Glasgow End of Life Studies Group members reveal their highlights of 2016

Published on: Author: guwebteam 2 Comments

What were your milestones, highlights, top tips and even low points in 2016? Our bloggers start the conversation with their notable moments from the year:

David Clark

It has been a terrific time for the project. In March I was able to lay out the scope of our ambitions at the Palliative Care Congress in Glasgow. During the year we forged active new collaborations with colleagues in Bangladesh, Denmark, Canada, Brazil, Norway, Spain and India, as well as people at the University of Glasgow.

Our first project publications and key concepts began to appear in important journals. Various case studies got into high gear. My book on the history of palliative medicine was published in the autumn and was very well received at the Hospice UK annual conference in Liverpool. The Wellcome Trust remained as supportive and interested as ever.

It was also the year in which I embarked on writing a new biography of Cicely Saunders – probably the most enjoyable, stimulating and daunting professional task I have ever undertaken.

Jackie Kandsberger

I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Palliative Care Congress in Glasgow in March as part of my orientation into the wider field of palliative care. Working to establish my survey and getting feedback from the survey methodology summer school in Cologne and from healthcare professionals felt like a great milestone, before getting ethics approval and recruiting my first participants to my PhD research. Writing for the blog was also a hugely rewarding experience that has opened up a whole new world of disseminating research and ideas with others, creating new connections. I was also thrilled to finally have my master’s project published.

I very much look forward to travelling to New York as part of the University of Glasgow’s Early Career Mobility Scheme in the new year, an experience which will allow me to practitioners and academics in New York and to make contacts at Columbia University.

Ben Colburn

It feels like it’s been a whirlwind year for me: I have joined the End of Life team, and have had a fascinating and rewarding time collaborating with colleagues both within and outwith Glasgow University. Particular highlights have included a series of thought-provoking conversations with the art department in the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow, and joining the Cross Party Group on End of Life Choices at the Scottish Parliament.

I’m looking forward to taking those collaborations on into 2017. I’m also excited about a series of workshops on autonomy and suffering at end of life that my colleague Dr Jennifer Corns and I are going to be running over the next couple of years: watch this space for further details!

Hamilton Inbadas

2016 has been a quite a busy and excellent year!

Launch of the Scottish Atlas of palliative care at the annual conference of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care in September was one of the big moments of the year. As our work on declarations on end of life issues continues to progress, it was great to get a paper on palliative care declarations published. I was also pleased to get the first paper from my PhD work published.

In January I attended the Northern Network for Medical Humanities and made a presentation on the importance of exploring philosophical contexts in the study of spirituality. I also got the opportunity to make an oral presentation on our research into ‘palliative care declarations’ at the 9th World Research Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care held at Dublin in June.

Our link with the ATLANTES project team has strengthened and it’s wonderful to have Jose Carrasco working with us for a year starting from September.

Besides academic work, it has also been excellent working with the board of Cairdeas International Palliative Care Trust as a trustee and at St John’s Scottish Episcopal Church in Dumfries as an associate priest.

Looking forward to the adventures of the New Year, including a plenary talk at the 24th International Conference of the Indian Association of Palliative Care to be held at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu and a visit to the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong to establish a research collaboration.

Shahaduz Zaman

2016 has been a very busy and fruitful year, and I have some good news to share. This year I have published a conceptual paper as a lead author, titled ‘Common or multiple futures for end of life care around the world? Ideas from the ‘waiting room of history’, in the prestigious journal ‘Social Science and Medicine’.

I also have received a competitive ESRC Global Challenges grant as Principal Investigator for a project titled, ‘Networks for research on death, dying and end of life care among Syrian refugees in Lebanon’, which will commence from January 2017. I am excited about this project as it will deal with a highly important and topical yet neglected issue.

I am happy that, this year, with the help of number of colleagues I was able to complete the production of an open learning course on ‘Global Trends in Death and Dying’, the first of its kind in the University of Glasgow. This will be launched early 2017 on a new Open University open learning platform so watch this space.

This year an evaluation of a slum-based palliative care project in Bangladesh has been completed under my supervision.

Finally I would like to mention the wonderful field work I did in Nadia, West Bengal, to observe a community-based palliative care project with Dr Devi Vijay of the Indian Institute of Management. As an experience, the field work was highly enriching, and Devi and I had a series of intellectually stimulating discussions. We are going to write a paper based on this field work, so again, please watch this space!

Catriona Forrest

This year I’ve enjoyed working in collaboration with several groups and organisations. A particular highlight has been our work with Age Scotland, organising death cafés and lectures for the public in Castle Douglas and for Age Scotland members in Sanquhar.

The success of these events is thanks to the enthusiastic participation of my academic colleagues, and the also everyone who attended. I’d like to thank Heather Baillie, Community Development Officer for Age Scotland, for all her hard work in setting up her rewarding end-of-life themed event and inviting Naomi Richards to give a lecture about death cafés, which you can watch again online.

The feedback we received showed there is an appetite for more, and I was delighted to hear from other individuals and organisations setting up death cafés in the Dumfries and Galloway area, and around the world.

Another highpoint of the year was our participation at the Orkney International Science Festival, with Hamilton and Zaman taking part in a series of lectures and public discussions in collaboration with Kate Jackson of ehospice and Professor Robin Taylor from Church of Scotland.

Our connection with the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care (SPPC) has been very rewarding this year. Hamilton Inbadas launched our Scottish Atlas of Palliative Care at the SPPC conference in Edinburgh in September, and as the first national atlas of its kind it received plenty of media attention. The SPPC team accommodated our changing requests with charm, with their CEO Mark Hazelwood taking a break from chairing the conference to do a television interview. Thank you Mark!

None of this would have been possible without the support of our colleagues at the University of Glasgow Communications and Public Affairs Office, and I’d like to give my special thanks to the team’s International Lead Liz Buie.

I made my usual visit to Sheffield Docfest in the summer, and it was interesting to see how high a proportion of the films focused on death and dying. I don’t want to spoil any films by listing the ones about death, but two were outstanding:

  • Dan Krauss’ short documentary Extremis, shot in an Intensive Care Unit, is not to be missed – it launched on Netflix in September 2016.
  • Tom Fassaert’s A Family Affair is another documentary which stuck in my mind, and I urge you to see it if you can.

I’d like to congratulate Clare Sturges in her BAFTA Cymru award for My Brief Eternity, a beautifully crafted short documentary about artist Osi Rhys Osmond working on his art during the late stages of his terminal cancer. Clare produced an animation for the launch of our project in 2015, and I suspect this second BAFTA won’t be her last.

Last but not least, my colleagues in the University of Glasgow social media team won a couple of major awards for their innovative and imaginative work. Congratulations all around!

We hope that you’ve had as interesting a year, and would love to hear about your highlights of 2016 and hopes for 2017 – why not leave a comment below?


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