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 Davidson is a Professor of Creative and Performing Arts for the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne and the Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. As Deputy Director, Jane leads the Centre’s Performance Program, and coordinates industry partnerships, education, outreach, media and communications. Jane’s commitment to engagement and fostering partnerships has positioned her in a leading role for the development of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music engagement strategy. Jane’s research covers various areas of study with focuses on artistic development, arts and health (particularly in relation to ageing), performance practices, emotion and expression in performance, and vocal studies. Jane has worked as an opera singer and music theater director, using these skills to coordinate the Masters of Music in Opera Performance, and teach the Masters of Music in Music Psychology and Performance Science. She has an extensive publication record and is a frequent reviewer for academic funding bodies and publishers, she has received research grants in both Australia and overseas and has experience supervising higher degrees as well as mentoring postdoctoral research fellows. Jane’s extensive academic career, beginning in the United Kingdom, has seen her be active in the music community, both internationally and domestically, for over 20 years, and she brings this wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as chair of this initiative.
Faculty of Fine Arts and Music
Frederic Kiernan is a PhD candidate in musicology at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, the University of Melbourne. His PhD research uses methods from the history of emotions, reception study, and music psychology 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 a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne and Director of the Women’s Gynaecology Research Centre at the Royal Women’s Hospital. Martha is active in clinical practice utilizing her research expertise in menstrual disorders and menopause. Martha’s research extends to addressing negative stereotypes and perception of ageing in women, encouraging the appreciation of ageing women through artistic participation, culminating in her involvement in the “Flesh after Fifty: Changing images of older women in art” research project. Martha has been instrumental in providing menopause services across Australia, coordinating clinical and research resources of varying health professionals, including oncologists, breast surgeons, psychologists and other relevant health personnel, to foster a wholistic approach to the physical and emotional health of ageing women and combatting associated negative stereotypes. Martha has been a chief investigator for multiple research projects in gynaecology, receiving competitive grants, and funding from bodies such as National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the National Institutes of Health, (NIH/NICHD) USA.
Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning
Clare Newton is an architect and teaches and researches in the fields of design and construction with particular focus on interdisciplinary research and encouraging creative design for living, particularly in relation to design for ageing and diversity. From 2012 until 2014 she was Director of the Bachelor of Environments, a unique interdisciplinary undergraduate degree linking built and natural environments. She has acted as Chief Investigator on four Australian Research Council Linkage Projects, funding three PhD students and multi-disciplinary research teams. She led the Smart Green Schools and Future Proofing Schools projects which facilitated the establishment of Australia’s peak body for prefabrication, PrefabAUS. Claire most recently chaired the previous Ageing Hallmark Research Initiative and since 2016 has published and delivered conference papers in relation to housing for an ageing population and in residential care, for patients and the aged care workforce.
Melbourne Graduate School of Education
Lindsay Oades has studied extensively in psychology and business and utilises this training in his role as the Director of the Centre for Positive Psychology for the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Lindsay has over 20 years’ experience, both internationally and domestically, and received an Australia Government citation for outstanding contribution to student learning in 2013. His research has led him to speak at international conferences, he has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous scholarly book chapters. Lindsay’s research focuses on the application of wellbeing in workplaces, health and education systems, using this knowledge to create recovery based mental health services. Lindsay has consulted and acted as a director for multiple mental health and education organization, and in 2016 Lindsay was invited to join the Australian Psychological Society Presidential Initiative to advise on community wellbeing.
Faculty of Arts
Peter Otto is a Professor of English in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne, and Executive Director of the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Contemporary Culture Research Unit (ERCC). His areas of interest and focus of his research include Australian and New Zealand literary studies; William Blake, romanticism and modernity; and Gothic fiction. His current research revolves around imagination, and he was the recipient of an Australia Research Council grant in 2018 for his Discovery Project “Architectures of Imagination: Bodies, Buildings, Fictions, and Worlds.” Peter offers a wealth of knowledge on the history of imagination and its links to creativity and how this impacts the constitution of the modern ‘self.’
Faculty of Business and Economics
Graham Sewell is a Professor of Organisation Studies and Human Resources for the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Melbourne. Graham’s research and areas of expertise include workplace surveillance, teamwork, business ethics, organization & management theory, qualitative research methods, evolutionary psychology and strategy development processes. In 2013 he was awarded a grant under the Melbourne Research Grants Support Scheme for his research into the organisational perspectives of sovereign wealth funds. Graham was also awarded a consultancy grant by UoM Commercial Ltd for his work on building the PricewaterhouseCoopers brand through thought-leadership by creating an agility index.
Melbourne School of Engineering
Jenny is a lecturer in the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. She works in the interdisciplinary field of human-computer interaction, conducting research at the intersections of technology and society. Jenny’s research is broadly concerned with understanding the role technologies play in people’s learning, work, and social activities, and determining how technology can best be designed and deployed to improve people’s lives. In particular, she examines creative opportunities that digital technologies can provide for fostering social connections and empowering people who are marginalised, while also critiquing the ethical challenges that new technologies can introduce in sensitive settings. Her recent work has focused on the design and use of social technologies for older adults, particularly for supporting older adults who are socially isolated. Jenny teaches Technology and Ageing in the Master of Ageing course, and Interaction Design and Human-Computer Interaction subjects in the School of Computing and Information Systems.
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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.
Themes of the Research
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
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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. firstname.lastname@example.org
OR, if you have questions or comments in relation to the Hallmark Research Initiatives program, please email: email@example.com
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Focusing on the intersection of creativity and wellbeing.