Ronna Bloom: Poet-In-Residence
Ronna Bloom is a teacher, writing coach and the author of six books of poetry. Her most recent book, The More, was published by Pedlar Press in 2017 and longlisted for the 2018 City of Toronto Book Award. Her poems have been recorded by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, translated into Spanish, Bangla, and Chinese and have been used in the work of architects, filmmakers, doctors, academics, and spiritual leaders.
Ronna has been the Poet in Community to the University of Toronto since 2008 and is currently also the Poet in Residence in the Health, Arts and Humanities Program at U of T. In the programmes, she offers students and health care professionals opportunities to articulate their experiences through poetry and reflective writing. Ronna brings 25 years of experience as a psychotherapist to her work as a teacher and facilitator. Her Spontaneous Poetry Booths and RX for Poetry have appeared in hospital waiting rooms, bookstores, fundraisers and arts events in Canada and abroad.
Suvendrini Lena: Playwright-in-Residence
Suvendrini Lena is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at U of T, staff neurologist at CAMH and WCH and a playwright. Her play The Enchanted Loom was produced by Cahoots Theatre and Factory Theatre 2016 season. The Enchanted Loom, a play about epilepsy, memory and a Sri Lankan family living in Toronto, has been translated into Tamil by Dushy Gnanapragasam. The play and translation will be published by Playwright’s Press, Toronto, in 2020. Her second theatrical work, an interactive installation inspired by the psychiatric writing of Frantz Fanon, Here Are the Fragmented was co-created with Leah Cherniak and Trevor Schwellnus and premiered for a sold out run at The Theatre Centre in 2019. Rubble, a new play based on the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, is slated for production at Theatre Passe Muraille in partnership with Pandemic and Aluna in 2021.
Suvendrini has been a resident artist at Cahoots Theatre 2015-2017, and at The Theatre Centre 2015-2019.
As a teacher, Suvendrini uses theatrical methods to open space for reflection and creativity within medical practice. Inspired by Fanon, she is developing a new interest in methods of decolonizing medicine.
As a clinician she is particularly interested in conditions that alter the fabric of consciousness such as migraine, epilepsy, psychosis, pain and dementia.
Damian Tarnopolsky: Writer-In-Residence
Damian Tarnopolsky is the author of two books: the novel Goya’s Dog, a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and the short fiction collection Lanzmann and Other Stories, which was nominated for the ReLit Award. His short stories have been nominated for the Journey Prize and the CBC Literary Award, and his play The Defence won the 2019 Voaden Prize.
For the Health, Arts and Humanities Program, Damian teaches courses in Narrative Medicine at the Centre for Faculty Development at St. Michael’s Hospital, and leads A Rooster for Asclepius: The Toronto Health Humanities Writing Group. He previously ran writing and reflection workshops for medical students and residents as the Barbara Moon Fellow at Massey College.
Damian earned his Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Toronto, and has taught at the School of Continuing Studies, where he was nominated for an Excellence in Teaching award, and Humber College. A frequent contributor of essays and reviews to Canadian publications, he also owns and operates Slingsby and Dixon, an editorial services company in Toronto.
Shelley Wall: Illustrator-In-Residence
Shelley Wall is an associate professor in the Biomedical Communications graduate program at the University of Toronto. As an educator and certified medical illustrator, she believes in visual art as a powerful means of reflection and communication in healthcare. Her primary area of research and creation is Graphic Medicine — that is, comics as a medium for narratives of health and illness.
In addition to creating her own comics and collaborating with others to tell their stories visually, she teaches a graduate course on Graphic Medicine within the Institute of Medical Science, and offers seminars in graphic medicine and illustration as a means of reflection for medical students, interprofessional education classes, and medical practitioners.