Image shown: Impressions of the Sea. Image credit: Sean O'Hagan.

Tracing Autonomy is a collaboration between artists Jeni Pearson and Kirsty Stansfield and philosopher Dr Ben Colburn exploring autonomy, creativity and end of life. The project has grown out of a wider investigation of how Colburn’s academic research on the nature and value of individual autonomy might evaluate and enrich practice in end of life care, especially non-therapeutic elements like the Creative Arts Service delivered by Stansfield and Pearson at The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice, Glasgow. The first phase of the project is being presented through the newly launched website

Central to living a good life is the value of autonomy: deciding for yourself what is valuable and living your life in accordance with that decision. Autonomy is an ideal of self-authorship. Being author of your life means shaping it to reflect your values and ambitions, taking responsibility for the course it takes, and forging reciprocal moral relationships (of trust, care and need) with others, helping shape their lives and letting them shape ours too.’ – Dr Ben Colburn

The Tracing Autonomy project offers a holistic framework for reflecting on and thinking about how we interact and relate to others. Tracing Autonomy is for clinical and arts practitioners working within health care, social care and arts in health care settings.

Pearson and Stansfield have been working with clinical and family support staff at The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice to use autonomy as the basis for reflective practice. These sessions have been designed to support staff in their clinical practice, specifically in reviewing and assessing patient or client needs using the holistic assessment central to palliative care.

In summer 2019, arts-based methods will be used to deepen this knowledge and experience of autonomy further, involving patients and clinical staff.

Several Tracing Autonomy workshops have taken place so far, including one at Check up, Check in in Cork 2018.

Downloadable resources will be available from the website to support the use of autonomy as a reflective framework.

This interdisciplinary project is supported by a Knowledge Exchange & Impact Award from the University of Glasgow and The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow.

Contact email: Kirsty Stansfield
Facebook / Twitter: @tracingautonomy


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