Arts and Community Health


This workshop was open to delegates of the Arts and Health Conference, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, held from November 14, 2011. The workshop enabled about 25 participants to re-create in sound an artwork of an indigenous painter or sculptor.

Details about the workshop

The process commenced by each participant making a personal connection to the exhibit, then exploring the sounds made by the different musical instruments provided. These instruments were from a collection of indigenous healing instruments from around the globe, requiring only minimum skill to play. The sounds discovered by each person were then used to communicate directly with the artwork, both personally and within the group. Each participant could see and experience the art at different levels, reflecting different levels of insight within each person.

From this place of heightened awareness and creativity, new levels of engagement could be achieved, inspiring self-directed activity, bonding within a group, or building community. Such an approach is relevant to address individual health issues, personal development, and groups with particular needs. It is strengthening and healing in contexts as diverse as the workplace, multicultural identity, communities recovering from trauma and disaster, and for people dealing with mental health issues. In addition to general clientele, people with autism, deafness, psychosis, chronic disease and debility have readily felt the power of this combination of art and music, and been able to access deeper levels within themselves, resulting in continued well-being.

This workshop thus provided a taster of a modality that allowed for many interpretations and applications, such as personal health, specific groups, or community matters.

This direct experience with an artist and artistic activities was designed to promote an interest in the approach in general, and further develop the Art of Good Health.

Specific training is available for existing health practitioners to run workshops using this modality. Please contact Dian Booth for details.