Peter Wright & Christina Davies

Murdoch University

Peter Wright is a Senior Lecturer in Arts Education and Research Methods, and Academic Chair of Research and Postgraduate Studies School of Education at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia. He works across the arts with a commitment to personal, social and cultural inquiry, development, education and expression. Peter is the Chief Investigator on an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant entitled “Young people and arts practice: impact, evaluation, and the third space. A better way forward”. He recently delivered the International Perspective on Arts and Human Development International Keynote Address for the Arts For Individual And Social Change Forum. Fordham University Be The Evidence Project Forum Series, Graduate School of Social Service, New York.

Christina DaviesChristina Davies is a PhD candidate and Research Associate.  Her PhD is funded via a Healthway Research Starter Grant for which she is the chief investigator and she is a recipient of a Healthway Health Promotion Research Training Scholarship. Christina has 12 year experience in the areas of health research and health promotion evaluation and has extensive experience in both qualitative and quantitative research techniques, including data collection, analysis and reporting. Christina has managed a wide range of research projects and has qualifications in the visual arts, psychology and public health.

Consider questions of impact and change to three Big hART projects

This presentation will focus on the work of Big hART, Australia’s most awarded participatory arts company. Founded in 1992, Big hART has worked directly with more than 6,500 individuals in over 32 rural and remote communities. Through arts-based practices Big hART has worked with these communities to assist them address social problems such as domestic violence, drugs misuse, suicide, low levels of literacy, motor accident prevention, truancy, intergenerational addiction and homelessness ( Big hART has a distinctive way of creating third space—a conceptual and imaginative environment where learning and creativity combine for creativity, learning and identity formation—addressing fragile communities developed through 18 years of successful practice. In each case, Big hART works in a participatory way to respond to issues identified by communities themselves.

This research uses three Big hART projects across three states to consider questions of impact and change. Following on from Fine, Weis, Centrie & Robert’s work (2000 p. 132), these opportunities “inspire re-educative possibilities, [offer] new ways to produce ‘common sense’ and re-imagine social possibilities”. Consequently, a better understanding of this work will reveal benefits that accrue, effective processes used, and the stock and flow of creative ideas, tools and people used to benefit individuals, communities, and the nation. More specifically, this presentation will consider questions of impact and audience, then use research conducted through the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University, UK as an international comparator.

Research team: Peter Wright, Barry Down, Brad Haseman, Mike White, Scott Rankin.

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