Date of Award

12-2018

Embargo Period

3-11-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching (Honours) BA/BTch (Hons)

Faculty

Education, Business & Science

School

Education

First Advisor

Peter Beamish

Second Advisor

Bev Christian

ANZSRC / FoR Code

130106 Secondary Education, 130201 Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy, 111714 Mental Health

Abstract

Research into the wellbeing of young Australians has found that many students are struggling with their mental health. This can have a negative impact on their quality of life. This year the Australian government has acknowledged this issue and is providing funding to Beyondblue and Mindmatters so that they can develop wellbeing resources that can be used in schools.

The wellbeing programs that utilize these resources can be are both proactive and reactive in nature. As students spend a significant amount of their school time within their various classes, attention has turned to how various school subjects can impact student wellbeing. One such subject is Visual Arts and this study explored the impact that studying Visual Arts has on students’ wellbeing.

Based in the qualitative paradigm, the study explored the relationship between Visual Art and student wellbeing using a combination of case study and micro-ethnography methodologies. It found that involvement in Visual Art had a positive impact on the students’ mental health and overall wellbeing. Through the semi-structured interviews, the students discussed multiple ways artmaking has helped them to counteract negative aspects of their lives. The study’s findings aligned with past wellbeing research in finding that Art was able to provide students with positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, accomplishments, meaning, grit, management strategies and a connection to nature. At a time when students are struggling with low levels of wellbeing, it would seem that Visual Arts is one subject that could play a role in improving the wellbeing of students in schools.

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