UW News

April 4, 2013

Explore global health through the arts during Global Health Week

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

The intersection of global health and the arts – dance, photography, cinema, theater and music – will be explored at the UW as part of Global Health Week April 15-20.

Phil Borges Tibet portrait

Tibet Portrait by photographer Phil Borges, whose work will be shown during UW Global Health Week.Phil Borges

A Community Cafe will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Monday, April 15 in Parnassus Café. The event  will feature ACT Theatre performances, including a reading from “Middletown.” The play touches on themes of mental health and depression.

A visual arts exhibit will showcase work from several local artists. Among them are Ellen Garvens, a UW photography professor whose pictures capture the people who make and use prosthetics in Indonesia; John Blalock, a student in a masters of fine arts program and  an artist-in-residence at Seattle Children’s:  Phil Borges, a social documentary photographer;  and Consuelo Echeverria, a global health graduate student and artist.

A theater banner for the play Middletown.

A theater banner for the play “Middletown.”

Later in the week, the UW’s Global Health Resource Center will host a Global Health and the Arts Symposium with local artists. The symposium will be held from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, April 20 in Foege Auditorium, located in the UW Foege Building

Kevin Shaw, a UW undergraduate minor in global health and one the event organizers, said beauty and aesthetics is important for human health, but is often lost in contemporary discourse.


Ellen Garven’s photo of a prosthetic leg being made in Indonesia.Ellen Garven

“We need to explore what makes humans healthy and what makes them thrive in the absence of disease. That’s communities,” he said.  “Art builds communities and builds complete people. There is so much potential for people in the arts to make a difference in public health.”

The symposium will include three panels and several performances, including the Seattle Fandango Project, which brings people together through music, dance, and verse.

A dozen guest speakers are lined up. They include Borges, known for his work with indigenous communities; Jacque Larrainzar, policy director for the Seattle Office of Civil Rights, who helped organize a queer feminist collective in Mexico; Carlo Scandiuzzi, director of ACT Theatre in Seattle; and several students and faculty working at the intersection of the arts and global health, including Sutapu Basu, director of the UW Women’s Center, whose dramas address worldwide women’s health issues, particularly human trafficking.

The panels will explore existing partnerships and the possibilities of additional collaboration between art and global health. There also will be discussions on how art can advance women’s health.

The symposium will feature 10-minute live performances. Film clips from UCLA’s Art and Global Health Center also will be shown, including a project in which HIV-positive people document their lives.

Daren Wade, director of the Global Health Resource Center within the Department of Global Health, said reaching out to the arts community is long overdue.

“As a global health resource center, our charge is to intersect with all parts of campus and throughout the years, we have touched most of campus,” he said. “But we and the campus as a whole need to reach out more to the creative arts. This is how to connect best with the community.”

To find out more about Global Health Week and the Global Health and the Arts Symposium, please go to: