Marg and daughter unite With One Voice
For resident Marg Walker, the With One Voice Altona Meadows community choir at Benetas St George’s is more than just an opportunity to sing along to her favourite tunes.
Read more in this great article from DPS News.
It’s never too late: raise your voice, lift your heart
Adrift after the loss of her great love, Angela Quigley re-discovered joy and a new community at With One Voice Brisbane.
Read more in this lovely Reader’s Digest article by Hazel Flynn.
Nerves On A Choir: My First Rehearsal
My first choir experience
I had no idea what to expect heading into the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins for my first With One Voice choir. I had just landed a gig as an intern for Creativity Australia and assumed I’d be there in an ‘observational’ capacity. That assumption proved to be incorrect. I’d never sung in a choir before, let alone publicly, and was nervous about to be doing so.
As I stood awkwardly wondering what I had got myself into it was suggested I go and join the “boys”. The boys, or the bass section, consisted of six men all much older than me, yet some were years apart from one and other. Summing up the situation I attempted to sneak into the back row unnoticed, but this close knit gang of basses weren’t about to just let anyone in. A tall older man turned and looked at me. He offered me his hand and joyfully asked “do you sing often?” “No, not really,” I said. He smiled before saying, “You have a voice. That’s a start”. (more…)
Arts & Health National Policy Underway
We were delighted to travel to Canberra last month to participate in the National Arts and Health Policy Forum.
The Forum was attended by senior representatives of government arts and health agencies (including exponents of arts and health. They included clinicians, researchers and academics, philanthropists, a number of members of the Arts and Health Working Group), and by many of Australia’s leading artists, senior health services personnel, consumer groups, Aboriginal health agencies, arts and disability organisations and community based arts and health advocates.
Those at the Forum provided advice to the Arts and Health Working Group on the possible content and Health Policy Framework will lead to a more cohesive approach to knowledge sharing, sector and purpose of a National Arts and Health Policy Framework. They discussed how a National Arts development and increased resourcing for contemporary arts and health research and practice – with beneficial impacts on the health and wellbeing of the Australian community.The Forum bought leading artists, health professionals and policy writers together to in the nation’s capital to push for a National Arts and Health Policy.
A Digital Showcase of leading arts and health practice from across the country demonstrates why it is so important to integrate the arts in Australia’s national health policy.
Read the Press Release from the forum working group.
Watch Simon Crean’s presentation to the Forum.
Download a copy of the National Arts and Health Policy Campaign Handbook to add your stories to this growing collection.
Written by Ewan McEoin.
What Are The Benefits of Art Therapy?
One soggy winter’s eve, a year ago, I was traveling home on the route 86 tram, enjoying the onboard human spectacle that is almost guaranteed on a Friday night after Happy Hour is over. Two animated youngish women initiated a conversation with me and I was so caught up in it that I missed my stop. We had been creating personalities and life stories for our fellow travellers: a look, a gesture, an article of clothing; these women had a sharp eye for detail and an uncanny ability to invent a seemly human context for it all. As I said a hurried good-bye, one of the women squeezed my arm and said, “Hope you understand, we can’t help ourselves; we’re art therapists”.
What is art therapy?
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. Most commonly, art therapy involves drawing or painting, but the artistic expression can also take place through photography, sculpture or ceramics. All forms of art can embody ideas so the list of arts therapies available includes music therapy, dance movement therapy, poetry therapy and many more. Professionals, trained in art and psychotherapy, develop interactive scenarios that connect with various aspects of the client’s whole person (mind, body, spirit) and using the creative process of art-making, work to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages.
Clients may have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities or diagnoses including emotional, behavioral or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, brain-injury or neurological conditions and physical illness. Equally, clients may be on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth, wanting to reveal and revel in the unconscious realms of their being. Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences, enhance cognitive abilities, and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.
How did that chance encounter on the 86 tram last year lead me to explore this topic? As I am a person who seems to forget the random events that others remember, recalling this one so clearly is remarkable (especially as I had been having a rather Happy Hour myself). My explanation is that this incident is a marker along a route I had unknowingly been on for some time, one that brought me to a With One Voice choir, not at all aware that I was seeking solace but most definitely finding it.
Within each choir member, I can now see an art therapist, administering to his and her deeper needs and those of acquaintances, bridging gaps, constructing meaning and coherence, hope, acceptance, ambition and self-trust. It happens individually and on a subconscious level but after an hour’s singing, the beneficial effects are clearly visible; cheeks and eyes are glowing and it’s an unbroken chain of happy faces traveling in a semi-circle, from the sopranos to the basses, just like a smile.
Written by Miriam Potter.