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Using the arts to rejuvenate Christchurch

Using the arts to rejuvenate Christchurch

Following the catastrophic earthquakes in Christchurch people from all over the country mobilised to help their fellow New Zealanders in their time of need.

Amongst those support teams were a group of academics from University of Auckland who introduced their Creative Responses in Schools programme to young Christchurch students. The team, led by Associate Professor Peter O’Connor from the School of Critical Studies in Education, used the arts to help students reimagine positive and hope filled futures.

Over a number of visits the team, along with local artists and mental health workers, further developed the programme to include music, dance and arts based processes which actively engage with the children and focussed on bringing dreams back to life.

Subsequently over 600 children have experienced the programme directly and over 70 teachers have been trained to use these arts processes.

Following this initial success the Mental Health Foundation, along with the University of Auckland, the Christchurch Trust, Learning Through the Arts and UNESCO, are proud to support the programme’s return to Christchurch schools throughout terms three and four.

“Creative Responses in Schools is an extremely practical way of using the arts to help the young people of Christchurch deal with the changes that have been happening in their local environment, build back their hope and give them some magic in their day” says Judi Clements, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation.

The 90 minute workshops will see classes of thirty 5 to 9 year old children painting, drawing, dancing and making small pieces of theatre as they imaginatively and artistically reimagine the future for not only themselves but for Christchurch.

More information on the programme can be found at
https://moodle.education.auckland.ac.nz/course/view.php?id=693

For a description of the work to date and to see the work that children have created visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jznOhFrSvJY

- ENDS -

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