The Face of Oasis: 

A Phenomenological Study of the Lived Experience of Youth at the KV Oasis Youth Centre (Ongoing.) Dr. Wendy Stewart,
Dr. Mark Gilbert

The KV Oasis Youth Centre in Quispamsis, NB, is a program modeled on youth mental outreach programs in Ireland and Australia (McGorry et al., 2007; Rickwood et al., 2015a; Illback et al., 2010; O’Reilly et al., 2015.) This new centre aims to provide youth with primary and mental health care, relevant educational programs, and empower them to be active contributors and leaders in their communities. In order to provide appropriate education programs and supports, we need to develop an in depth understanding of the challenges youth currently face in their daily lives.

This innovative project will use portraiture, created by
Mark Gilbert, to give voice to youth’s thoughts and feelings about their daily challenges and stresses and the portraiture process itself. Qualitative data will be collected during the portrait creation and in follow-up interviews. Discussions during the portraiture process will be informal, and more directed during the interviews. The resulting art work and identified themes from the qualitative data will be used as a basis for planning educational programming and supports for youth locally and provincially. The portraits and qualitative data will be used in facilitated workshops, as an art display with key points for discussion for the public and other stakeholders, and in a presentation for government to secure further funding for the centre. This research has the potential to powerfully impact our understanding of youth in our own community.

Artist Biography


Mark Gilbert graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1991. He has exhibited at numerous venues in Europe and North America. In 2002, his life and working practices changed dramatically when The Royal London Hospital, England offered him a post as artist in residence. There he worked in collaboration with maxillofacial surgeon, Prof Iain Hutchison and his patients to create a series of artworks that portrayed the patients as they experienced their illness, surgery and recovery. The resultant exhibition, Saving Faces, was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, London. This led to his next study; a two-year residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) creating portraits of patients and caregivers.
The exhibition was entitled Here I am and Nowhere Else: Portraits of Care. The study used portraiture to investigate ideas about care and care giving at the intersection of art and medicine.

He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Areas, with specialization in Surgery. His doctoral research project, The Experience of Portraiture in a Clinical Setting,used arts-based research methods and narrative inquiry to illuminate the relational skills required in clinical interactions and caregiving. The resultant portraits, depicting participating head and neck cancer patients, are now integrated into a teaching program in the Dept. of Health and Public Services at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, NE. The program utilizes the portraits and their accompanying participant narratives to promote reflection and ethical dialogue for students to incorporate into their care planning assignments. We are currently evaluating educational outcomes of this program to inform and support future curriculum development.

He is currently Research Associate with the Faculty of Medicine here at Dalhousie University. Over the last two years, he has worked on research studies in several different venues across the Maritimes. Working in collaboration with Dr. Wendy Stewart, The Face of Oasis utilizes arts based methodology to give voice to the challenges of youth attending the KV Oasis Youth Center in Quispamsis, NB. The Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation funded this project. Also with Dr. Stewart, Seeing the Patient uses arts based methods and phenomenology to explore the lived experience of children with epilepsy and their caregivers. At Veterans Memorial Hospital, He is currently collaborating with geriatrician,
Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, and geriatric patients in a grant funded study investigating the relationships and interactions of patients and their partners in care through analysis of images and interviews.