Creative arts for health and wellbeing: Australia’s first research unit launched
Next week the University of Melbourne will launch the Creative Arts Therapy Research Unit (CATRU), the first training and research program of its kind in Australia.
Building on the University of Melbourne’s expertise in the field of Music Therapy and with an emphasis on international collaboration and research, the unit will support evidence-based development of creative arts therapies in Australia to provide all Australians with access to the arts for health and wellbeing.
Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Associate Dean (Academic), and Co-Director of the National Music Therapy Research Unit and CATRU Co-Director, Felicity Baker said that the centre would research the application of creative arts therapy across the health care spectrum.
“With an emphasis on drama, dance movement and art therapy, the Unit will research how various areas of healthcare such as acute hospital settings, rehab and recovery, community support and development, and health promotion can benefit from creative arts therapy,” Professor Baker said.
With academics from four countries already involved in the program, the unit will collaborate and contribute to the growing body of research in creative arts therapy.
“Creative arts therapies are more strongly established in the UK, the US and Europe, so we hope to align Australian practice and research with the rest of the world through international collaboration,” Professor Baker said.
“PhD candidates will have access to state-of-the-art academic facilities, highly skilled academic research staff, and will be supported through their candidature with research training programs and individual supervision – from local and international discipline-specific experts.”
Expressive Therapy academic from Lesley University in Boston, USA, and Drama Therapy Program Advisor, Expressive Therapies PhD Program, Associate Professor Nisha Sajnani, said she was honoured to be a part of the program and looked forward to sharing her research interests and supporting their doctoral students.
“The launch of CATRU signals the University of Melbourne’s commitment to expanding the evidence base for the arts therapies through excellence in research and heralds the development of future training courses across Australia,” Dr Sajnani said.
CATRU will be officially launched on 4 August with a special presentation by Dr Nisha Sajnani; Arts, identity, and healing in the context of the refugee crisis.