'Time for Tea' travels the world

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Nathalie van Dort

Sophie Duckworth, one of the Medical Officers at Cranford Hospice, was invited to attend the European Association of Palliative Care’s Annual Conference in Madrid in May 2017. Over 3 days around 2,800 delegates from a wide range of disciplines including clinicians, caregivers, researchers and educators in palliative care from Europe and beyond attended the biggest palliative care conference in the world.

Presentations were mainly around new research and updates on progressing palliative care worldwide. Sophie had sent the organizing committee and abstract of her research: Time for Tea, an ethnographic study of tea drinking processes in a British hospice. She did this research prior to coming to New Zealand. She was invited to present her poster in Madrid and even won a price: one of the best posters in her category which was medical sociology.

Sophie did the research whilst completing her Master’s Degree in Medical Anthropology where she looked at the cultural development of tea practices as a form of care in a British hospice.

“Tea plays an important part in many people’s lives. After water, it is the most widely consumed drink in the world” Sophie explains. “I personally love tea, and became very interested in the many different purposes a good cup of tea serves. Often tea is used to sit down and have a conversation or is offered when people need comfort. With the many different types of tea, there are as many different uses” Sophie continues.

Sophie’s research looked at how there has been a cultural construction of tea as a form of care both as a service of care (hospitality) and a form of emotional care as in bereavement support.
As far as we know, no one else has conducted this type of research, hence why Sophie was invited to present her research in Madrid.

She has also received some interest from the Fernando family who run Dilmah, a well known tea producer, and national supporter of hospices around New Zealand.

“I met with the Fernando family during Art Deco weekend here in Hawke’s Bay and they have shown some interest in my research. It is definitely my cup of tea to conduct some more research” Sophie finishes with a smile.

So who knows, we may get a New Zealand equivalent of this research. Well done Sophie!