WELL BEING is an open lecture series organized by the Art Education Department of the Iceland Academy of the Arts.
The lecture will take place in LHÍ Laugarnesi, Laugarnesvegi 91.
Lecturer: Sarah Pini, Associate Professor, University of Southern Denmark.
Transforming illness experience: co-creative dance practices for young cancer survivors
Dance and the creative arts offer powerful tools to support coping with illness and finding meaning after disruptive life events. This talk offers an account of a lived experience of cancer and how illness—as a disruptive event—enables philosophical reflection and the exploration of ‘other’ ways of being-in-the-world. Based on video material collected over ten years of cancer treatments, dance performances and creative embodied practices, I drew on an autoethnographic and phenomenological approach to illness to provide insights into forms of embodiment that expand and enrich biomedical perspectives of the body. 
This work provides the theoretical underpinnings of a research project that explore the healing potential of engaging in co-creative dance practices for young cancer survivors. Cancer rehabilitation often entails a long and difficult process, as undergoing the stressful and traumatic experience of illness and cancer treatments can lead to a diminished sense of agency. 
Through qualitative research methods, and an interdisciplinary methodology including an ethnographic approach, narrative perspectives, and video-graphic documentation, the project investigates how dance as a creative and expressive form of movement may rehabilitate not only patients’ physical body, but also their sense of agency and identity. Dance, a form of physical activity that incorporates elements of creativity, self-expression, and social interaction, has the potential to provide a holistic form of rehabilitation for cancer survivors.
Sarah Pini is Associate Professor in dance and movement practices at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). She works at the intersection of arts and health, cultural and medical anthropology, phenomenology of the body and illness, performing arts, dance, and embodied cognition. Her research focuses on the human body as a socio-cultural phenomenon, exploring the relationships between mindful dancing bodies, practices, environments, and cultural contexts, and how such entanglements shape processes of meaning-making, healing, and well-being. Sarah’s research has been published in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet, Synthese, Performance Research, Collaborative Embodied Performance: Ecologies of Skill (Bloomsbury), and The Australian Journal of Anthropology, among others. www.sarahpini.com