Starting with Art: Body Mapping Anxiety in Young People
How do young people aged 13 to 18 years use visual symbols and slogans to express the ways anxiety is experienced? What are the the factors that help young people to cope with anxiety?
There is a growing recognition that visual and arts-based methods are an effective means of capturing information about difficult to articulate psychological or physiological experiences such as feeling anxiety. However, there remains a gap in knowledge regarding the outcomes associated with using arts-based research tools to collect data on such experiences. This project will help us to assess the impact of using body mapping as a research tool to visually explore and document the experiences of anxiety in young people.
History of the project
Collaborators from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the participating school (which provides personalised education programs and support for students in years 7-12 who have been diagnosed with mental health problems) were involved in previous body mapping anxiety research conducted by Dr Katherine Boydell and the research team. As a result of this experience, they approached Dr Boydell to consider involving young people in a similar activity.
Participants take part in the Art Gallery of New South Wales Starting with Art program to engage with particular artworks focused on the body. This is followed by 3 facilitated sessions where they will be guided through a series of meditative and creative visual arts exercises which lead up to the creation of life-size body maps.
Young people are asked to think about and create symbols or images that best represent their experience of anxiety and management of anxiety. The body mapping process is followed by an in-depth interview to discuss the experience of participating in the mapping project and to explain their body map.
Strategic Priority Fund (SPF01) awarded to Boydell (2015-2018)