To main content To footer

Vilans attends two-day research seminar in Denmark: The Wonder Lab and Wonder Compass in healthcare

Published on: 22-05-2024

In March, Vilans’ senior consultants Tamara Streng and Martijn Simons attended a two-day research seminar organized and hosted by professor Finn Thjorbjorn Hansen, co-head of the research unit at Art, Aesthetics & Health, Department of Communication & Psychology, Aalborg University, in cooperation with Aalborg University, North Denmark. Vilans’ colleagues together with a group of researchers from The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Leiden University Medical Center and the Dutch Center of Expertise for Children’s Palliative Care attended a research seminar titled “Different uses of The Wonder Lab and Wonder Compass in the Netherlands and Denmark in healthcare context”.

The Wonder Lab method

Developed by Danish professor Finn Hansen from Aalborg University, Wonder Lab is an innovative dialogue method for healthcare professionals, patients and their relatives. Wonder Labs create an environment that encourages participants to openly engage with each other by sharing their personal experiences, doubts and fears within the context of care and quality of life.

Wonder Labs facilitate participants to have deep and meaningful conversations about complex and sensitive topics in healthcare and allows wonder to consciously emerge.

The New Version of Wonder Lab —Wonder Compass and Phenomenon-led Care

At the seminar, participants explored the use of Wonder Lab in various contexts, demonstrating its adaptability and impact in creating empathetic communication and knowledge creation between families, caregivers and healthcare professionals. The seminar provided a platform for sharing experiences, exchange of ideas and new developments in dialogical, cultural and phenomenological approaches in healthcare.

It was inspiring to learn from Professor Finn Hansen and his team about the Wonder Compass and the phenomenology of wonder and existential phenomenology. These foundational concepts add a valuable insight in creating a more innovative and safer environment to bring people together and learn on sensitive topics such as the passing of your child or the final phase of your loved ones, but also religion, health or any subject that we don’t always feel comfortable to talk about.

Tamara Streng

The seminar also introduced the idea of phenomenon-led care which highlights the role and meaning of relational, existential and contextual elements of care.

Affective and tacit knowledge within care practices often remain undiscussed. Wonder Labs could help in developing discourses and skills to disclose knowledge embedded in (inter)personal elements. This may contribute to a more phenomenon-led care: more connected to others and the context where care takes place.

Martijn Simons

The Dutch version of  Wonder Lab

During the seminar, the Dutch delegation presented their collaborative work on the Dutch version of Wonder Labs. In the Netherlands, Wonder Lab is further developed by a multidisciplinary team consisting of Vilans’ senior advisor Tamara Streng, author and care photographer Paula van Driesten, researcher at the Hague University of Applied Sciences Liesbeth Geuze and the director of the Dutch Center of Expertise for Children’s Palliative Care Meggi Schuiling. The team created Wonder Labs that integrate visual arts with practical dialogue methods to enhance its applications in pediatric palliative care and other long-term care settings. It also enables further exploration of unresolved questions in practice-based research, ultimately aiming to improve the quality of care and support for families in need of pediatric palliative care.

We have tailored Wonder Lab to include aesthetic elements such as photography, poetry and documentaries to create a safe and conducive space for dialogue. This adaptation has proved invaluable in our efforts to encourage and improve dialogue within pediatric palliative care.

Tamara Streng

Visit to the Maternity Ward at Aalborg University Hospital (AUH)

The visit to the Maternity Ward of AUH was one of the highlights of the visit for the Vilans team, providing a valuable perspective about the innovative use of space to facilitate sensitive dialogues while providing care. The Vilans team was warmly welcomed and witnessed how the maternity rooms are transformed with art, music, and the projection of nature on the walls.

The midwives demonstrated how they provide care in very sensitive conditions like attending to parents during the delivery of a stillborn baby. We watched them perform a ritual that blends poetry, music and sharing a small cuddly toy for the baby and the parents. A beautiful ritual they developed to help the parents go through the experience of giving birth to a stillborn baby. The journey through such experiences is profoundly deep and complex; clinical care might not have much to offer but it was remarkable to see how the care professionals skillfully used rituals, art and nature to make the transition from clinical care into existential care.

Martijn Simons

It was a nice opportunity to meet midwives at the maternity ward of AUH and witness how they embedded culture, art and nature in the maternity care environment. This aligns not only with what we do in our Wonder Labs but also with our ongoing project at Vilans, where we aim to redesign the rooms of clients with intellectual disabilities and severe behavioral problems in long-term care facilities.

Tamara Streng

Share this page: