For the AMEE Simulation Committee Kevin Hobbs provides a report on current developments in arts-based research and education as a means of delivering a more authentic training in person-centred care.


On October 2, 2019, along with fellow arts-based researchers/performers, I delivered a workshop at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre on person-centred care. The audience consisted of health workers and family members of patients. Based on my master’s thesis in Social Justice and Equity, in which I developed a training/orientation video for those caring for patients living with either dementia or traumatic brain injury, and through use of interactive performance techniques, the workshop facilitated a meaningful, emergent conversation. Crucially, two sides in the caregiving arena – family and medical professionals – had the opportunity to hear each others’ perspectives on caregiving challenges and goals. Their varied, sometimes conflicting discourses on burdens and successes transformed into a scene of unity and shared understanding.

This workshop pedagogy is known as Playbuilding, a methodology that investigates and problematizes dominant narratives through devised theatre. In my masters, the researcher/performers from Mirror Theatre developed and filmed short theatrical vignettes in response to transcripts of semi-structured interviews with caregivers. Utilizing Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of unfinalizability, we posed questions within the vignettes to generate ongoing discourse. The resulting video can be viewed at

Arts-based research and education is increasingly recognized for its value in medical science curriculum. My masters thesis received the 2020 ARTS Graduate Research Award for Master’s Thesis from the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, and with Mirror Theatre I continue to deliver these workshops (formerly in-person, now synchronously online) to health students and professionals. Together we investigate the deeper issues behind the care of our most vulnerable members of society.

Mirror Theatre Rehearsal, 2019