ADOLESCENT IDIOPATHIC SCOLIOSIS: Interdisciplinary Creative Art Practice and Nature Connections

Catherine Baker, Nina Morris, Athanasio Tsiriko, Olga Fotakopoulou, Flora Parrott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine with the large majority of cases classed as idiopathic, meaning there is no known cause. Typically, most cases occur in children and young people affecting approximately three per cent of the adult populace with five out of six cases being female. The BackBone: Interdisciplinary Creative Practices and Body Positive Resilience pilot research study used arts and humanities methods to measure the impact of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) on well-being and body perception. The research aimed to contribute to a better understanding of alternative treatments towards improving quality of life in young women diagnosed with AIS. In particular, concentrating on two highlighted priorities from the Scoliosis Priority Setting Partnership: (1) How is quality of life affected by scoliosis and its treatment? How can we measure this in ways that are meaningful to patients? (2) How are the psychological impacts (including on body image) of diagnosis and treatment best managed.

Using established medical techniques, art-based workshops, and focus groups with postoperative participants with AIS and their families we gathered both quantitative and qualitative data. The workshops explored the aesthetics of imperfection through material investigations that focus on the body as both an object and how it is experienced using the metaphor of tree images. Drawing parallels between the growth patterns of trees that, for complex and often unknown reasons, have grown unexpectedly we explored questions around ideological notions of perfect growth through art-making in a non-clinical setting. Uniquely, the pilot project sought to draw on insights from four key disciplines (art, medicine, psychology and human geography), thinking across boundaries to evoke different ways of knowing and understanding the complexities of body perception through image-making.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Humanities
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2023


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