Maternal Health Research Conference

Tuesday 24 May 2022, 9:30am-3:30pm

This international event being held at Edge Hill University will highlight some of the impactful, multidisciplinary research that exists in the field of maternal health.

We have international speakers contributing virtually from Australia and Brazil, with delegates from these countries also joining us. There will be time for networking, reflection and research planning as part of this event.

The conference is suitable for students, academics, practitioners (especially dietitians, nutritionists, midwives and therapists), and anyone with a particular interest in maternal health, from Edge Hill University and beyond.

If you wish to contribute to this conference, we welcome submission of relevant research posters both hard copy and electronic, to reach our hybrid audience.  There is a section in the booking form for you to confirm if you wish to contribute.

The Role of the Arts, Arts Therapies, and Psychotherapies in Supporting Mental Health in Black and Allied Communities

Friday 15th October 2021
To mark Black History Month, the Research Centre hosted four free events that offered discussions. debates, and performances from international, national, and local experts. Themes included the importance of Black aesthetics, barriers to inclusion, the role of the arts in healing trauma related to racialization, issues related to ‘post-Windrush’, issues related to engaging in therapy, the connection between health and justice, and forms of modern slavery.

National & local perspectives: Exploring the barriers faced by psychotherapy in the UK and the impact on mental health from honour-based abuse. Focusing on key issues with the UK context relating to barriers to inclusion and diversity faced by psychotherapists, and an exploration of the effects of honour-based abuse on mental health.

International Perspectives: The role of the arts, arts therapies and psychotherapies on issues of diversity and mental health awareness. A panel discussion exploring some of the key issues relating to arts, art therapies and psychotherapies in relation to supporting mental health in black communities.

Dr Shaun Liverpool – Lecturer in Child & Adolescent Mental Health & Wellbeing
Claire Beerjeraz – MSc Psychotherapy & Counselling: Contemporary & Creative Approaches student
Afrah Qassim – Founder & CEO Savera UK

Panel Speakers:
Dr Nisha Sajnani – Director of Dramatherapy program at New York University & principal editor of Drama Therapy Review.
Samantha Adams – Black British Dramatherapist & Storyteller.
Dr Refiloe Lepere – Master storyteller, playwright, dramatherapist & facilitator.
Jasmine Edwards – Creative arts therapy coordinator & music therapist.
Natasha Sackey – Dance Movement Psychotherapist, Somatic Body Mapping Practitioner & Creative Producer.
Dione Dalley – Art psychotherapist & Co-lead for The Psychosis Therapy Project.
Earl Pennycooke – Psychotherapist in private practice.

Current research at Edge Hill University: Healing racial trauma, problems faced ‘post-Windrush’ & stories from modern slavery. In-depth focus on research connected with the key themes of Black History Month. Speakers explore the impact of racial trauma, how the arts & arts therapies can help to heal division, the stories of trafficked people in the UK and the effects of ‘post-Windrush’ on engaging in therapy.

Creative Performances using soundscape, spoken word, silhouettes and movement to explore Black History Month Themes. Performances exploring beauty and unconscious bias, slavery in the context of Brexit Britain, issues relating to the term and perception of ‘Black’ and what it means to be a black woman in society, and narratives around oppression.

Dr Michael Richards – Senior Lecturer in Applied Health & Social Care.
Andrea-May Oliver – Dramatherapist & PhD Researcher.
Gergana Ganeva – Lecturer in Counselling & Psychotherapy.
Dr Suzy Hansford – Lecturer in Counselling & Psychotherapy.
Claire Beerjeraz – MSc Psychotherapy & Counselling: Contemporary & Creative Approaches student.

Andrea-May Oliver – Dramatherapist & PhD researcher.
Claire Beerjeraz – MSc Psychotherapy & Counselling: Contemporary & Creative Approaches student.
Iroro Azanuwha – Poet & Spoken Word Artist.
Blu Boy – Interdisciplinary Artist.
Supritha Aithal – Bharatanatyam artist and Lecturer in Applied Health & Social Care.

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Edge Hill University takes part in an international arts and health initiative, Healing Arts New York

19-21 September 2021

In recognition of the arts’ vital role in advancing physical, mental, and social health, Edge Hill will take part in the launch of an international arts and health initiative, Healing Arts New York, a series of events featuring leading artists, researchers, and policy makers at the intersection of arts, health, and care that begins on 19th September. 

As part of the programme, from 20-21st September, the Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing will be taking part in Arts & Health @ NYU, a number of events co-produced by New York University, CultuRunners in partnership with the World Health Organization and the Museum of Modern Art.  These events bring together leading figures in research, practice and policy to present research on the arts’ role as a new frontier in health and wellbeing.

Professor Vicky Karkou, member of the International Research Alliance and Director of the Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing at Edge Hill University, said: “We are excited to be involved in international research that matters for policy, services and ultimately for people’s lives, recognising that the arts have value as a wellbeing resource in our communities.”

She added: “We are increasingly seeing how the arts can be used to treat a wide range of mental health problems including the prevention and treatment of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. This global event will shine a light on how we can integrate the arts in a range of health settings to support people’s wellbeing.”

The online launch for Arts & Health @NYU takes place on Monday 20 September and features a free public webinar from 2pm – 4pm (UK time) which includes an introduction to the WHO Arts and Health program by Christopher Bailey as well as presentations from professionals involved in the study and practice of how the arts contribute to our physical, cognitive, emotional, social, organizational, environmental, and public health.

In addition to the launch, the Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing will also be part of a closed meeting which will see charter collaborating centres of the WHO Arts & Health programs to be held at MoMA and a series of conversations about advancing research in the arts and health in partnership with the WHO and major publishers.

The first in the conversations series will be on September 21 from 2pm – 4pm (UK time). It features a free roundtable discussion on Advancing Research in Arts and Health co-chaired by Professor Vicky Karkou, Edge Hill University and hosted by NYU Arts & Health, the WHO Healing Arts Lab, and the publisher Frontiers. The event will centre around research published in a special issue of Frontiers in Psychology on the physiological and psychological benefits of the arts, a call led by Professor Vicky Karkou.

Arts & Health @ NYU is supported by the International Research Alliance in which Edge Hill University is a core member, expanding the university’s already robust research presence in this field and the university’s ongoing work with the World Health Organization (WHO). In September 2020, the WHO commissioned the International Research Alliance to review research and generate a series of reports assessing the impact of the arts and creative arts therapies on a global scale—including visual art, drama, music, dance, poetry, and film.

The International Research Alliance—which includes Edge Hill University working collaboratively with New York University, the University of Melbourne, Drexel University, Lesley University, University of Heidelberg, and University of Haifa—has thus far produced a systematic review on how creative arts interventions can reduce symptoms of depression in older adults and a scoping review on therapeutic factors in the creative arts therapies.

This commission expands on the WHO’s 2019 review on the health benefits of the arts by examining the impact of creative arts therapies and arts with a stated therapeutic intent on a global scale, and acknowledges the importance of engaging with research institutions that have expertise in the health benefits of the arts and creative arts therapies to inform global health and cultural policy.

For about the whole programme, please visit the CULTURUNNERS website.

Dr Zoe Moula: How can arts therapies support children’s quality of life, wellbeing, emotional expression and sleep?       

Findings and reflections from a pilot study in primary schools.

Online Research hour Thursday 8 July 12pm – 1pm        (UK time, online) 

Embedding arts therapies (i.e. music, drama, dance movement and art therapy) within the educational system may contribute to address children’s emerging needs and result in a positive impact on their wellbeing; bridging the gap between health and education.

This PhD study aimed to explore the outcomes of arts therapies from children’s perspectives. Sixty-two children with mild emotional and behavioural difficulties were recruited from five primary schools in the Northwest of England. The outcomes were assessed at baseline, pre- and post-intervention, as well as at three-, six-, and twelve- months follow-up. Mixed methods were used, specifically questionnaires, interviews, arts work, participant observation and biomarkers (acti-watches). The findings suggested improvements in children’s wellbeing, emotional expression, sleep, as well as positive appraisal of health and perceived quality of life, positive relationships, and reduced stress. The findings were analysed through the lenses of positive psychology as well as self-determination and self-actualisation theories. Zoe will be presenting her work which will be followed by a discussion around the benefits of arts therapies for children, and also the challenges of conducting experimental studies in educational settings.  

Dr Zoe Moula is a research and teaching fellow at the Medical Education Innovation and Research Centre (MEDIC) at Imperial College London. Zoe completed her PhD at Edge Hill University researching arts psychotherapies as a tool for the prevention of health difficulties in childhood. She holds a MRes in Health Research, MSc in Therapeutic Play, and BEd in Primary Education. She is also a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and postdoctoral research fellow investigating the impact of arts and arts therapies on children’s health and wellbeing. Her previous work has included teaching at schools and universities in Greece, China, and the UK.  

If you would like to join us, please email your name and institution/organisation to Jen [email protected] who will provide the link and information about connecting.  

Linked publications of Zoe’s work Frontiers | An Investigation of the Effectiveness of Arts Therapies Interventions on Measures of Quality of Life and Wellbeing: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Study in Primary Schools | Psychology ( systematic review of child-focused outcomes and assessments of arts therapies delivered in primary mainstream schools – ScienceDirect

Shifting to Tele-Arts Therapies during the COVID-19 Pandemic: International Findings on Helpful and Challenging Factors

Thursday 13 May 2021 12pm – 1pm BST (UK British Summer Time)

Online Research Lunch Hour with Dr Hod Orkibi and Dr Nisha Sajnani

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented shift to online treatment. For the creative arts therapies (CAT) – a healthcare profession that involves the intentional use of the visual art, drama, music, dance, and poetry within a therapeutic relationship – this shift has been highly consequential for practice. This study examined (a) how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted CAT’s clinical practice, and (b) the features characterizing online practice in an international sample of 1206 creative arts therapists.  Overall, the study aimed to identify changes in the use of the arts in therapy, resources that contributed to the delivery of therapy, and the role of therapists’ creative self-efficacy in adapting to these changes. Quantitative and qualitative data will be presented, and their implications will be discussed.

If you would like to join us, please email your name and organisation to [email protected] to receive the link to connect.

Hod Orkibi, PhD, is a certified psychodrama therapist, a tenured Senior Lecturer and researcher at the School of Creative Arts Therapies, University of Haifa, Israel. Dr. Orkibi advises M.A. and Ph.D. students and serves as the Chair of the Doctoral Studies Committee and head of international programs and collaborations.

Hod serves on the editorial board of the international journal The Arts in Psychotherapy​, the Drama Therapy Review – Journal of the North American Drama Therapy Association, the GMS Journal of Arts Therapies, APA Division 10’s journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, and the  Academic Journal of Creative Arts Therapies​.  

Nisha Sajnani

Dr Nisha Sajnani is the Director of the Program in Drama Therapy and the Theatre and Health Lab at New York University. She is the Editor of Drama Therapy Review, the journal of the North American Drama Therapy Association, President of the Foundation of the Arts & Trauma, and founding member of the Critical Pedagogies in the Arts Therapies working group.

Therapeutic Dance for Breast Cancer Recovery

20th November 2020 ONLINE

An online interactive session exploring how therapeutic dance can support the physical and psychological health of women in recovery from breast cancer.

Dancing with Health is a research study that saw the delivery of a standardised dance protocol in five EU countries between 2019-2020. The protocol had a strong sports and exercise framework, was informed by dance movement therapy and introduced participants to a range of dance styles.

This FREE open and active session will give an overview of the study and how the protocol was designed and delivered for this population. Initial findings will also be presented alongside useful insights from the dance movement therapists who ran the sessions. There will be participatory opportunities throughout and a Q&A at the end.

This event is aimed at students, practitioners or patients with an interest in psychotherapy, therapeutic dance/sports interventions, cancer care recovery, dance movement psychotherapy and health/dance/sports research.

For more information about the study see

To register for tickets please visit

Arts and Therapy in the Time of the Pandemic

From Thursday 18 June 2020

In collaboration with the International Arts Therapies Doctoral Alliance led by New York University, a series of presentations, panel discussions and workshops have been recorded and showcased online, exploring the contribution of the arts and arts psychotherapies to health and wellbeing during the 2020 pandemic .

Guest speakers and panelists will present current initiatives and research on the physiological and psychological benefits of the arts. In particular discussions will focus on the contributions that the arts therapies can make to tackle isolation, loneliness, offer opportunities for resilience and support for the wellbeing of the general public, health and social care staff and patients. Ways in which the arts therapies can act as psychological interventions for the prevention and treatment of depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder will also be explored, highlighting the value of this field at times of crisis. 

Keynote presentation by Christopher Bailey, Arts & Health Lead at the World Health Organisation ‘Composed at Present, Composing the Future:  Arts and Healing in the COVID world‘. This is followed by a Panel Discussion exploring the role of arts and arts therapies in the context of the pandemic, with the four prominent arts therapists below (Dr Nisha Sajnani, Prof Felicity Baker, Prof Vicky Karkou and Dr Azizah Abdullah).

Short 1min 30 taster

Full length presentation and panel discussion 1hr4min

A series of presentations from prominent international arts therapists talking about how their discipline and research activities can contribute to health and wellbeing during the times of the pandemic.

Vicky Karkou staff photo

Workshops and reflections of internationally recognised practitioners in dance movement psychotherapy, art psychotherapy, music therapy and drama therapy.

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Bridging the Gap: Somatic Movement and Dance Practices in Healthcare

Friday 6th – Sunday 8th March 2020

A three day special event aimed at health-care professionals, somatic-informed practitioners and dance artists. Aiming to provide a space for discussion and exchange between the two fields, to explore the scope of the interchange and discuss the needs for further research and future steps. Free one day symposium and weekend workshop led by Miranda Tufnell and Filipa Pereira-Stubbs.

To book the Symposium on Friday 6th March and/or the Weekend Workshop Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March please click the links.

Pregnancy Research Symposium
Pregnancy Research Sympsosium

Monday 30th March 2020 – CURRENTLY POSTPONED

This free event is to highlight impactful, multidisciplinary pregnancy research. Plenary by Dr Paige van der Plight from Deakin University, Australia “Exploring the role of nutrition during pregnancy: the impact on maternal and offspring health and chronic disease risk”. Other presentations include academics from Midwifery, Nutrition, Dance Movement Psychotherapy and Performing Arts. There will be time for networking, reflection and research planning. Suitable for students, academics and healthcare practitioners.

Click the link for more information or to book the Symposium.

Dancing with Health Training Weekend

26th & 27th October 2019

Part of the Festival of Ideas, a series of talks, exhibitions and performances to engage academics, students and members of the public.

2nd International Arts in Healthcare Event

3rd – 6th October 2019

Arts, Creativity and the Global Crisis: Re-imagining Identity, Otherness and the Possible, New York.

Arts in Psychotherapy Weekend Event

1st – 2nd June 2019

Personal and professional flourishing for one’s self, clients, and communities – a weekend of workshops, reflections and growth.

Dance for Wellbeing Weekend Workshop

23rd – 24th March 2019

An opportunity to join all-day dance workshops led by Lisa Simpson, choreographer and director of Lisa Simpson Inclusive Dance.

Arts and Psychotherapy: Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

28th February 2019

What contribution can the arts make to one’s emotional wellbeing and mental health?