Dance Atelier 2, Level 3, Stephen Riady Centre, 2 College Ave West, Singapore 138607 • Map
What does it mean to live well and leave well? And what role can the arts play in expanding quality of life? This panel draws on Both Sides, Now (2013-2023), a multi-disciplinary community-engaged project, and the play A Good Death (2018) and its afterlife as possible models of study. Exploring the notion of care in relation to arts practice and end-of-life, the speakers will reflect on how the arts may enrich the spaces and processes involved in starting and sustaining such conversations. The panel will also explore the ways in which palliative care, bereavement and the arts intersect, and how overlapping approaches can help dying patients and surviving loved ones to cope with loss and grief.
A Good Death as Art and Arts-based Education
This sharing will be about the creation process for A Good Death, a 2018 Esplanade’s The Studios production, and its afterlife as arts-based education at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre. A Good Death follows Dr. Leong, a palliative care doctor, as she journeys with her patients through their final days while navigating family relationships and caregiving for her father with dementia. The play was birthed from a year’s worth of research by playwright Faith Ng, who shadowed and interviewed palliative care doctors, nurses, and specialists, as well as patients and their families, and further developed in the rehearsal and devising process with actress Karen Tan and director Chen Yingxuan.
Uncovering Palliative Care Jamie Zhou Palliative care is derived from the Latin word pallium, which means, to ‘cloak’. In this context, it is to alleviate the symptoms of an illness even if it cannot be cured. Often a complex topic fraught with difficult concepts, ethical arguments and emotive perspectives, palliative care is nonetheless an important curriculum in healthcare education. Palliative care is taught in all three medical schools through lectures and clinical rotations. Yet, these conventional ways of teaching palliative care can only uncover the surface of its complexities. Incorporating the arts in medical education has opened a new horizon to reach the depths and breadth of palliative care. This talk gives an overview of the past and present ways of teaching medical students about palliative care.
Bridging Conversations: A Look at End-of-Life From Both Sides Adib Kosnan This talk will be a reflection on creating space in the community to have end-of-life conversations through the immersive arts experience of Both Sides, Now. It will look at how different communities engage in difficult conversations around end-of-life issues and how art allows for space to begin and continue these conversations.
Living well and leaving well in the arena of End-of-life Care: What does it take? Lee Geok Ling Living well and leaving well in the face of impending death is hard work for both the dying patients and their surviving loved ones. Yet, living well and leaving well are so needed for the dying persons and their surviving loved ones to maintain some quality of life while living with an illness, to reduce the negative impact of the loss, and for the surviving loved ones to better manage the subsequent grief at bereavement. It is essential to look into helping the dying patients and the surviving loved ones to achieve a new equilibrium, cope with the loss constructively, and manage their grieving process well.
Assistant Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies, National University of Singapore
Actor, playwright and director
Artist and screenwriter
Dr Jamie Zhou
Palliative Care Physician, National Cancer Centre Singapore
Associate Professor Lee Geok Ling
Associate Professor & Head of Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore
Alvin Eng Hui Lim is a performance, religion and theatre researcher. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Linguistics, and Theatre Studies at the National University of Singapore. He holds a PhD in Theatre Studies jointly awarded by the National University of Singapore and King’s College London. He is also Deputy Director and Technology and Online Editor (Mandarin) of the Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive (A|S|I|A). Lim’s first monograph, titled Digital Spirits in Religion and Media: Possession and Performance (2018), studies how lived religious practices in contemporary Singapore perform in combination with digital technology. He has also published on theatre, translation, digital archiving, and religious performance in Singapore.
Adib Kosnan has been creating works in the Singapore theatre scene as an actor, playwright and director since his first production in 2003. He is also an educator and a regular facilitator for interactive and forum theatre productions.
He has worked with TheatreWorks, Checkpoint Theatre, The Necessary Stage, Drama Box, Teater Ekamatra and Teater Kami among others. He was also named Best Supporting Actor in the Life Theatre Awards in 2020 for his role in Angkat After being nominated for best script in 2018 (28.8 by Teater Kami) and for best supporting actor in 2019 (0600 by Ground-Z0).
Adib enjoys the collaborative nature of theatre and is especially interested in improvisation and forum theatre. He is currently Associate Artist at Checkpoint Theatre.
Chen Yingxuan is a Singapore artist, described as one of the most exciting directors of her generation (The Business Times, 2016).
Her directorial works include A Grand Design (Checkpoint Theatre, 2020), which she dramaturged with Huzir Sulaiman, Mergers and Accusations (Esplanade’s The Studios 2019), A Good Death (Esplanade’s The Studios 2018), and The Car (Esplanade’s Feed Your Imagination 2017). She has also directed works for M1 Singapore Fringe Festival (2015 and 2018), The Twenty-Something Theatre Festival (2016), Singapore Writers Festival (2015), and Lit Up Festival (2014), working with playwrights such as Joel Tan and Faith Ng.
Yingxuan is also a screenwriter whose short film, Move Out Notice (2015), was nominated for Best Script at the Singapore Short Film Awards and received recognition at the Los Angeles Asia Pacific Film Festival, Seoul International Extreme-Short Image & Film Festival, Ile Courts International Short Film Festival, San Diego Film Festival, Beeston Film Festival, and APA Film. She co-wrote Mediacorp’s telemovie, Hong Baos and Kisses (2014), directed by Wee Li Lin.
Passionate about supporting the Singapore arts scene and ecosystem, she worked at the National Arts Council for ten years on various policies, support schemes and pilot projects, and was Assistant Director (Theatre) from 2020-2023.
She is also working in the field of arts and health with institutions such as Duke-NUS Medical School, where she utilises the arts to enhance medical education and patient experience.
Find out more about her work at www.chenyingxuan.com
Dr Jamie Zhou is a palliative care physician working at the National Cancer Centre Singapore. She is an educator at the Lien Centre for Palliative Care, Duke-NUS School of Medicine, and has a special interest in communication skills training and medical humanities.
Lee Geok Ling is Associate Professor and Head with the Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore. She is also a registered social worker with the Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW), a Fellow in Thanatology (FT) with the Association of Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) based in United States, and an invited member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement (IWG). Currently, she is appointed by the Singapore Hospice Council as a workgroup member to develop national guidelines for psychosocial and spiritual care service delivery. She was also an appointed member of the National Strategy for Palliative Care Review Workgroup, MOH. Her research areas include death, dying and bereavement; loss and grief; caregiving; quality of life; palliative care and end-of-life care.