Sunday Workshops

Participants of the NWNM Conference will have the option of attending one of the following workshops on Sunday, September 18th from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Portland Art Museum. Due to limited space in individual workshops, participants are asked to rank their top three choices upon registration. All efforts, but no guarantees, will be made to accommodate requests.

Admission to the Portland Art Museum is included in the registration. Participants are welcome to enjoy the museum for the remainder of the day.

Workshop A
Using Stories to Create Change: Advocacy Writing Workshop
with Louise Aronson

Anna Kuperberg Photography

Opinion and story-based articles for newspapers, medical journals, and blogs are among the most effective ways to reach wide audiences and have significant, real-world impact on the medical system and the lives of patients. In this workshop, we’ll start by exploring the secrets of success in sample articles and discuss ways of using stories for advocacy. In the second part of the session, participants will draft article openings and hooks, with volunteers getting feedback on their approach, writing, and the best medium for their message.

Workshop B
The Stories We Carry
with Natalie Serber copy-1

We will begin by mapping the marks, scars and memories we carry on our bodies. Through writing prompts and collage we will explore and rediscover the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. We will read excerpts from stories and memoirs, and then share the work we write together, either stories or essays. Participants will leave with a collection of prose pieces, or perhaps the start of a longer project.



Workshop C
Art NOW: At Home in the Present
with Sarah Lampen, Mike Murawski, Amy Gray and Hana Layson.


Explore personal narratives through art. Portland Art Museum staff and docents will facilitate storytelling, writing, and meditation in the galleries, including a special exhibition on the Museum’s artNOW program for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their care partners.



Sally Peters will lead the meditation portion of the workshop.




Workshop D
Graphic Medicine Moments, Metaphors and Drawing from Experience
with Craigan Usher and Marie Pierre Hasne

Usher SketchAnother Hasne

As practitioner and patient, reading comics and graphic novels can enhance what can be “drawn” from clinical experience. Reading and creating comics involves complex processes: the rendering of a literal metaphor, moving thoughts from the depths of one’s subjective experience to the mind of the reader. In this workshop we will first pause on the “frame” of comics, offering participants a lexicon of what is involved in experiencing graphic novels on medical themes. We will look at examples from works like Brian Fies’ Mom’s Cancer, Katie Green’s Lighter Than My Shadow, and David B’s Epileptic. In the second half of this workshop, participants will create simple comics centered on a shared clinical experience, and to sketch a comic based upon their life in medicine. A cartoonist will be on hand to help participants flesh out ideas, examine how one might balance text and image, convey emotion, and stitch panels together.

Workshop E
Narrative, Theatre, and the Collective Character
with Samantha Van Der Merwe and Matthew Kerrigan from Shaking The Tree Theatre




Using theatrical play as a tool, we will explore meaning and communication in our stories of health, illness  and healing. Through a process called Context Building Action, participants will work in guided improvisational exercises with professional actors to work as a group on the Collective Character.  Exercises will provide access to the tensions and many perspectives we encounter in health related conversations and open the possibility of accessing  our subconscious motivations and also more creative solutions. Relevant scenarios will be provided and the group members will actively participate. Time for reflection in and on action will be provided through discussion. No theatrical experience is needed, and is a plus!