Occupational therapists represent university at prestigious South African conference

Occupational therapists represent university at prestigious South African conference

Two Lancaster academics have spoken at a prestigious conference in South Africa held to share and develop the skills of occupational therapists from around the world.

Dr Ana Borges da Costa and Liz Harrison, senior lecturers in occupational therapy were invited to present at the World Federation of Occupation Therapists Congress held in Cape Town. The event is held every four years at venues around the world and this year marked the first time it was held in Africa. 2000 delegates attended, many of them from the African continent, and the 5 days involved a mix of workshops, presentations, posters, key note presentations and an exhibition

“The theme this year was Connected in Diversity: Positioned for Impact and highlighted the profession’s many differing roles and how, despite cultural differences affecting the way practice in each country, we can work together to promote occupation as a tool for improving health and wellbeing,” Liz Harrison said. “Ana and I submitted abstracts and were fortunate to be selected to present at this highly esteemed event. Thanks also go to the University of Cumbria Research and Development fund for funding our trip.”

Dr de Costa presented a poster and spoke about her PhD research which focused on the ‘the impact of circle dance on wellbeing’ while Liz spoke about how power relationships impact on our work with children, an element of her PhD research called ‘The power & the glory?: exploring how occupational therapists address the spirituality of children with physical disability.’

The event allowed both to make connections with researchers looking at similar areas of interest and it’s hoped future collaborations will result.

“The congress was an amazing experience for us both,” Dr da Costa said. ”It was colourful, passionate and vibrant, with an incredibly positive attitude towards our wonderful profession and its future direction. We are so grateful for the opportunity to represent the university and to have learned so much about occupational therapy in other cultures.”