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School of Nursing and Midwifery and WAAPA combine to celebrate the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

Monday, 26 October 2020


Ms Helen Hanson (née Searle) – Bachelor of Performing Arts and Bachelor of Creative Industries - and Dr Lucinda Coleman – PhD (Performing Arts) have been chosen as the inaugural winners of the ECU Commissions: the Arts in Society.

The two WAAPA graduates were chosen among 26 of their peers and have each been successful in securing a $7,500 commission, to create a new short work celebrating the 2020 International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. This is a collaborative project established by ECU's School of Nursing and Midwifery and WAAPA.

Continued from Alumni News...

Ms Helen Hanson

In addition, to working as an actor, screenwriter and director, Ms Hanson is also a Registered Nurse, making her uniquely qualified for this project. She is proud to see nurses being acknowledged for their impact in the community.

“It’s wonderful to acknowledge nurses and medical people around the world for what they do. Nurses operate in a really pragmatic but also compassionate way; we’re trained to sit down and listen to people and hear the most horrific stories,” she says.

Ms Hanson’s film comes from a “real life” experience of a friend and former colleague, following the journey of a nurse on the way home after a 12-hour shift, and the various encounters that she experiences with members of the community.

“People approach you as a nurse, they talk to you more often if they see you in uniform, they tend to engage with you in a different way than the general public. That’s been my experience all my life since I studied nursing back in the dark ages,” says Ms Hanson.

Ms Hanson says the secret to good storytelling is to have clear objectives and detailed descriptions of each character before you begin to write and work out what makes your story unique.

Dr Lucinda Coleman

Meanwhile, Dr Lucinda Coleman's work will take the form of a contemporary dance film in response to significant formative experiences of Registered Nurses/Registered Midwifes at ECU.

Dr Coleman interviewed thirteen nurses/midwives to explore what were the experiences that shaped the nurses’ becoming, and the recorded text will form the basis of the soundscape for the dance film.

“The genre of screendance provides an innovative space to creatively engage with the voice of the nurse from within her own profession,” explains Dr Coleman.

“Stories can be beautifully depicted in dancing bodies; delicately exploring emotion through dance in a unique way”.

The commissions will be delivered in late November and will be showcased to alumni, industry, community contacts and more broadly online.


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