The Arts & Health

The Research Exchange Group on the Arts and Health creates community and collaborative opportunities for Memorial University researchers and community activists and artists from Newfoundland and Labrador, and across Canada, who aim to explore how the arts connect to health. The group exchanges research and practice ideas about how the creative arts, at their core, are good for individuals and communities. Creative arts include dance, music, poetry, painting, crafts, drama, etc. The group meets monthly to: network, discuss research in progress, hold seminars, present on research projects and arts practice, engage in experiential workshops, initiate collaborative partnerships, and discover potential funding for further research.

The group provides a unique opportunity for collaboration among: dancers, musicians, visual artists, arts administrators, educators, health practitioners, art therapists, graduate students, and researchers from various faculties at Memorial and within Newfoundland and Labrador. Presenters are working on diverse arts and health-related projects, that range from community-based participatory research, to learning how art is connected to wellbeing.

The group's conveners are Dr. Natalie Beausoleil, Community Health & Humanities, and Haley Toll, Canadian Arts Therapy Association, a PhD. student in the faculty of Education at Memorial.

The Repository for Arts and Health Resources is a UK initiative of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and is expanding to include international “grey literature” reports on the arts and health to provide access to resources on the arts and health. It does not include peer-reviewed published material since this is available elsewhere. If you have any material that you would like to have included within the repository, please forward any documents to Jane Gosine.

2018-2019 Meetings

November 27, 2018 12:00pm (noon) NST | Transversing Dr. Pamela Ward and Daze Jeffries of the collaborating team (For the Love of Learning/ Artistic Fraud)  discussed the process of collaboration that led to the September 2018 performance of Transversing, a work that explored the lives and experiences of transgender people. Slides

January 22, 2019 12:00 (noon) NST | Arts-based interventions with at-risk youth| A.  Shruti Raheja presented her research on arts-based interventions with at-risk youth, administered  through a community program in St. John's, NL. Slides

February 19, 2019 1:00pm NST |Understanding International Arts in Health and Wellbeing Structures and Implications for Canada | Through dialogue and discussion, this virtual online presentation presents Haley Toll’s current findings and brief research regarding reports from national coalitions and organizations that support arts in health and wellbeing practice and research, including creative arts therapies. A variety of initiatives, including those introduced in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, will be presented. Through the analysis of national and provincial/territorial arts in health and wellbeing white papers and policy briefings, participants will be invited to discuss and consider next research steps and ways to strengthen organizational collaborations in Canada, and in Newfoundland and Labrador.

April 30, 2019 at 12:30pmNST |  Leah Lewis on the Hearthstone Art Hive - Members will be invited to participate in an Art Hive at Hearthstone, 42 Bannerman Street, St. John's

May 8 2019 at 12:00pm (noon) | Capturing Beauty: From Carnegie Hall to Clarenville - Writing lullabies in a Newfoundland women's prisonwith Jan Buley, a professor of education at Memorial University in St. John's and David Buley, a professor of music education at Memorial. Link to media

*POSTPONED* to be held in Fall 2019 (Date TBA)|  Michelle Winkel and Lucille Proulx on Canadian Art Therapy in Japan and Thailand. Michelle Winkel MA, MFT, ATR, REAT, is Clinical Director of the Canadian International Institute of Art Therapy. Michelle is an art therapist, trained facilitator, and supervisor, with twenty years of experience working directly with groups, families, and individuals. Lucille Proulx, MA., ATR, CRAT is a registered art therapist in both Canada and the U.S.A. Her 50 years plus of experience consists of working with children and parents in the community, private clinic and in the department of infant and child psychiatry at The Montreal Children’s Hospital. She is the past Executive Director of The B.C. School of Art Therapy (BCSAT). Lucille is an Honorary Life Member of The Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA) and The Association des Arts-Therapeutes du Quebec (AATQ). She is a member of the Advisory Committee of Arts Health Canada and the vice president of the Canadian Art Therapy Association.

Previous Meetings

  • October 25, 2018 ||Right Care, Right Time, Right Place: Stories of the Atlantic Canada Art Therapy Roadshow LINK TO VIDEO
    Sandra Hewitt-Parsons, who worked with Dawna Lee & Sylvia Calatayud presented a video featured at this year’s Canadian Art Therapy Association Conference in Montreal. Right Care, Right Time, Right Place is the video diary of three art therapists in the Atlantic Canada region. Join them ‘on the road’ as they travel throughout the region to promote art therapy as well as collaborate with other local professionals in establishing community art hives. 
  • January 16, 2018 | Dr. Leah Lewis, Faculty of Education on the Disability Arts Symposium and playwright Lois Brown on Chronic Pain and Dis (Arts) aesthetics in two of her recent performances.
  • February 28, 2018 | "You'll Never Forget These Stories:" Monologue writing and metaphor exploring with youth at promise:  this presentation will highlight what happened when youth at a homeless shelter were invited to write and show their their lifestories through song, poetry, and artefacts.  Presented by Dr. Jan Buley, Faculty of Education at Memorial.
  • March 20, 2018 | Haley Toll and Sandra Hewitt Parsons on the work of the Canadian Art Therapy Association
  • May 16, 2017| Dr. Stephen Darcy and Dr. Lisa Bishop on the Shea Heights Community Alliance and Arts-Based programming:
  • Link to videos from the presentation
  • April 20, 2017 | Dr. Zaida Rahaman on her arts-based research in indigenous health & nursing.  Link to Dr. Rahaman's scholarly publication in Journal of Holistic Nursing: "An Opportunity for Healing and Holistic Care: Exploring the Roles of Health Care Providers Working Within Northern Canadian Aboriginal Communities"
  • March 9, 2017: Leah Lewis and Heather McLeod on the Open Studio project
  • February 9, 2017: Lauren Power on career counselling for arts and culture clients at the Murphy Centre
  • January 12, 2016 | Dr. Kathleen Sitter, School of Social Work Photovoice Project on Transportation Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities in St. John’s, NL.
  • March 8, 2016 |Rachel Landy, PhD Research Project: Arts-based HIV/AIDS Education for Aboriginal Youth in Labrador: A Community-Based Participatory Action Research Project
  • April 5, 2016| Megan Morrison, PhD Research Project: Exhibiting creative strength in caregiving for loved ones with dementia
  • May 10, 2016 |Carolyn Chong, PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology on her work with the Inclusion Choir at Stella's Circle. Making “Joyful Noises” Together: Exploring the Impact of Group Singing on Individual and Community Mental Health and Wellbeing.
  • October 20, 2016|Dr. Jane Gosine on The Better Breathing Choir for people with lung conditions and breathing difficulties

2015 and Prior

  • December 1, 2015 | Elayne Greeley, Partnership Broker, CCEP Project. Using the Virtues Project resources for participant/patient engagement: a creative workshop.
  • November 3 2015: Dr. Jane Gosine, Professor (musicology), School of Music, Memorial University presented her research related to music and health.  Here are useful links from that talk
  • March 11 2015: Dr. Kathleen Sitter presented a study on participatory video and sexual rights for persons with disabilities
  • April 8 2015: Dr. Natalie Beausoleil shared preliminary findings from interviews for her research on : "The power to heal: promoting artistic activities and exploring the possibility of integrating an arts program in our medical school."
  • May 6 2015: Lori Clarke: emerging work with the principles of improvisation, "Improvisation and the Hearing Voices Network"
  • June 9, 2015: Dr. Susan Cox of UBC specializes in the ethics of arts-based research methods. While visiting St. John's, she spoke to the group about her research on ethics and arts-based and visual methods in research.
  • On November 17, 2014, Corie Harnett led a workshop on drama and improvisational techniques that help children work towards improved social skills and self-expression.
  • On September 18 2014, Christina Dove presented her PhD research on Art Therapy for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Population
  • On August 8, 2014, Anne Pickard-Vaandering provided an interactive tour of the Rooms Provincial Art Gallery to the group, featuring Pam Hall's exhibit Housework(s).  Details here 
  • On July 31, 2014, Dr. Leah Lewis screened her doctoral film "Good Grief" which explored a personal narrative about the grief associated with end-stage renal disease.
  • On June 25, 2014, Elayne Greeley presented on "Evaluating Community Impact: Capturing and Making Sense of Community Outcomes."


The Arts Health Network of Canada (AHNC) brings arts and health activities into the mainstream of Canadian life so that all Canadians are able to engage in art for the health of it, as well as the joy of it. Learn more about the network here:

The National Forum on the Arts & Health convenes researchers, business leaders, legal experts, policymakers, urban planners, architects, youth, health practitioners, artists, and representatives of other key sectors of Canadian society to explore how the arts and health are connected and to motivate artists for social change.

Learn more here:



Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000