The Creativity and Wellbeing Hallmark Research Initiative explores the intersection of creativity and wellbeing. It uses an interdisciplinary knowledge base to cultivate a network of researchers who investigate the relationship between creativity and wellbeing, and the impact of creativity on wellbeing across the lifespan.
The Initiative builds on existing expertise at the University across seven faculties,
- Fine Arts and Music
- Business and Economics
- Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences
- Architecture Building and Planning.
By drawing together experts from various disciplines, the Initiative explores how and why creativity relates to wellbeing, while engaging with each Faculty's international networks to encourage further research investment into the importance of nurturing wellbeing in society through creative enterprise.
This collaboration will lead to the development of new theoretical frameworks and methods to better understand the impact of creativity on wellbeing through scholarly research and real-world application. The Initiative is multifaceted in its scope, focusing on specific life stages, from infancy to older age. The application of creativity for wellbeing will be assessed in different settings and will consider varying sociological and socioeconomic contexts. Questions that this Initiative seeks to address include:
- What are the barriers that thwart and conditions that enable experiences of creativity of different groups at different life stages?
- How do creative activities optimise cognitive and emotional functions, strengthen a sense of identity, nurture intellectual growth and social bonds, and enhance personal and social resilience?
- What is the immediate and long-term effectiveness of creative activities in maintaining and protecting wellbeing?
- Which creative activities and tools, including digital and networked technologies, best serve specific wellbeing goals and support creativity economically and at scale?
The Creativity and Wellbeing Hallmark Research Initiative will apply this information to recognise the types, roles and values of creativity from numerous disciplinary perspectives, and investigate how best to deliver wellbeing benefit through creative activities. The new theoretical foundations will be used to partner with industries to understand the reliability and feasibility of such methods in generating pathways towards wellbeing in society. This research is particularly important for developing our understanding of what it means for individuals and communities to achieve wellbeing, and how creativity can be harnessed effectively towards this aim.
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Faculty of Fine Arts and Music
Jane W Davidson is Chair of the Creativity and Wellbeing Hallmark Research Initiative (CAWRI), Professor of Creative and Performing Arts (Music) and Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. Jane’s previous roles include Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions and President of the Musicological Society of Australia. Her academic interests embrace the relationship between arts and health across the lifespan, emotion and expression in the arts, historically informed performance practices, and vocal studies. Jane publishes in the disciplines of music psychology; community, participatory and education studies; history of emotions and reflective practice research. Jane’s research interests are central to CAWRI’s remit, and include projects such as: the longitudinal study of older people in singing groups; musical investment across the lifespan, exploring gains in self-determination, with studies ranging from young children to older people; music and empathy in interfaith and intercultural contexts; and social cohesion and resilience through intercultural music engagement. Jane brings this wealth of experience and knowledge to her role as Chair of CAWRI.
Faculty of Fine Arts and Music
Frederic Kiernan completed a PhD in musicology at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, the University of Melbourne, in 2019. His thesis used methods from musicology, reception study, and the history, psychology and sociology of emotion to explore the historical development and present-day consequences of myths about the Bohemian composer Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679–1745). He has published research in the journals Emotions: History, Culture, Society; Context; Clavibus unitis; and in the music encyclopedia Grove Music Online (Oxford University Press). He has also published a major critical edition of six of Zelenka’s compositions with A-R Editions (Middleton, WI., 2018). Fred has lectured and tutored at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music since 2010 in the areas of medieval and early-modern music, eighteenth-century music, music criticism, music in everyday life, and the research process for musicians. He has also previously worked as a Research Assistant at the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, and was an Endeavour Research Fellow at Martin Luther University (Halle-Wittenberg) in 2015. As an editorial committee member of the music journal Context, he is actively involved in academic publishing, and he has previously worked as a Research Consultant on open access within the University of Melbourne library.
Steering Committee (alphabetical)
Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences
Martha Hickey is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne, Head of Menopause Services at the Royal Women’s Hospital and Director of the Gynaecology Research Centre, Victoria. Her clinical and research focus is healthy ageing in women and she currently leads an art program (Flesh after Fifty https://fleshafterfifty.com/). This program uses artistic participation to explore the meaning and value of ageing, to challenge negative images of older women in art, and it engages women across Victoria to participate in the creation of new art. Martha’s clinical and research work in the health sciences uses a holistic approach to fostering the physical and emotional health of ageing women, and it combats associated negative stereotypes.
Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning
Associate Professor Clare Newton is a registered architect and Doctor of Education in the Melbourne School of Design. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on architectural design from users’ perspectives. Clare was Chair of the Ageing Hallmark Research Initiative and founding member of the Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN). Clare is currently a Chief Investigator on two Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Projects. The most recent is called Building Connections: Schools as Community Hubs. She led two further ARC Linkage projects on learning space design and evaluation. The Talking Spaces symposia instigated from her first ARC has run as annual conversations between industry and academia for the past decade. Clare was Director of the Bachelor of Environments with over 2,000 students and co-developed Design for Ageing as part of the Master of Ageing, as well as two other interdisciplinary and cross-faculty Masters. She is currently co-developing coursework on evidence-based design for health and wellbeing.
Melbourne Graduate School of Education
Lindsay Oades is a Professor of Positive Psychology for the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and Director of the Centre for Positive Psychology. Lindsay leads a team who investigate and disseminate applications of positive psychology and wellbeing science. Lindsay’s work in wellbeing spans health, business, education and public policy. With over 100 refereed publications including four books Lindsay believes that wellbeing is everyone’s business, with this shared responsibility reflected in his comprehensive theory of wellbeing, Thriveability Theory. He is currently a board member of Action for Happiness Australia and the Positive Education Schools Association. Lindsay adopts a systems approach to his thinking about wellbeing, and emphasises the role that language plays in shaping systems and how we construe wellbeing. Lindsay’s vision is for every Australian school student to have and be working towards their own personalised wellbeing plan. His motto “teach rather than treat” reflects his emphasis that we need to place wellbeing in a learning discourse rather than reducing it always to a medical issue. Lindsay’s three research interests are (1) Wellbeing Literacy: how we communicate about and for wellbeing; (2) Personalised Wellbeing Planning: how we help people take planned and personalised action for wellbeing; (3) Thriveability Theory: how we as a society enable populations to have the capability for wellbeing. Lindsay is interested in the intersection of creativity and wellbeing in a learning context, where wellbeing may be viewed as a creation of meaning, rather than a removal of illness.
Faculty of Arts
Peter Otto is Professor of Literature at the University of Melbourne, Executive Director of the Faculty of Arts' Research Unit in ‘Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Contemporary Culture’, and a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He teaches and researches in the literatures and cultures of modernity, from Romanticism to the new media of today; and this in turn provides both backdrop and vehicle for his long-standing interest in the histories of creativity, the roles it plays in modernity, and its relation to well-being. He is completing a book on ‘William Blake, Secularisation, and the History of Imagination’, while working on an ARC-funded project on ‘Architectures of Imagination: Bodies, Buildings, Fictions, and Worlds’. The first maps the roles played by imagination in the passage from religious to secular modes of thought. The second aims to provide a resource for thinking differently about the relation between space, place, fiction, and creativity.
Faculty of Business and Economics
Graham Sewell is Professor of Organisation Studies and Human Resource Management, and Associate Dean (Research and Research Training) at the Faculty of Business and Economics. He is responsible for providing research leadership in a faculty that has extensive expertise in the measurement of the social and economic effects of wellbeing. It also has well-established expertise in understanding the contribution creative industries make to the local, regional, and national economy. CAWRI provides the perfect opportunity to combine these areas of expertise as part of a wider collaborative project across the University. Graham’s own expertise is in the broad area of performance measurement and performance management. His recent research interests have included the psychological and social impact of home working and the rise of third-party evaluation sites that measure product and customer service. He is also completing a project on genre change in Jamaican music. Graham is an avid collector of esoteric vinyl records from 1945-1972 and he makes regular radio and club deejay appearances playing Afro-American, Jamaican, and Latin music.
Melbourne School of Engineering
Jenny Waycott is a Senior Lecturer and ARC Future Fellow in the School of Computing and Information Systems in the Melbourne School of Engineering. Her research investigates how technology can be designed and used to enrich older people’s lives, including through creative pursuits. She has worked on two recent ARC projects that used technology to facilitate social connectedness through creative activities. The ‘Growing Old, Staying Connected’ project trialled a photo-sharing application to help alleviate older people’s experience of social isolation. More recently, she contributed to the ‘Ageing and Avatars’ project, in which older adults co-designed a virtual reality environment and created playful self-representations for use in a reminiscence-based social VR setting. Her Future Fellowship is critiquing how new technologies are used for social enrichment in aged care, which includes digital storytelling, art making and music activities that are supported by technology and aim to foster social engagement.
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Special Issue: Creativity and Wellbeing. The call for submissions for the special issue opens on 6 November 2019. More information is available here.News
CREATIVITY AND WELLBEING: MAPPING THE TERRITORY. 26 November 2019. Registration is required and details are now available here. The event will bring together academics from various universities and disciplines to investigate the relationship between creativity and wellbeing, and how creativity may foster wellbeing.News
MONDAY 19 AUGUST, 4.30-6PM.Creative Spaces for Wellbeing: imagination, virtual reality, and the built environment. Further information about presenters and venue is now available here. Registration is not required.News
MONDAY 15 JULY, 12-2pm.This free networking event is open to staff and post-confirmation PhD students at the University of Melbourne who are seeking to collaborate on projects related to creativity and wellbeing. Registration and other information is now available.News
Thanks to everybody who attended the CAWRI launch on 12 June. It was great to see so many researchers and research-support staff interested in our Initiative!News
The overarching research agenda of the Creativity and Wellbeing Hallmark Research Initiative is to identify evidence of wellbeing benefit arising from various forms of creativity and creative interactions within and across disciplines. This will be achieved by developing measures of impact on physical wellbeing outcomes, memory scaffolding, social connectivity, identity affirmation and development, and personal and social resilience. The Initiative will also work with the public and public institutions to identify avenues for the delivery of wellbeing benefit from creative activity, and will partner with industry to test the feasibility, acceptability and accessibility of purposeful creative activities that target wellbeing.
Creativity and wellbeing
- Immediate and long-term effectiveness of creative activities in maintaining and protecting wellbeing
- Creativity and its capacity to enhance physical and mental health
- Projects on medical and psychological pathways to health and wellbeing
- Mental health and wellbeing
Wellbeing and healthy ageing
- Using creative activities to optimise cognitive and emotional functions, strengthen identity, nurture intellectual growth and social bonds, and enhance personal and social resilience
- ‘Flesh after Fifty: Changing images of older women in art’
Sociological factors and creativity across a lifespan
- Impact that life stages – infancy, early childhood, adolescence, mid-life and older age – have on creativity and wellbeing
- Barriers that thwart and conditions that enable experiences of creativity of different groups at different life stages
- Impact of gender, race, economics, language and ‘at risk’ contexts on creativity and wellbeing
- Wellbeing and cognitive development
- Creative arts learning
Creative technology for wellbeing
- Which creative activities and tools, including digital and networked technology, best serve specific wellbeing goals and support creativity economically and at scale?
- Designs for social connectedness
- Technologies for creativity and enrichment in old age
- Virtual reality and mental health
- Focus on dementia risk reduction via lifestyle modifications (physical activity, cognitive activity, use of modern technology, etc.)
Wellbeing, environment and creativity
- Impact of domestic, environmental, clinical and institutional environments on creativity and wellbeing
- Creative design for living, learning and working
- Design for living
- Design for Ageing
Applications for Round 2 funding will open 15 January,
with a closing date of 1 March 2020
In 2019 the Creativity and Wellbeing Hallmark Research Initiative offered a seed funding scheme for grants up to $13,000 to support inter-Faculty research projects that explore the relationship between creativity and wellbeing. The primary purpose of the scheme is to build capacity and support new and emerging research collaborations which explore the intersection of creativity and wellbeing, and how creativity may foster wellbeing. The application deadline was 15 August 2019.
Information about the 2019 scheme is available from the Guidelines. These outline details of the scheme, conditions of the grant, staff eligibility and the selection process.
Projects awarded seed-funding, 2019
Communities over the airwaves: How the creativity of community language radio promotes wellbeing among new and emerging migrant communities in Australia
Feral pedagogies: Exploring how queer performance builds queer community, resilience and wellbeing
Fostering youth wellbeing using music
Creating well-beings through creativity and imagination in community based dietetic practice
Through their lenses: Creativity, wellbeing and women's experiences of ageing
Left, Write, Hook: The efficacy of writing and boxing in assisting survivors of sexual trauma in moving towards post traumatic growth
This is me: Exploring how shared music expression with peers can support psychological wellbeing in autistic young adults
Healthy people, healthy country and healthy art careers: Understanding creativity and cultural identities in new Indigenous artistic practices and industries
We would love to hear from you! For more information about the Creativity and Wellbeing Hallmark Research Initiative please contact,
- Research Coordinator: Frederic Kiernan
t. +61 3 9035 4597 | e. email@example.com
OR, if you have questions or comments in relation to the Hallmark Research Initiatives program, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Focusing on the intersection of creativity and wellbeing.