Fun with Cancer Patients is a project dedicated to raising the intellectual understanding of the cancer experience without turning cancer into something inspiring, sweet or sombre. By looking at the reality of cancer – the smells, the annoyances, the pleasures, the absurdities – Fun with Cancer Patients explores the psychosocial aspects of cancer and provides patient participants an opportunity to reflect on their unique experiences and wisdom.
Facilitated and realised by performer Brian Lobel, the process of Fun with Cancer Patients is quite simple: Brian works with a specific individual or group of patient participants and discussed what they want or need – in relation to their illness – and then works with them to create an extravagant intervention to address this want/need.
Interventions have included pop-up kitchens, far-flung car trips, hacked infusion machines, and much much more, and have provided opportunities for patient participants and our medical advisory team to speak and reflect on issues such as post-treatment anxiety, the language of illness, the development/loss of friendships, hairloss, decrease/increase of appetite, and beyond.
Fun with Cancer Patients was a major collaboration between Fierce Festival and Birmingham Teenage Cancer Trust, which resulted in both a publication and installation at macBirmingham, in Autumn 2013. The exhibition will tour and grow, with new patient participants and new actions at each site.