The Arts & Health
The Research Exchange Group on Arts and Health creates community and collaborative opportunities for Memorial University researchers, community activists, and artists from Newfoundland and Labrador, and across Canada, who want to explore how the arts connect to health. The group provides a unique opportunity for collaboration among: dancers, musicians, visual artists, arts administrators, educators, health practitioners, art therapists, graduate students, and researchers from various faculties at Memorial and within Newfoundland and Labrador. Presenters are working on diverse arts and health-related projects, that range from community-based participatory research, to learning how art is connected to wellbeing.
- Dr. Jane Gosine—(interim co-convener for 2021-22) School of Music, cross appointed to Faculty of Medicine
- Dr. Natalie Beausoleil (on Sabbatical Leave 2021-22), Community Health & Humanities
Goals & Objectives
The Research Exchange Group on Arts and Health aims to:
- Exchange research and practical knowledge about the impact of creative arts on individual and community health. Creative arts include: dance, music, poetry, painting, crafts, drama, etc.
- Create a space for individuals to discuss and formulate research projects, hold seminars, and workshops
- Engage in collaborative partnerships
- Discover potential funding opportunities for further research related to arts and health
NLCAHR’s Research Exchange Group on Arts and Health welcomes anyone with an interest in arts and health to join us. See our calendar of meetings for information about upcoming webinars or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
A Compendium of Arts & Health Reseach and Programming in NL| A compendium of arts and health research and programming from across Newfoundland and Labrador was completed by Lynsey Alcock as part of her Master’s of Public Health Practicum at Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine. Launched in October 2020 and now updated for 2021, the compendium is the first of its kind for our province, and a valuable resource for this group. It is considered to be a “living document” and all are welcome to contact NLCAHR to make additions to the information as new programs and research get underway.
What Would be Required to Implement Social Prescribing in Newfoundland & Labrador? A Master’s of Public Health Practicum Project | Siham Sajed conducted her MPH Practicum research into why social prescribing might be an effective health promotion approach and finding out what would be involved in implementing a social prescribing framework in this province. A Report on Social Prescribing for NL by Siham Sajed MPH
The Health Evidence Network Synthesis Report was compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO) to assess the evidence on the role of arts in health and well-being. Access the review here: Link to Review
The Arts Health Network of Canada (AHNC) brings arts and health activities into the mainstream of Canadian life so that all Canadians are able to engage in art for the health of it, as well as the joy of it. Learn more about the network here: http://www.artshealthnetwork.ca/
The National Forum on the Arts & Health convenes researchers, business leaders, legal experts, policymakers, urban planners, architects, youth, health practitioners, artists, and representatives of other key sectors of Canadian society to explore how the arts and health are connected and to motivate artists for social change. Learn more here: http://www.fmjf.ca/
Group Activities & Presentations
February 15, 2023 at 7:00pm NT | PaRX Presentation | Evidence indicates that people who spend time in nature report better health. In June 2022, PaRx, Canada’s national evidence-based nature prescription programme was officially launched in Newfoundland and Labrador, enabling healthcare professionals to prescribe nature to their patients. This panel presentation will look at the evidence for the health benefits of time in nature, as well as talk specifically about PaRx.
February 8, 2023 at 12:30pm NT | Parks on Prescription | Presentation on new social prescribing program for Newfoundland and Labrador known as PaRx in which visits to national parks in Newfoundland and Labrador are prescribed to promote wellness.
March 7, 2023 at 12:30pm NT|Taylor Barei, MSW | Arts-based approaches to promote mental wellness
March 16, 2023 at 12:30pm NT| Lived Experiences of Older Adults Living with Type II Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM): An Exploration Using a Digital Storytelling Approach. Abdullah Saif's Ph.D. project project will use arts based digital storytelling to explore the lived experiences of patients in contexts of social, political and cultural discourses. The project is supported by SPOR (Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research) oriented research that prioritizes the patient voice.
November 9, 2022 2pm NT| Music-Based Interventions in Prison with Hannah Sparkes | Research has shown that music-based interventions, such as music therapy, can benefit people with mental health concerns in a variety of ways. For example, music helps people to express their feelings, to connect with others, and to develop confidence. People serving time in prison constitute a particular population in which there are high rates of mental health issues. Mental illness is far more prevalent in prison populations than in the community. Research on music-based interventions in prisons indicates that these interventions can have positive effects on the mental health of people within the prison setting and that they can also assist in better mental health on reintegration back into society. Hannah Sparkes has written a paper exploring mental healthcare in prisons, why music-based interventions could be particularly valuable in Newfoundland & Labrador correctional settings, and how connections with community organizations can help people with reintegration to society.| About our presenter: Hannah Sparkes is currently in the first year of her Master’s in Psychological Science at Toronto Metropolitan University, where, under the supervision of Dr. Frank Russo, she is researching how group singing interventions can benefit people with communication disorders. She is a member of the SMART Lab and associated with the SingWell project. She completed her Bachelor of Music in 2022, with a joint major in performance and musicologies and a minor in psychology. As a part of her musicologies major, Hannah studied the impact of music-based interventions on prison inmates, under the supervision of Dr. Jane Gosine.
October 17, 2022 | What Would be Required to Implement Social Prescribing in Newfoundland & Labrador? A Master’s of Public Health Practicum Project | Social Prescribing is a holistic approach to healthcare that brings together the social and medical models of health and wellness. It provides a formal pathway for health providers to address the diverse determinants of health, using the familiar and trusted process of writing a prescription. |Siham Sajed completed her Master’s of Public Health at Memorial University with a practicum project conducted at the NL Centre for Applied Health Research in the summer of 2022. This project involved research into why social prescribing might be an effective health promotion approach and finding out what would be involved in implementing a social prescribing framework in this province. Siham researched social prescribing as a health promotion concept, conducted a jurisdictional scan of 5 other social prescribing frameworks in Canadian, UK, and Australian settings, completed key informant interviews, and conducted a literature review on this topic. This resource for researchers, healthcare practitioners, and decision makers is a companion document to the Compendium of Arts & Health Resources that was completed in 2021.
January 2, 2022 | 3:00pm NST | Why Are Health Choir Members Motivated to Join and Continue their Participation? |A health choir is a choir for individuals with a shared experience of a particular health condition who also have a common interest in singing and learning music. Research on health choirs to date has largely centered on determining the benefits of participating in such choirs. Notable benefits of participation in health choirs, as noted in the literature, include physical benefits (such as improvements in breath capacity and mobility), social and community support, and improvements in mental well-being and singing/musical abilities. As well, there exists a body of literature that focuses on the motivations that drive participation in non-health choirs. However, what has not been explored are the motivations behind individuals’ decisions to join and continue participation in health choirs. Please join Timothy Brennan as he shares results from a research project that attempts to address this gap through determining what factors motivate health choir participants to join a health choir and continue their participation, the degree to which these factors motivate participation in health choirs, and whether the factors that motivate joining and continuing participation in health choirs are the same or different. To do this research, he surveyed two health choirs for this project: the Better Breathing Choir (St. John’s), and Singing with Parkinson’s (Toronto, ON). This presentation will discuss the project, its findings, and implications of these findings for health choirs and health choir leadership, future research in this area, and implications for the health care system at large. About our presenter: Timothy Brennan is a third-year medical student at Memorial University. He holds a Master of Health Ethics degree from Memorial University, a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Florida, and a Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree in Piano Performance and Composition from Memorial University.
December 3, 2021 | 3:00pm NST | Dance for Health | Hilary Walsh is a multidisciplinary artist and health professional who sees the value of the arts within healthcare. She began her journey as a dance artist and teacher in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Always an academic, Hilary’s love of dance drew her to study kinesiology – a field that merged her passion of dance with science. Feeling pulled towards healthcare, Hilary pursued a Master’s in Public Health focusing on population and community health. This opened her mind to view health from a holistic perspective, where environments, society, and economic trends impact health. Seeing the benefit of movement and dance for health, her goal has been to integrate dance into her practice as a healthcare practitioner. This presentation will cover Hilary’s current process of weaving dance into her work as an occupational therapist both with children and with older adults. An overview of current health evidence related to dance interventions will be discussed as well as the details of adapted dance programming vs. dance movement therapy.
November 23, 2021 | 3:00pm NST |Random Acts at Memorial University: student engagement and music-making |This presentation, intended for those who do research and practice in community engagement programming, will showcase the “Random Acts at Memorial” music-engagement program through Memorial University’s Student Life department. In this session, Julia Halfyard (Coordinator of New Student Experiences at Memorial and Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Education) will talk about the role of music engagement in enhancing a sense of place and belonging on campus. The “Random Acts at Memorial” music engagement programming being piloted for undergraduate students (lunchtime concerts, ‘busking’ in the tunnel systems, ensemble singing, and pop-up acts of music), deploys music and music-making opportunities as a form of cutting edge student engagement practice. The program is inspired by research evidence for the demonstrated power of music on mental health and social engagement in other community populations, and its creators are borrowing from these successes to create positive change in students' sense of belonging, well-being, healthy campus engagement, and community connection. About our Presenter: Julia Halfyard is the Coordinator of New Student Experience at Memorial University and a musical performer and teacher in St. John's with a record of performances across Canada, including the 2015 world premiere of the musical, “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” in Montreal. Julia is also a member of Lady Cove Women’s Choir and a leader of the ever-popular Instant Choir in St. John’s, NL. In addition to her work with Student Life at Memorial University, she is also a Ph.D. candidate infusing the joy of art and music-making into our communities.
October 26, 2021 | 3:00pm NST | Collaborative songwriting with persons living with dementia to challenge stigma |This presentation focused on the use of collaborative songwriting as a way to highlight the capabilities of individuals living with dementia. The presenter shared the songwriting model they use in practice, presented two case examples, and discussed the potential for using songwriting as a tool for social change in the dementia context. About our presenter: Taylor Kurta is an award-winning singer-songwriter, music therapist, and a PhD student at the University of Waterloo in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. Her research focuses on using critical arts-based methodologies to challenge stigma associated with dementia.
September 28, 2021 | Recreation Therapists in the Social Prescribing Framework | Cassandra McLean, Recreation Therapy (Hons), CTRS, Recreation Development Specialist II at Eastern Health on how Recreational Therapists and Therapeutic Recreation Specialists can align with goals for social prescribing in Newfoundland and Labrador. Recording available . Please contact NLCAHR to receive a copy.
April 7, 2021 | Art Hives Program Update | Leah Lewis | Members discussed what's been happening at the Hearthstone Art Hive, 42 Bannerman Street, St. John's, in the time of COVID-19.
April 16, 2021 | "Talk to Your Doctor—Stories of the Rural Physician" Documentary Viewing and Discussion | Lindsay Webster and Daniel Rees, Filmakers | Two medical students from Memorial's Faculty of Medicine set out in the summer of 2019 to make a documentary on what it’s like to be a rural physician. They crossed the province over 14 days and spoke to 11 doctors in nine communities, pulling back the curtain on the often challenging but rewarding career of the rural doctor. They talked about rural health and healthcare the process of filmmaking to explore this important health topic. | Link to the Film |
February 10, 2021 | Social Prescribing | Dr. Jane Gosine, School of Music and Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University | What would it look like for the healthcare system to see a patient as a whole person, instead of focusing on just their medical diagnoses? What if, along with medication, doctors and nurse practitioners were enabled to prescribe dance lessons, choir practice, art gallery visits, pottery classes, or other arts-based interventions? This kind of “social prescribing ” model has been formalized in England’s healthcare delivery, and is gaining national and international recognition. We discussed how we might gain momentum for social prescribing here in Newfoundland and Labrador. | Link to Presentation |
January 13, 2021 | Examining the Possibilities for Interprofessional Education Between Medical Students and Creative Arts Therapists | Jessa Vokey, Music Therapist | Vokey received a degree in piano performance and musicology at Memorial and then went on to Wilfrid Laurier to become a music therapist. She is now pursuing her medical degree at Memorial and discussed the research that she completed as part of the degree requirements for the degree Doctor of Medicine at Memorial University. This research asked three key questions:
- What are the experiences of creative arts therapists with regards to interprofessional education?
- What are the experiences of creative arts therapists with regards to working with physicians and medical students?
- What do creative arts professionals suggest when it comes to developing interprofessional education sessions between themselves and medical students?
October 8, 2020 | Arts & Health Compendium Project | Lynsey Alcock | An impressive compendium of arts and health research and programming from across Newfoundland and Labrador was completed by Alcock as part of her MPH Practicum at Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine. The compendium is the first of its kind for our province, and a valuable resource for this group. |
November 12, 2020 | Art & Healing in History | Sandra Hewitt-Parsons, BA, DKATI , N.D., Art Psychotherapist, Artist, Registered Naturopath Founder, Safe Harbour Expressive Arts Therapies | Sandra shared research on, and a video of, early art and healing and the Grenfell mission in Newfoundland. | Link to YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/cpbef9HpfDo |
December 10, 2020 | Sound Mind, Body, & Spirit: How Does Being a Music Student Impact Health & Wellbeing? | Hannah Boone and Allen Chang | Both presenters are medical students and musicians. Hannah Boone completed her undergraduate music degree at McGill University in Orchestral Trumpet Performance; Allen Chang, a medical student at McGill, is a violinist. Hannah and Allen presented the findings from their conjoint research project on musicians’ health. This research project explores topics of mental, physical and social health, comparing music students with non-music students and professional musicians. |
February 18, 2020 | Paper Doll Workshop | In a recent project on identities and subjectivities, with Dr Heather McLeod and Haley Toll, Cecile Badenhorst and the team reflected on the role of our imaginative selves as an important part of ethical practice as educators and writers in academic contexts. Dr. Badenhorst wrote about making paper dolls as a way of exploring our non-linguistic ways of knowing and being, and as a way of re-positioning oneself in contexts of stress and anxiety. In this hands-on workshop, she invited you to join her in making a paper art doll. No skills were required. Making paper dolls is particularly powerful way of engaging the imaginative self and it’s lots of fun too. Cecile Badenhorst is an Associate Professor in the Adult Education/Post-Secondary program in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University. As a researcher, she engages in qualitative, arts-based and post-structural research methodologies.
- Link to workshop slides
- Beyond words: Academic writing identities and imaginative(artistic) selves, Bad
- Horizons of Self-Composure: Using Poetry and Scribble- Portraits to Explore an
- Reflexive Inquiry, Artistic Selves, and Epistemological Expansion, McLeod, Bade
March 17, 2020 | Youth & Music | Brittany Howell, School of Pharmacy, Memorial University | Howell presented their Master's research on the perceptions and experiences of youth participating in a community-based music program as well as their caregivers, and their instructors.
November 5, 2019 | Canadian Art Therapy in Japan, Egypt, and Thailand | Michelle Winkel MA, MFT, ATR, REAT, Clinical Director of the Canadian International Institute of Art Therapy and Lucille Proulx, MA., ATR, CRAT, art therapist | Michelle is an art therapist, trained facilitator, and supervisor, with twenty years of experience working directly with groups, families, and individuals. Her 50 years plus of experience consists of working with children and parents in the community, private clinic and in the department of infant and child psychiatry at The Montreal Children’s Hospital. She is the past Executive Director of The B.C. School of Art Therapy (BCSAT). Lucille is an Honorary Life Member of The Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA) and The Association des Arts-Therapeutes du Quebec (AATQ). She is a member of the Advisory Committee of Arts Health Canada and the vice president of the Canadian Art Therapy Association. | Link to Presentation |
November 22, 2019 | Arts & Health Policymaking—Roundtable Discussion | The group discussed the new World Health Organization Health Evidence Network Synthesis Report: "What is the Evidence on the Role of the Arts in Improving Health and Well-Being?—A Scoping Review | Link to Review |
October 15, 2019 | Research, Knowledge Translation, and the Arts: Using Digital Stories to Explore the Experiences of Breast Cancer Patients | Dr. Natalie Beausoleil and Dr. Kathleen Sitter | The presenters provided an overview a research project that used digital stories created by women who have breast cancer. They outlined the key findings of this research project and discussed plans for knowledge translation through a theatrical performance at the Resource Centre for the Art (LSPU Hall) in St. John’s, NL: November 7-November 10 | Link to Presentation
November 27, 2019 | Transversing | Dr. Pamela Ward and Daze Jefferies | The collaborative team (For the Love of Learning/Artistic Fraud) discussed the process that led to the September 2018 performance of Transversing, a work that explored the lives and experiences of transgender people. | Link to Presentation |
January 22, 2019 | Arts-Based Interventions with At-Risk Youth | A. Shruti Raheja | The presenter discussed her research on arts-based interventions with at-risk youth, administered through a community program in St. John's, NL. | Link to Presentation |
February 19, 2019 | Understanding International Arts in Health and Wellbeing Structures and Implications for Canada | Haley Toll | A discussion of Toll's current findings and brief research regarding reports from national coalitions and organizations that support arts in health and wellbeing practice and research, including creative arts therapies. A variety of initiatives, including those introduced in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, were discussed. Through the analysis of national and provincial/territorial arts in health and wellbeing white papers and policy briefings, participants were invited to discuss and consider next research steps and ways to strengthen organizational collaborations in Canada, and in Newfoundland and Labrador. |
April 30, 2019 | Hearthstone Art Hive | Leah Lewis | Members were invited to participate in an Art Hive at Hearthstone, 42 Bannerman Street, St. John's. |
May 8 2019 | Capturing Beauty: From Carnegie Hall to Clarenville—Writing Lullabies in a Newfoundland Women's Prison | Jan Buley, Faculty of Education, Memorial University and David Buley, School of Music, Memorial University | Link to Media | Link to Research
October 25, 2018 | Right Care, Right Time, Right Place: Stories of the Atlantic Canada Art Therapy Roadshow—A Video Diary | Sandra Hewitt-Parsons | A discussion about the video diary of three art therapists working in Atlantic Canada | Link to Video |
January 16, 2018 | Disability Art Symposium | Dr. Leah Lewis, Faculty of Education and Lois Brown, Playwright | A discussion of chronic pain and dis (arts) aesthetics in two recent performances. |
February 28, 2018 | "You'll Never Forget These Stories:" | Dr. Jan Buley, Faculty of Education, Memorial University | A discussion about monologue writing and metaphor exploration with youth. This presentation highlighted what happened when youth at a homeless shelter were invited to write and show their their lifestories through song, poetry, and artefacts. |
March 20, 2018 | The Work of the Canadian Art Therapy Association | Haley Toll, Director and Sandra Hewitt-Parsons, art therapist |
May 16, 2017 | The Shea Heights Community Alliance | Dr. Stephen Darcy and Dr. Lisa Bishop | A discussion about arts-based programming in St. John's. | Link to Presentation Videos |
April 20, 2017 | Indigenous Health & Nursing: Arts-Based Research| Dr. Zaida Rahaman | A presentation on a publication in the Journal of Holistic Nursing: "An Opportunity for Healing and Holistic Care: Exploring the Roles of Health Care Providers Working Within Northern Canadian Aboriginal Communities" | Link to Publication |
March 9, 2017 | Open Studio Project | Leah Lewis and Heather McLeod | Link to Presentation |
February 9, 2017 | The Murphy Centre and the Arts | Lauren Power | Discussion on career counselling for arts and culture clients at the Murphy Centre. |
January 12, 2016 | Transportation Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities in St. John’s, NL | Dr. Kathleen Sitter, School of Social Work (Photovoice Project) |
March 8, 2016 | Arts-based HIV/AIDS Education for Aboriginal Youth in Labrador: A Community-Based Participatory Action Research Project | Rachel Landy, PhD Researcher |
April 5, 2016 | Exhibiting Creative Strength in Caregiving for Loved Ones with Dementia | Megan Morrison, PhD Researcher |
May 10, 2016 | The Inclusion Choir at Stella's Circle—Making “Joyful Noises” Together: Exploring the Impact of Group Singing on Individual and Community Mental Health and Wellbeing | Carolyn Chong, PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology |
October 20, 2016 | The Better Breathing Choir | Dr. Jane Gosine, School of Music, Memorial University | A discussion about choirs for people with lung conditions and breathing difficulties. |
December 1, 2015 | Using the Virtues Project Resources for Participant/Patient Engagement: A Creative Workshop | Elayne Greeley, Partnership Broker, CCEP Project. |
November 3 2015 | Music and Health | Dr. Jane Gosine, School of Music, Memorial University | Link to Resources |
March 11 2015 | Sexual Rights for Persons with Disabilities | Dr. Kathleen Sitter, School of Social Work, Memorial University |
April 8 2015 | The Power to Heal: Promoting Artistic Activities and Exploring the Possibility of an Arts Program at Our Medical School | Dr. Natalie Beausoleil | A discussion of the preliminary findings from interviews for her research project. |
May 6 2015 | Emerging Work with the Principles of Improvisation: "Improvisation and the Hearing Voices Network | Lori Clarke, graduate researcher |
June 9, 2015 | Research on Ethics and Arts-Based and Visual Methods in Research | Dr. Susan Cox , University of British Columbia |
November 17, 2014 | Drama and Improvisational Techniques that Help Children Work Towards Improved Social Skills and Self-Expression: A Workshop | Corie Harnett |
September 18 2014 | PhD research on Art Therapy for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Population | Christina Dove PhD Candidate, Neuroscience |
August 8, 2014 | Interactive Tour of the Rooms Provincial Art Gallery | Anne Pickard-Vaandering | The tour featured Pam Hall's exhibit Housework(s) | Details Here |
On July 31, 2014 | Screening of Doctoral Film "Good Grief" | Dr. Leah Lewis | The film explores a personal narrative about the grief associated with end-stage renal disease. |
June 25, 2014 | Evaluating Community Impact: Capturing and Making Sense of Community Outcomes | Elayne Greeley |