The Arts & Health Project is a working collaboration of seniors and professional artists, who together develop an arts practice that focuses on the creative expression of ideas and issues that are important to them. From time to time I’m lucky enough to facilitate discussions about arts and health with groups including graduate students in public health, social work and gerontology, parks and recreation managers, arts administrators and occupational health and safety teams.
It is as Eisner (1981) suggests, a question of seeing with the mutual benefits the arts and interdisciplinarity provide: It is to the artistic to which we must turn, not as a rejection of the scientific, but because with both we can achieve binocular vision.
Dr. Norman K. Denzin, one of the world’s most distinguished authorities on qualitative research writes, Performance becomes public pedagogy when it uses the aesthetic, the performative, to foreground the intersections of politics, institutional sites and embodied experience.” (Denzin, 2003 pg. 9). Such dramas” are unique in that they are an embodied way of performing research while artistically provoking change, presenting issues and, at the same time, questioning the status quo through story.
Directed at a combination of education professionals, artists, scholars, mental health practitioners, and graduates in psychology and social sciences, the MSc offers students the opportunity to learn from both arts and mental health science perspectives about how theatre and performance can be used both to promote mental health and wellbeing, and to explore and interrogate issues in the field of mental health.
The judges also agreed commendations for 20 entries in the NHS category and 20 in the Open International category – 2 from Australia, 1 from New Zealand, 7 from the USA and 10 from the UK. Commended entries considered themes from birth to imaging, cancer, health and disease in art, history of medicine and illness.