The European Graduate School
EST. 1994

Arts, Health and Society Division



AHS Research Overview 2019

DUYAN Bridging Healing and Learning through the Expressive Arts: Transforming Classrooms in Disaster Contexts into Healing Spaces

This dissertation explores how the expressive arts can bridge healing and learning to transform classrooms into healing spaces in disaster-affected contexts. More specifically, it examines how the training of teachers to integrate the expressive arts into their classrooms helps student survivors in their recovery, and serves as a cradle (duyan in Filipino) to educators during their own process of healing. With the evaluative case study, autoethnography and A/R/Tography as methodologies, this paper is substantiated by eight core stories about expressive arts psychosocial training workshops conducted for teachers around the world. Three words that surfaced from images which emerged from the narratives, are core to the study: crumpled, cradled and (being) capable. Crumpling is presented as it relates to trauma, cradling as it relates to attachment and attunement, and being capable as it relates to self-agency. The central discussion on cradling offers the beginnings of a theory of the expressive arts as a point of convergence for education and mental health. This is reinforced by data from the field, research from eastern healing practices, neuroscience, and neuroaesthetics through an interlacing of artistic and scientific perspectives. The paper concludes with the author’s detailed description of the arts-based research process and its consequent findings.

2019: Ph.D. Dissertation (English)
magna cum laude

Advisor: Sally Atkins

Student: Maria Regina Abella Alfonso

Keywords: bridging healing and learning though the expressive arts, expressive arts a cradle, the expressive arts in disaster context schools

Enacting Perception

The use of movement in Expressive Arts practices can be especially effective when the practice facilitates the widest possible range of movement options.  Facilitation techniques that moderate the contradictions that emerge in movement improvisation can enable a wider range of play by increasing capacity for movement invention.  To understand capacity, we must understand the barriers that interfere with achieving capacity.  Therefore, this research first explores the question: What are the factors that mediate facility in movement improvisation in Expressive Arts practices?    This research explores these mediating issues with interest in identifying moderating options. The second question tackled in this research is: How might a methodology focused on attending to specific aspects of an art work's expression moderate movement facility to expand a participant’s range of play? The proposed methodology promotes enactive attunement, creating a bridge between what is perceived and how that perception might be embodied.  A partially field-tested resource with potential to guide users to aspect-specific attention in aesthetic responding is offered as a way to dissolve barriers and enhance options in movement-based inquiry. 

2019: Ph.D. Dissertation (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Judith Greer Essex

Student: Constance Schrader

Keywords: movement-based inquiry, dance, expression, improvisation, art, aspect, facilitation