GBHI Hosts Creativity and Well-Being for Personal and Professional Growth

Four-day international symposium places creative practices at the heart of more meaningful learning and education to support well-being, inclusion and brain health.

ARTHEWE event participants by the sea

ARTHEWE event participants in Dublin. Photo by Kim-Huong Nguyen.

What is the cost of bringing well-being to the center of education? How can arts be an integral part of education, where policy, leadership, research and practice are interlinked? How does embodiment, in the learning experience, help us to rethink the ways we learn and connect with our communities and organizations?

These are just some of the questions that were explored at an international cross-disciplinary symposium on Creativity and Well-Being for Personal and Professional Growth hosted by the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) at Trinity College Dublin between April 24-27th. 

View the symposium report developed by Global Atlantic Fellow Kim-Huong Nguyen, with contributions from Ieva Petkuté, Gráinne McGettrick and Macarena Espina Díaz.

About the Symposium

The event was led by Global Atlantic Fellow Ieva Petkutė, an arts researcher and manager, and lead of the National Association “Dementia Lithuania”, as part of the European Union Erasmus+ funded ARTHEWE project. ARTHEWE, an initiative to develop new knowledge and practice in arts based pedagogies for health and wellbeing, is a collaboration between Trinity College Dublin/Global Brain Health Institute (Ireland, USA), Turku University of Applied Science (Finland), the University of West Attica (Greece), King’s College London (UK) and the Royal College of Music (Sweden).  The implementation of the project, as part of the Atlantic Fellows learning experience at GBHI, was supported by Eoin Cotter

The event brought together innovators in teaching and training processes, researchers and practitioners, from a range of fields and organizations globally, to advance knowledge on the benefit and potential of incorporating art and experimentation in leadership development programs, higher education and other communities.

Themes to emerge over the week included the need to create space for experience, exploration and reflection in formal education and professional development programs, the democratizing power of these approaches, and their potential to support well-being in the classroom and in the workplace. The importance of movement and embodied approaches was also highlighted. 

"The week was a true learning experience, not only for the participants but also for the Global Brain Health Institute as the host. It will shape how we think about the use of creative pedagogies and arts based approaches to support and protect brain health and well-being both within and beyond the Atlantic Fellows program at GBHI."

Brian Lawlor, GBHI Site Director, Trinity College

"The program exposed people to different approaches to delivering content and learning, especially to the focus on practice and experience. By creating the report I wanted to make visible the enormous effort to bring such program to life.”

Kim-Huong Nguyen, Economist and Global Atlantic Fellow

Symposium Program

The event program, which drew from the expertise and skills of ARTHEWE project partners,  Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health and colleagues and collaborators across Trinity and Dublin, included learning, experience and collaborative elements such as: 

  • Exploration of the use of applied theatre as a pathway to train emotional intelligence and deeper self-awareness at the Abbey Theatre Dublin.
  • An experiential introduction to the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s work in the field of creative health, dementia-inclusivity, research and education. 
  • Life story work for well-being, an exciting and emergent approach which celebrates the individual and their unique life story, and experiential exercises which provided a unique insight into the experience of dementia facilitated by the Re-Live Life Story Arts Organisation (Wales) Artistic Director, Global Atlantic Fellow Karin Diamond, and Clinical Supervisor Alison O’Connor.
  • A workshop led by Kim Nguyen, an economist and Global Atlantic Fellow, which explored the challenges and opportunities in incorporating creative pedagogies in existing systems of learning.
  • Embodiment-driven pedagogy: exploring leadership through dance facilitated by Glenna Batson, Professor Emeritus, Physical Therapy, Winston-Salem State University (USA), Global Atlantic Fellow Aline Haas, dancer, researcher and Pilates Associate Professor, Department of Physical Education, Physiotherapy and Dance, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) and  dance artist and Global Atlantic Fellow Magda Kaczmarska, Founder of Dancestream Projects and Vice President, Foundation Dementia Action Alliance Poland.

What’s Next?

Ieva Petkutė, lead of the program sees the international symposium as a strong foundation to invite the wider community of seven Atlantic Fellows programs to explore foundational aspects of leadership development through the lens of artistic and embodied practices. An Atlantic Institute Thematic Convening is planned for fall 2024 with the call to participate to be announced by the end of 2023. 

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ARTHWE Events group shot

At the international symposium at Trinity College Dublin: Brian Lawlor, Carmel of Sullivan (Head of the School of Education Trinity College), Ieva Petkutė, Linda Doyle (Provost of Trinity College), and Eoin Cotter. Photo by Paul Sharp, Sharpix