Tag Archives: Illness

Symbols of Living In-Between: Re-stor(y)ing Life Within Life-Threatening Illness


April 13 – June 4, 2012

Legacy Maltwood (at Mearns Centre – McPherson Library)

Curated Robbyn Gordon Lanning

Explores people living with three life-threatening illnesses (HIV/AIDS, cancer, and chronic kidney disease) and how they represent their experiences through symbols.

Advances in science and healthcare have allowed people with life-threatening illnesses to live longer and healthier lives. But the outcomes of treatment are uncertain and the experience of living in-between a promise of prolonged life, and the possibility of illness reoccurring and progressing, is often misunderstood.

Thirty-two people diagnosed with a life-threatening illness (cancer, chronic kidney disease, and HIV/AIDS) volunteered for an interview. They were asked to identify a symbol that represented their experience with their diagnosed illness. Symbols of living in-between: Re-stor(y)ing life within life-threatening illness is the collective effort from a team of nurse researchers seeking new insights into the experiences of individuals that live with the uncertainty of a serious illness.

This exhibit shares a selection of these important images and stories with the public. Symbols range from personal objects and medical documents to favourite music, clothing, and family photographs. Narratives from the participants and poems produced by the research team accompany the stories of these individuals living with a life-threatening illness.  The symbols and narratives highlight how living with a life-threatening illness is much more than a “medical story.”

Symbols of living in-between: Re-stor(y)ing life within life-threatening illness is a travelling exhibit and will be displayed in multiple spaces from galleries to healthcare facilities. This exhibit is part of a larger study entitled Re-stor(y)ing Life Within Life-Threatening Illness.  The Re-stor(y)ing project has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).  KRESCENT and the Kidney Foundation of Canada has provided additional support.