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Issues in Educational Research, 2019, Vol 29(3), 756-773.
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Drawing on creative arts therapy approaches to enhance inclusive school cultures and student wellbeing

Shelley Hannigan
Deakin University, Australia

Christine Grima-Farrell
University of New South Wales, Australia

Natasha Wardman
Australian Catholic University, Australia

With an interdisciplinary focus on creativity, inclusion and wellbeing, this paper provides a conceptual argument for additional and reimagined arts education programs in schools that incorporate creative arts therapies. Based on a review of literature in this field, it documents the practices and value of creative art therapies, for students currently experiencing or at risk of mental health problems. In a global context where mental health issues are on the rise, an emotional curriculum is discussed that includes awareness of mental health issues, promotion of wellbeing and incorporation of inclusivity to enhance positive outcomes for individuals and communities. A philosophy is presented that aims to connect students and teachers through art experiences in a way that meaningfully and effectively addresses the strengths and needs of a diverse range of students. Drawing on the authors' different practices, positive psychology and post-structural theory, this philosophy seeks to maximise students' potential to flourish as individuals and classroom members, whilst acknowledging that we all experience life and learning differently.
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Authors: Dr Shelley Hannigan (corresponding author) is a visual artist, creative arts therapist and art educator. She has taught in classrooms, adult community art colleges and pre-service teacher education, and also practised as a creative arts therapist in hospitals. She has been an educator and researcher at Deakin University for over twelve years.
Email: shelley.hannigan@deakin.edu.au
Web: https://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/people/shelley-hannigan

Dr Christine Grima-Farrell, School of Education, University of New South Wales, is an academic and a school system leader in disability and learner variability. Her research interests include research to practice, wellbeing and resilience, inclusive and teacher education. Chris lives her scholarly work through raising awareness of ways to merge research and practice initiatives to support the diverse needs of teachers and students.
Email: c.grima-farrell@unsw.edu.au
Web: https://education.arts.unsw.edu.au/about-us/people/christine-grima-farrell/

Dr Natasha Wardman, Faculty of Education and Arts, Australian Catholic University, has been teaching at the tertiary level since 2009. Her teaching and research interests include gender, ethics, social justice and the cultural politics of education with the aim of empowering teachers to navigate the changing educational terrain and envisage new and more inclusive ways forward.
Email: natasha.wardman@acu.edu.au
Web: https://staff.acu.edu.au/

Please cite as: Hannigan, S., Grima-Farrell, C. & Wardman, N. (2019). Drawing on creative arts therapy approaches to enhance inclusive school cultures and student wellbeing. Issues in Educational Research, 29(3), 756-773. http://www.iier.org.au/iier29/hannigan.pdf

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Created 14 Jul 2019. Last correction: 14 Jul 2019.
Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]