The European Graduate School
EST. 1994

Arts, Health and Society Division

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AHS Research Overview 2018

"Because Art is Movement" - Expressive arts as Bridge for Body and Meaning

This thesis compares the frameworks of Expressive Arts Therapy and physiotherapy, and aims to answer three research questions: ‘What is healing?’, 'What is movement in relation to the body?’ and 'How might Expressive Arts Therapy bring insight to traditional medical disciplines?’. Drawing from art-based research, and different cultural and philosophical perspectives will be contrasted and compared, including the biomedical and biopsychosocial models of medicine, phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger), traditional Chinese lexicography and philosophy, and a new approach to physiotherapy (Basic Body Awareness Methodology ‘BBAM’). Reflections from working with different population groups reveal important elements for change on an individual level, offered as insights to restore fundamental needs at the root causes of suffering that are often ignored within traditional biomedical approaches.

2018: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Ka Kit Lai

Student: Ying Chui Sarah Chu
E-Mail

Keywords: body, movement, body awareness, movement quality, expressive arts, bridge, meaning, pain

'When Puppetry meets Recovery' in relation to Expressive Arts Therapy

Recovery-oriented practice is a process of healing, enabling people who suffer from mental illness ('people in recovery') to live a meaningful life in a community. The thesis begins with a brief introduction in the development of Recovery in Hong Kong, before exploring the main topic, which is the journey of the imagination and aesthetic experience when integrating Expressive Arts Therapy and Recovery elements with puppetry. My research questions are: How can we discover our inner resources through the use of Expressive Arts Therapy? What can puppetry contribute to the recovery journey? What can be the use of Expressive Arts Therapy in this context? Using these elements, how will human-shaped puppets influence the process for people in recovery?

2018: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Ka Kit Lai

Student: Ka Man Au
E-Mail

Keywords: recovery-oriented practice, people in recovery, puppetry

Authentic Arts for Global Nomads

The researcher seeks to find whether the use of Expressive Arts Education is an effective tool for building awareness and resources in the Adult Third Culture Kid community.

 

The Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a globally mobile child who grows up in a country that differs to that of their parent’s passport country. The Third Culture Kid is tasked with bridging the differing cultures to create their own, third culture. This phenomenon is relatively new and not commonly known by current Adult Third Culture Kids (ATCK). Spreading awareness about this concept is key to fully understanding the present-day psychological impacts on this population. These adults tend to deal with grief, identity, and belonging issues.

 

Workshops were designed to facilitate a space for Adult Third Culture Kids to share the untold stories of their unique upbringing. The structure of these workshops were mainly based on Pollock et al.’s research of the TCK phenomenon, Bushong’s counseling experience with TCKs, Knill and Levine’s Expressive Art Therapy methodology and the resource-oriented perspective in Herbert Eberhart’s work. The workshops included experiences that were embodied, artistic, and musical. This shift away from limiting verbal narratives encouraged the participants to embrace new resource-oriented perspectives and gave them a fresh take on their sense of identity and belonging.

2018: Master Thesis (English)
magna cum laude

Advisor: Brigitte Wanzenried

Student: Sarah De Latte
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Keywords: identity, belonging, grief, third culture kids, adult third culture kids, global nomads, movement, storytelling, visual arts, community

Create Mind Space - Insight into art-based learning in mathematics at secondary level one

As a teacher, the author is committed to teach mathematics, which promotes independent thinking. It is about a learning culture, which focuses on the own thinking processes and the development of the personality. It is a plea for an art-analogous attitude and questions the constant criticism as a learning method. It is based on a postmodern understanding of education. Knowledge is seen as a versatile reality, not as God-given truth. The references to the model of multiple intelligences and to resonance pedagogy are interesting. It is not about a totally new teaching method, but an enrichment of the previous variety of methods.

2018: Ph.D. Dissertation (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Peter Wanzenried

Student: Denise Steinacher
E-Mail

Keywords: education, art-based research. action-research, grounded theory, constructivism, teaching, learning theory, resonance, multiple intelligences

dancing with the phantom of our darkness

“Dancing with the phantom of our darkness” “Dancing with the phantom” is a metaphor used by the author to describe the experience a person confronts with his/her darkness. Art-making is a powerful container and transformer of devastating feelings and provides new perspectives on one’s suffering. The first part of this thesis gave an account of the author’s personal experience of depression, one of the phantoms in her life, how she got along with it by art-making and the therapeutic effects of dialoguing with the image appeared. In the second part, the author reviewed different theories concerning depression and suicide, focusing on the causes of neurosis and even death. The third part consisted of two cases, applying the architecture of expressive arts therapy theoretically and practically. The thesis concluded by a reflection of how this knowledge and experience changed the author’s attitude toward “phantom” and the impact on her work of helping the depressed and suicidal people.

2018: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Lai Ka Kit

Student: Yip Pan Wa
E-Mail

Keywords: suicide, depression, dialoguing with images,persona and shadow, darker sides, trust the process, chaos

Homecoming with Gifts: Enriching existence in Expressive Arts Therapy with the idea of space

How we view our existence- our presence in the world, and one’s pursuit of authentic living, may be one of the most important inquiries of mankind. The exploration of existence begins with the aspect of ‘space’, and will look at a phenomenological perspective on existence and how this is connected to our sense of space, the viewpoint of humanistic geography on space, Expressive Arts Therapy concepts related to space, alongside the architecture of a therapy session. Practicum study results show how therapy clients can be affected by and derive meaning from characteristics of space. The thesis ends with accounts from my personal journey of exploring this topic.

2018: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Ka Kit Lai

Student: Hiu Wing Chan
E-Mail

Keywords: existence, space, poiesis, meaning-making, humanistic geography

La Revolución Humana

The Human Revolution El abstract: The question of how to co-create the suffering of human misunderstanding is explored and what role art has to get out of this suffering. It is defined that from the resistances to accept the co-creation there arise three reactive perceptions: victim, victimizer and Savior. Called the perceptive reactive triad. And three possible behaviors are established: Sacrificed, conflictive and evasive. Called the behavioral reactive triad. It is discovered that these three perceptions and these three behaviors give rise to nine roles that co-create the suffering of the mismatch and enclose the human being in a kind of labyrinth of Crete. It is established that the way out of these psychological prisons is to become the protagonist and take charge of your own life, learn from pain and incorporate poiesis into everyday life to be an artist of your own life and your bonds.

2018: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Jose Miguel Calderón

Student: Javier Jesús Echevarría Escribens
E-Mail

Keywords: the human revolution

Music as Communication Across Cultures

Different cultures from all around the world create and engage in music. The following study aspires to gain understanding in how music connects people across different communities. Research includes empirical and hermeneutical observations using the phenomenological approach. The study contains different authors and philosophers’ observations involving music across cultures. Research also includes direct work in multicultural events, such as drum circles. In addition, observations are described from music groups held with people with disabilities as well as children. The study explores how people may communicate through music with one another. Music can be sent to one another through sound vibrations. These sound vibrations have the ability to influence matter as well as people. People can be affected physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Music can inspire people to feel connected to others or to the world.

2018: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Barbara Hielscher-Witte

Student: Kristen Bowman
E-Mail

Keywords: music, communication, cultures, community, drumming, ghana

Staging Be/longing. How a forum theatre event can enhance communication and mutual understanding between natives and immigrants in a local community.

This thesis researches how a forum theatre event can enhance communication and mutual understanding between immigrants and natives in a local community. A forum theatre ensemble in Norway with 10 members who had 12 different national backgrounds, along with 3 separate audiences, participated in this qualitatively based phenomenological Participatory Action Research study. The forum theatre performance portrayed native and immigrant experiences of different environments in the bioecological systems and both sensitive and humorous cultural praxises in everyday lives. The study found that a forum theatre event can have a catalyst effect that enhances communication and mutual understanding by providing a space for presence as an aesthetic community, raising awareness of life experiences, and warming up to involvement in challenges and potentials for a sense of belonging to the local community.

2018: Master Thesis (English)
magna cum laude

Advisor: Melinda Ashley Meyer DeMott

Student: Kari Anne Næss
E-Mail

Keywords: forum theatre. social integration. refugees and immigrants. ethnic and religious diversity. sense of belonging

The Art of Silence: The Role of Silence in Nature-Based Expressive Arts Practice

This thesis journeys into the aesthetics of silence in nature-based expressive arts practice. It explores how nature-based expressive arts therapy can help cultivate an embodied sense of silence to nourish and support frontline mental health workers through the stresses of assisting a population in the midst of an opioid and overdose crisis. Through my attempts to find nourishment and solace in trying times on the job, I encountered the sanity of silence in nature and the transformational effects of shaping and becoming through art making and my training as an expressive arts practitioner. This research is an extension of that discovery as I offered workshops to my co-workers who became my co-researchers, together experiencing how the phenomenon of silence can help provide a rich resource to guide expressive arts theory and practice.

 

2018: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Richard Wainwright Roberta Rasmussen-Merz

Student: Alexandra Tegart
E-Mail

Keywords: aesthetics of silence, deep ecology, poetic ecology, opioid crisis, eco-aesthetics, exa