Collaborative research film screened at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

University of Salford academics have created a film on the Arts for the Blues project, a collaborative research venture that developed a new evidence based creative psychological therapy for depression. The ground-breaking film was recently screened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, supported by the World Health Organisation.

Dr Scott Thurston, Reader in English and Creative Writing, co-founded the project alongside Professor Vicky Karkou from Edge Hill University and Lecturer for MSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy Dr Joanna Omylinska-Thurston, with participation from other Salford colleagues including Lecturer in Applied Psychology Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall and Lecturer in Psychology Ailsa Parsons.

Arts for the Blues project was developed following research that identified an alternative treatment for depression is needed in the UK. It is a collaboration between the University of Salford, Edge Hill University, the University of Cambridge and Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Arts for the Blue co-founder Dr Joanna Omylinska-Thurston, said: "Normal therapy works on a 'let’s sit and talk' basis and uses a lot of thinking and having to explain yourself, but we wanted to create something in which clients can express themselves in different ways.”

The team carried out research on helpful factors in the treatment of depression. They looked at CBT, counselling for depression, psychodynamic and arts therapies.

Following their research, they came up with a creative psychological therapy that incorporated movement, speech, visual arts and writing. These activities focus on connecting art with the body, expressing emotions and sharing with others.

Fellow co-founder Dr Scott Thurston added: "This interdisciplinary collaboration shows what is possible when therapists and artists come together to work on a particular problem. We are really excited about the potential of taking forward creative approaches to therapy and this film represents a crucial stage of our development".

The film was included as part of the Healing Arts Symposium at the Metropolitan Museum on the 14 November 2021, which aimed to strengthen the connection between Arts and Health research, practice and policymakers.

Watch the film.

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