
The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health is an independent journal with an international perspective, and a strong clinical focus. The monthly journal presents the most influential and innovative practice-changing original research, as well as authoritative reviews and insightful opinion pieces to promote the health of the whole child, from the fetal period through to young adulthood.