International perspectives: The role of the arts, arts therapies and psychotherapies on issues of diversity and mental health awareness.

During Black History Month, the Research Centre hosted an international panel held both online and at Edge Hill University. The panel explored some of the key issues relating to arts, art therapies and psychotherapies in relation to supporting mental health in black communities. The event was facilitated by Dr Nisha Sajnani, Director of the Drama Therapy program at New York University. Speakers included Samantha Adams (Black British Dramatherapist & Storyteller), Dr Refiloe Lepere (master storyteller, playwright, drama therapist and facilitator), Jasmine Edwards (creative arts therapy coordinator and music therapist), Natasha Sackey (Dance Movement Psychotherapist & Somatic Body Mapping Practitioner), Dione Dalley (Art Psychotherapist), and Earl Pennycooke (Psychotherapist).

Black History Month: Creative Performances

The performances at our Black History Month event explored key issues relating to the term and perception of ‘black’. Performances include dance, screen silhouette and spoken word.

Iroro Azanuwha, a spoken word poet, performs ‘Seven Letters’ and shares some of his writing with us over zoom. He uses poetry as a platform to communicate individual narratives, thus encouraging others to create their own narrative through words. He finds poetry to be a powerful way of expressing oneself and can be a key component in aiding healthy mental well-being. His style of writing is provocative and inspiring.  He writes in a traditional style and spoken word.

Supritha Aithal performs ‘Gaia’s Longing for Yamini’. Supritha is a trained Bharatanatyam artist, researcher and an educator. Born into a family rooted in arts, Supritha, began her formal dance training at the tender age of five under the guidance of Dr Sahana Bhat. Later, Supritha’s innate talent was nurtured and rigorously trained at Raasavrunda School of Dance, Mysuru, India. Her doctoral research explored the contribution of Dance Movement Psychotherapy for children on the autism spectrum and their caregivers. Currently, she works as a lecturer at the School of Applied Health and Social Care, Edge Hill University.

Andrea-May Oliver performs ‘Tomorrow is Yesterday: This side of slavery’. Andrea-May is an experienced Dramatherapist, currently undertaking a doctorate in health, focusing her research on therapeutic interaction and engagement with black Windrush populations. She mostly works with children who have faced adverse and traumatic experiences, and is passionate about improving black outcomes in mental health.