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Eileen Downs

Eileen Downs research is titled:

An exploration of the use of art based research in assisting parents in make and share memories following the loss of a baby.

This proposal links the applicants practice as a fine artist (ceramics) and Clinical Educator working in a Health Care setting and aims to explore whether arts based research can be used to assist parents in both the making and sharing of memories following the loss of a baby. The beneficial effect of creating memories has been explained in terms of a parents need to “hold on” rather than “let go” of their baby. Holding on is thought to assist in creating a biography for the lost child that includes “imagined, or wished-for, rather than lived, experience” by means of images, artefacts and narratives (Riches & Dawson, 1998). Such memorialisation serves to incorporate the dead baby into the family biography as well as the wider society (Godel, 2007, p. 259).

Arts related research is within this context is defined as research that uses the arts in the broadest sense to explore , understand and represent human action and experience, which has emerged as a concept and practice to support multidisciplinary interaction between art and social science (Wimpenny 2014). The use of ceramic and print as a method of creative expression offers a sense of permanence, something tangible as a way for parents and families to make sense and create meaning of their loss.

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