1. Tell us a bit more about yourself (organisation)?
I’m interested in art, writing and the politics of education. I am passionate about full inclusion in education for all children, and for all people to access creative mediums.
2. What are you doing? Or What is the primary focus of your research?
I am completing the Post-Graduate Diploma in Arts Therapy at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design.
3. What inspired you to do what you’re doing?
I have been working as a teacher aide for four years now. I have seen that children in Aotearoa live with stress and anxiety, as well as experiences of trauma and neglect. The education sector is very hard pressed to provide funding for support of these children; when it is provided, it is for severe cases, and is directed at fostering academic achievement. Curriculum engagement is important for children's long term well-being; however, as someone who provides in class support for children, I see their emotional and mental-health needs as vitally important, and severely under-resourced.
Unplanned times in which I have been able to make art with children who are stressed or anxious have shown me that creative modalities are particularly appropriate for working with children. Because of these experiences, I want to equip myself with the training needed to enter the mental health workforce, as an arts therapist. Arts therapy is a powerful tool to help people.
4. Why did you choose to focus on this topic?
During lockdown, I had time to reflect on my experiences as a teacher aide and realised helping children to make art was one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Also, I studied fine arts, sociology, and psychology; arts therapy draws on knowledge and methodologies from each of these fields.
My prior study showed me that creative arts can be used to help others, and that everyone should have the opportunity to engage meaningfully in art, regardless of age, wealth or disability status; yet this is not currently the case. There are many barriers to health care in Aotearoa. By joining the mental health care workforce, I am trying to do my small part to increase access.
5. What made you decide to apply for an HealthCarePlus Grant for Good? (where did you hear about it)
I saw an email from HealthCarePlus a week before applications closed
6. How was your experience in Appling for the grant?
My older sister really believed in me and helped me contact the references I needed in order to apply in time. I don’t think I would have been able to apply without her encouragement, and the support of those who wrote references for me.
7. How has funding from HealthCarePlus helped? (to advance your research)?
With the funding from HealthCarePlus, I have been able to begin studying towards a Masters Degree in Arts Therapy. This financial support has enabled me to purchase a quality laptop, which has allowed me to engage with my coursework. For example, I have been able to edit photos and videos for my assessments using my own laptop, which is something I was not able to do during previous study involving this kind of work.
8. What does this grant mean to you?
It’s been very encouraging to know that an organisation is willing to support my study, and that mental health is becoming more valued in New Zealand. I hope alongside this will come an increase in understanding and compassion for each other, and a reduction in stigma towards those experiencing mental health challenges.
9. What would you say to others considering but hesitant in applying for a grant?
If you are sincere and passionate about your project, you have a great chance of receiving a grant.
10. What advice would you give to future Grants for Good applicants?
Start early, to make the process less stressful! The application is quite time consuming.
11. What are you hoping to achieve?
Working as an arts therapist with young people.
12. In what way will your project/course help make a positive impact on others?
I will work with young people who need extra help, and assist them to find hope, build resilience, believe in themselves.
If you are interested and want to know more this year's Grants for Good and how to apply for one then click here.