Arts and Health Project to Explore Well-Being Through Creative and Reflective Process

Artistic rendering of three heads in different colors

In partnership with the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), several Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health are developing a series of workshops and events focused on arts and well-being for personal and professional growth as part of the Erasmus+ project “Multiform Pedagogy in Arts, Health and Wellbeing Education” (ARTHEWE). Erasmus+ is a European Union program that aims to support innovation in education and training through international collaboration and experience exchange. 

This partnership is based on the shared principle that creativity, arts and well-being are closely connected. Therefore, arts-based or arts-informed approaches can meaningfully contribute to how teaching is delivered and how learning is perceived while also supporting the well-being of the community.

As advocates, we focus on supporting the brain health of our communities, yet we often overlook the need to support our own health and well-being. To stay productive, engaged, and successful, we need to support our capacities to balance our professional and personal lives. This concept is nicely captured by Atlantic Fellow Adolfo Garcia:

Laptop with text on screen
Laptop with text on screen, mirrored

The ARTHEWE project is exploring how to use creativity to support relationship and well-being development, including emotional awareness, body awareness, and self-care. At GBHI, the project offers a space for fellows to contribute, experiment, and collaborate as part of the learning experience of the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program.

For instance, the life story work led by Karin Diamond is focused on supporting connections through imaginative sharing of our life stories. A well-being skills program which Anne Browning and I have shaped is looking into well-being skills development through creative and reflective processes. Miriam Galvin is also sharing her expertise in rethinking research methods through the lens of creative practice.

We expect that integrating well-being skills into the learning experience will provide space for fellows to develop stronger bonds with each other while also opening a space to explore the personal emotional impact of our work, gain awareness of our own emotional responses, and to develop skills to help navigate those responses, especially under stress.

In the lifespan of this project (September 2020–August 2023), we will research how incorporating the arts can enrich teaching. Through experimentation we will explore multiple ways of learning, for instance, by focusing on embodied knowledge we can potentially create a more accessible and meaningful learning experience.

The project is being implemented by  a consortium of European partners. Alongside GBHI and Trinity College Dublin there is also King’s College London (UK), Royal College of Music (Sweden), Turku University of Applied Sciences (Finland), and University of West Attica (Greece).

This program is led by me, Ieva Petkutė, Atlantic Fellow; Brian Lawlor, GBHI Deputy Executive Director; and Eoin Cotter, Learning Experience Program Lead. Meaningful contributions are being provided by other fellows, including Anne Browning, Karin Diamond and Miriam Galvin as outlined above.

Read more about Erasmus +.

Read more about ARTHEWE.