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Art of Recovery: Displacement, Mental Health, and Wellbeing

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Article number94
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>29/11/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Arts
Issue number4
Volume7
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Art of Recovery explores the potential of a participatory arts engagement with place to contribute toward the recovery and reconnection of refugees who experience trauma. The study responded to the international challenge of refugees’ mental health as a global priority as they experience higher prevalence rates of severe mental health disorders in comparison with the general population. The role of participatory arts in contributing toward recovery and reconnection is growing, but policymakers and health professionals are constrained by the lack of research exploring its benefits. We worked with 14 participants in four participatory arts workshops exploring the benefits of artwork focusing on remembered or imagined healing places. A qualitative thematic analysis of the artwork drew on Herman’s theory of recovery identifying “remembrance”, “mourning”, and “reconnection” to assess the elements of potential recovery, including aspects of the participants’ experience of transition between their homeland and the United Kingdom (UK), and new social connections. In conclusion, the study suggests that participating in a group making artworks of places associated with safety may contribute to processes of transition and social connectedness, prompting in turn feelings of wellbeing. The study offers insights into arts and health issues of interest to refugee-supporting communities, health professionals and policymakers.