Poetry, Prose and Film in Palliative Care Rotating Header Image

Masterclass: ‘Reading (poetry and short prose) aloud for discussion and enhanced wellbeing’

On The Rocks Festival

Join Dr. Riccobono and Fiona Gilmour in collaboration with OTR for a poetry masterclass. This events aims to use poetry reading and discussion, through its potential ability to facilitate pause, mutual listening and storytelling, to strengthen wellbeing. This event is supported by the St Andrews Poetry Forum.

The interactive masterclass will offer the chance to work with some experiential and kinaesthetic learning  and some practice at note taking / poetry writing during the On The Rocks Festival in St Andrews, on 10th April 2019. This is part of the public engagement for ‘Poetry as Unifying Shared Experience’ part of the larger research project ‘Poetry, Prose and Film in Palliative Care’.

The Byre Theatre, Studio, 10 April 2019, 4pm


Follow this link: https://www.ontherocksfestival.com/copy-of-dance?fbclid=IwAR3F26p-n1M3DhUqJpSLPzqu6-yZBEhLH1A6UBz4eVYHaTDJy-ROnpUSdeY

A Reflection on the Networking Day Event

A Reflection on the Networking Day Event.

Poetry and Film in Palliative Care: Reflections on Holistic Approaches to End of Life Care

by Fiona Gilmour


Event Date: 17thOctober 2018, 10am-5pm

Hosted By: St. Andrews University

Location: Byre Theatre, St. Andrews

Organiser:  Rossella M Riccobono

Funders: The Italian Culture Institute in Edinburgh & The Russell Trust Development Fund


Keynote Speakers:

Rossella M. Riccobono (University of St Andrews)

Erna Haralsdottir (St. Columba’s Hospice and Queen Margaret University)

Fiona Gilmour (Four Seasons Health Care & University of St Andrews)

Suzie Stark (Chaplain at St. Columba’s Hospice)

Sarah Collins (University of Manchester & ‘Remarkable Lines’)

John Killick (Poet)

Giancarlo Sissa (Poet, Actor, Educator)

Margherita Carlotti (University of St Andrews)

Susan Chater (St. Columba’s Hospice)

Mary Gilles (GP)

Amy Hardie (Film Director)


The themes of the networking day were poetry and film as instruments to inspire holistic approaches to palliative care. Speakers and specialist considered and debated holistic practices to support people approaching end of life. This included healthcare professionals, people working in palliative care, poets, arts therapists, academics, a film director and an acting company. Presentations covered a range of topics, contributing evidence and experiences from practice.

Themes from the day included:

  1. Exploring the needs of people in palliative and end of life care (patients, professionals, family members etc.)
  2. ‘Being with’ and listening as enablers of therapeutic relationships.
  3. Creative and holistic approaches can facilitate expression and capture narrative (e.g. film, drama, poetry)

The day commenced with a welcome by Sean Allan, professor of German and Head of Modern Languages at The University of St. Andrews.  This opening eloquently captured the essence of the day. Rossella Riccobono offered further context to the day and her passion for medical humanities reinforced the significance of the event. She also read a short introductory text and a poem by poet Myra Schneider, who was unable to attend the event. Followed were the keynote speakers, separated by breaks and time for workshopping and discussion.

As the day developed, creativity and discussion flowed. The networking event united people from diverse backgrounds and professions who were curious to learn and explore holistic approaches to palliative care and to consider what they could offer to the practice. Reflecting on the needs of patients, families and healthcare professional in palliative care enabled the network to consider how holistic practices could support these needs. The group dedicated discussions to understanding approaches to listening and ‘being with’ people approaching end of life.

Throughout the event, there were a number of poignant moments, interestingly permitting the network to practice ‘being with’. In testimony to the warmness of the day, a member of the network voluntarily shared their experience of living with cancer and facing death; An Italian poet shared with network a poem spoken in Italian; and, a drama company performance demonstrated that acting could prepare people to engage with experiences of health care and ill health.  In the evening, film director Amy Hardie invited the network and public to a viewing of her powerful documentary ‘Seven Songs for a Long Life’, which explores connections with mortality.

Event organisers and speakers created a workbook for the day. The workbook included the programme for the day, information about the speakers and exercises that the speakers had prepared. The exercises aimed to encourage discussions and debates relating to the presentations within workshopping time. The organisers invited participants to note responses and feedback within the workbooks. During discussion participants commented on the value of the workbooks as a resource to capture thoughts from the day. Remarks also included that the event challenged participants to consider the power of words and their therapeutic worth.  It seemed that people had taken time to ponder their responses to the exercises and embraced the challenges posed.

For future events, we will encourage attendees to share content on social media. An organised twitter hashtag could capture feedback and support dissemination.

The opening image of the ‘word butterfly’ embodies some thoughts and expressions from the day.

Networking Day, 17 October 2018

Reflections on Holistic Approaches to End of Life Care

University of St Andrews, Byre Theatre, Lawrence Levy Studio

17th October 2018, 10am-5pm


The event will host a number of select invited speakers and specialists in palliative care and art therapy, an acting company who work with medical humanities, a film director, a poet and educator, postgraduate students working on poetry and the sick body, and a selection of academics to debate the validity of the project ‘Poetry and Film in Palliative Care’.

The day will open with a presentation by the Investigators, a report on the Literature Review conducted by a research assistant, to outline the genesis of the project, its academic insights and therapeutic effects.

The afternoon will be dedicated to hearing and debating various experiences by artists, educators, and a film director. The day will be accompanied by plenty of group workshopping, pop-up acting and reflection on poetry and film as therapy.

The event will also be completed by a Byre World event, in the same venue, where Amy Hardie’s documentary ‘Seven Songs for a Long Life’ will be projected to the public of St Andrews town, in order to ensure that the project is open to public engagement. The Film Projection will be preceded by a short performance, and followed by a 15-minute inspiring workshop with the audience and a Q+A with the film director, Amy Hardie.

Note: The day event 10am-5pm is open by invitation only and is strictly for the members of  the Network.

The evening event is open to the public.

Programme: http://poetryfilmcare.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/events/programme/


This event is sponsored by

The Italian Cultural Institute in Edinburgh & The Russell Trust Development Fund