Creative Arts and Mental Health
This innovative and unique MSc in Creative Arts and Mental Health is jointly run by the Centre for Psychiatry and the Department of Drama and offers an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge and research, with a particular emphasis on theatre and performance in the creative arts. It covers the history, theory, and practice of performance in relations to all aspects of mental health promotion and the prevention and treatment of mental illness. Directed at a combination of education professionals, artists, scholars, and mental health practitioners, it offers students the opportunity to learn in detail, from both arts and science perspectives, about how art and performance can be used to think critically about and engage the public with concepts and experiences of mental health and the mental health system. The course necessarily reflects a critical analysis of the scientific method(s) of mental health research and practice and explore the use of arts-based research, evaluation and dissemination methods.
The primary aims of this course are to develop students’ ability to think critically about the relationship between the arts and mental health and mental health care practices in a national and international context. Specifics aims are to develop and enhance:
- the ways in which mental health professionals, arts practitioners and others interested in mental health and wellbeing work together in both clinical and non-clinical environments;
- the ways in which mental health experiences are represented in the arts and in popular culture, and how arts-based practice may help to expand and nuance both clinical and popular understandings of patient and clinician experiences in the mental health system;
- perceptions and assumptions about ways in which arts-based practices may support recovery;
- critical assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current practice in arts/mental health collaborations, with an eye to developing best practices for collaboration among arts workers, clinicians, mental health researchers, and - crucially - people with lived experience of mental health issues.
The course is not clinical, therefore the students will not leave with a clinical accreditation in mental health practice. Rather, the course is practice, research and reflection-based and is designed to encourage each student, whether coming from an arts or a sciences background, to critically consider the strengths and the limitations of his or her existing knowledge base. Whereas other courses in arts and mental health hierarchies the disciplines and treat the arts as a "therapy" tool, this course seeks to interrogate the assumptions underlying such disciplinary hierarchies in order to develop genuine best practices for better, more effective collaborations among arts practitioners, health care practitioners and patients, in order to serve the interests of all who work within mental health and social care systems.
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