When I Open My Eyes

Following two celebrated handbooks on creative practice, written in collaboration with Chris Crickmay, Miranda Tufnell now takes us into the field of dance and health. For fourteen years she worked in a GP surgery in rural Cumbria. The book opens with a moving account of an arts project that she and her collaborators ran for people with long term health conditions. Miranda Tufnell is both a dance artist and a body therapist and this gives the book its particular flavour.

This is a book about the body and movement, about imagination and health. It is a gathering of many stories, voices and activities from artists, patients and health practitioners. The arts have long played a role in medicine and there is a substantial body of evidence of the potency of arts practice in strengthening a person’s resources and capacity for well being.

While the work described here is sourced in the body and movement, it is not only written for people with a dance background. Being able to listen creatively to the body strengthens our body intelligence and ability to look after ourselves effectively. Practitioners from many backgrounds come into this field and will find something of interest. This book sets out to inspire rather than to teach, to offer windows into practice, and to convey something of what it is like to work in this field.

"The practice of medicine is a quiet art. Of course taking a history from the patient involves conversation and cannot be done in silence but so often the flicker of sadness on the patients smiley face or the move of a finger to wipe away a tear can lead the doctor to the real reason for the consultation.

In this book Miranda makes it clear to us all that often the smallest movements of the body tell a story. Sometimes a story of triumph over almost insurmountable difficulties. Every doctor and medical student should read this book. It is a real escape from the tick box mentatility that these days so dominates our profession. This book is a great guide to a more humanastic and humanising way of practicing medicine"Dr Malcolm Rigler, General Practitioner.

"In this book Miranda Tufnell a highly experienced dance maker and artist shares her own and other artists' experience of working in the field of health care. This book is a plea for dance as a means of moving beyond the anatomised, medicalised, sexualised body to the body as a vital portal into the shifting and complex nature of being alive.

It takes the reader on journeys that weave together stories, insights and practical exercises. A rare and moving book and a companion for health practitioners, teachers, students, movers and those searching for creative expression." Niamh Dowling, Head of School of Theatre, Rose Bruford College