Hamwe Announces its first Board of Advisors

An Initiative of UGHE

UGHE believes that building bridges across sectors is a necessity to sustainably transform health education and delivery globally, but also to eliminate the gap between the most and least disadvantaged.

During the past two years, UGHE had incubated a series of projects looking at the role and contributions of culture and arts in individual and community health as well as in generating health outcomes and engaging the public about health and wellbeing. As part of those projects, UGHE created Hamwe Festival in 2019, a platform bringing the health sector together with creative industries annually, with the dual mission to create an enabling environment for strong collaboration between the health and creative sectors, as well as to generate new insights into global health challenges and corresponding solutions, using the unique and complementary vantage points of creative and global health professionals. 

After two years of existence, Hamwe Festival has proven its value by engaging a global audience, but also by hosting innovative high-quality creative global health content generating large scale conversations on topics such as health equity, mental health, arts in health research and others. 

The festival’s second edition in 2020, was held virtually across five day, offering a global platform to discuss Social Justice and Mental Health through the lens of patients, clinicians, researchers, artists and the general public. Three digital exhibitions were presented, with 36 sessions uniting participants from five continents and engaging an audience of more than 26,000 people from 50 countries.

Acknowledging this success, during the first quarter of 2021 UGHE institutionalized Hamwe Festival and other arts in health activities, that transitioned from project in incubation to a university department.

The Arts & Culture in Global Health Public Engagement responsibilities will contribute to UGHE’s mission and to the achievements of the institution’s objectives by engaging the general public and global health communities on current global health issues through arts and cultural activities to sensitize and increase understanding on those global health issues, as well as to generate new insights into global health challenges and their corresponding solutions. One of the department’s main responsibilities will be to  plan and implement Hamwe Festival, however the department will implement research projects, community engagement activities and other arts-in-health projects. 

To support the new department in the achievement of its mission, UGHE will put a board of external advisors in place. The role of the board will be to support the growth of the festival, extend its reach and contribution to identifying innovative perspectives and creative solutions in global heath.

Meet our Team of Advisors:

The advisory board is a multidisciplinary international board composed of seven advisors appointed by the UGHE Executive Leadership Team to support the festival and its related activities. Advisors were selected for their ability to provide expertise and contributions to the board strategic and technical discussions. The board will work with UGHE teams to identify opportunities for growth for the Hamwe festival and its related activities.

Playing a Critical Role in the Growth and Impact of Hamwe Festival

The Advisory Board will support a broad range of critical cross-sector activities at UGHE including; driving sustainable international growth of Hamwe Festival and its hosting department of Arts & Culture in Global Health Public Engagement; engaging in research, community engagement activities and arts-in-health projects; and offering unique sector insight, knowledge, and thought leadership on key topics related to arts and culture in global health.

Stephen Legari

Program Officer for Art Therapy, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Canada. 

“It is a great privilege to be invited to join the University of Global Health Equity’s Hamwe Festival Advisory Board. Having presented at the 2 previous editions of the festival, I have been greatly impressed by the quality and the range of presenters, artists, and health care professionals that the festival has brought together. As a mental health professional working through the arts and in the cultural sector in Canada, it is my hope to make a contribution to the advancement of the arts and health in Rwanda through knowledge sharing and mentorship. But I also keenly look forward to the learning I will get to enjoy in connecting with those that are passionate about the power of the arts in healing.”

Stephen Legari holds a Masters degree in Creative Arts Therapies and a Masters degree in Couple and Family Therapy and is a registered art therapist, licensed psychotherapist and family therapist. Since 2017, Stephen has worked at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Canada as Program Officer for Art Therapy in the Division of Education and Wellness. This program specializes in community and clinical partnerships that seeks to provide arts-based therapeutic activities for a range of publics within a fine art museum context. Stephen has also supervised masters level students in art therapy and social work and has published several texts on museum-based wellness and therapy practice within a broader movement of the arts in health.

Prof. Jill Bennett

Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, fEEL Lab felt Experience & Empathy Lab, Director, The Big Anxiety; Director, National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA)

“A lot of the inherent problems in health are connection with disconnection, marginalization, and lack of inclusion. The arts help us see beyond the diagnostics, providing rich communication tools for communities to express and understand human experience.”

Scientia Professor Jill Bennett is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, leading the felt Experience & Empathy Lab (fEEL) at UNSW. She is founding director of The Big Anxiety – Festival of people + arts + science thebiganxiety.org; and Director of the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA). fEEL brings together immersive media artists, curators/engagement designers, clinical/counselling psychologists and communities to conduct arts-led research on the lived experience of mental and emotional health. Jill has worked for many years on trauma and creative practice. Her books include Empathic Vision: Affect, Trauma & Contemporary Art (Stanford UP, 2005) and most recently, Thinking in the World (Bloomsbury, 2020), co-edited with Mary Zournazi.

Prof. Victoria Tischler

Associate Professor in Public Health, Sustainability and Environment, University of Exeter; Honorary Professor, University of West London. 

“I am joining the Hamwe Festival advisory board as I am passionate about the importance of arts and culture to human health and wellbeing. I look forward to contributing to the continued success of the Hamwe Festival and supporting the new department of Arts & Culture in Global Health Public Engagement at UGHE.”

Professor Tischler is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She has a PhD in psychology from the University of Nottingham where she worked for 12 years. She retains an honorary position at the University of Nottingham Medical School. Her research interests focus on creativity and mental health and multisensory approaches to dementia care. She is co-executive editor of the journal Arts and Health: an international journal for research, policy and practice. She has worked as a curator in the outsider art field and she serves on the scientific advisory board for Boots UK archive. 

Dr. Lisa Ndejuru

Psychotherapist and psychodramatist; Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto

“Our stories shape, inform and guide us toward creative life and wellness. I am so pleased to be able to contribute to Hamwe Festival’s unfolding story about the roles of the arts in health.”

Lisa Ndejuru is a licensed psychotherapist and psychodramatist, community activist, improvisational theatre practitioner, oral historian and genocide scholar. She is a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. Born in Butare, raised in Germany and Canada, she is part of a multigenerational, international family. Her life and work are dedicated to helping others make sense of life’s ruptures and dislocations. Currently, Dr. Ndejuru is working with the Vansina Collection of Ibitekerezo — traditional Rwandan wisdom tales.

Neo Matome-Harun

Graphic Designer at the University of Botswana, Centre for Continuing
Education (CCE), Distance Education Unit.

“I believe arts and culture play a far greater transformative role in society that credited for harnessing arts in health simultaneously combines the scientific and spiritual aspects of wellness. I hope to use my background in creativity, research, and community engagement to positively contribute to this Advisory Board

Neo Matome-Harun has twenty-four years of work experience in the design and development of learning materials for distance education at tertiary level. In this role she provides quality assurance by training module writers and editors on the role and use of graphics in learning materials, designs and formats learning modules, and coordinating the writing and editing of the Art, Craft and Design module for upskilling primary teachers in Botswana. Prior to this, Neo worked as a Research Officer for the European Union funded Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional School of Art and Design Project based at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Prior to this, she served as an Assistant Curator of Art, National Museum and Art Gallery, Gaborone, Botswana. For the past thirty-one years, Neo has served in various arts advocacy roles in Botswana. She is also a practising visual artist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Computer Graphics Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and a BA (Honours) Graphic Design degree from Coventry University.

Prof. Vivian Lin

Executive Associate Dean (Strategy and Operations) Professor of Public Health Practice, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong; Former Director of Health Systems at WHO (WPRO)

“I am excited to join the board to contribute to this innovative approach to generate and popularize new understanding and insights about global health issues and their solutions.  This approach is all the more urgent as we try to build back better and fairer in the COVID-19 period, and accelerate our efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The Festival is truly a bridge across sectors and across communities across the world.”

Professor Lin joined the LKS Faculty of Medicine as Executive Associate Dean in March 2019. She is concurrently Professor of Public Health Practice. Responsible for resource development & management, policy implementation and organizational development to the Faculty of Medicine – including human resources and budget, infrastructure, and institutional developments. Professor Lin has more than 30 years’ experience in health policy and program development, health planning, and public health teaching and research. She was previously Professor of Public Health and Head of the School of Public Health at La Trobe University, in Melbourne, and is the author of several leading public health textbooks in Australia and numerous articles on health issues in Australia, China, and globally. Vivian has also worked at senior levels in health policy in several Australian jurisdictions and in intergovernmental relations, including as Executive Officer of the National Public Health Partnership. She has also consulted widely for the World Bank, UK Dept for International Development, AusAID as well as the WHO, and served on multiple academic, government, community and editorial boards. 

Prof. Nolwazi Mkhwanazi

Director of the medical humanities program at the Wits Institute of Social and Economic Research (WiSER).

“Since my time as the director of the medical humanities program at WiSER I have endeavoured to create and consolidate a robust and functioning Medical and Health Humanities network beyond the borders of South Africa. Some of our successes have been convening conferences with the Malawi Medical Humanities network, guest editing the BMJ Medical Humanities special issue on Africa (Dec 2018) and the hugely successful month long virtual symposium Breath: Inspire/Expire https://breath.medicalandhealthhumanities.africa/. The Hamwe festival is a wonderful initiative that showcases the potential of creatives and health practitioners to workctogether to address health issues. Together with the Medical and Health Humanities Africa (MHHA) network, we can show how artists, academics, activists, and health care seekers and providers based in Africa can contribute not only to the development of medical and health humanities in Africa but we will also build a network that encourages and supports work that invites conversation, collaboration and co- creation across academic disciplines, creative arts, activism, and health care provision.” Nolwazi Mkhwanazi is the director of the medical humanities program at the Wits Institute of Social and Economic Research (WiSER) and a founding member of the Medical and Health Humanities Africa network (MHHA). She is a medical anthropologist whose research has focused on reproduction, kinship and care. Although mainly based in South Africa, her fieldwork sites span across Southern Africa. She has collaborated with people in a range of disciplines including fine art, biomedical sciences, public health, demography and the social sciences. 


Watch all dynamic five days of the second edition of Hamwe Festival below

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Tune in to the ‘In Tune’ podcast launch below