Exploring community inclusion and participation through art

18 June 2014

'You Do', by Zadok Wu and Yi Mian Kwee, an artwork illustrating 'bride-kidnapping' and the occupational and social injustice experienced by women in Kyrgyzstan

It's often said that art can be therapeutic. Occupational Therapy (OT) students from the Faculty of Health Sciences put this theory into practice recently, opening a special exhibition at Cumberland Campus featuring artworks created for the course.

Sculpture, paint, photography and other improvised mediums were used by the students to create a collection of unique pieces after researching current world issues concerning social injustice and human rights.

Students were asked to think about how people in particular communities spend their days, and how they experience inclusion and participation in the everyday activities that shape a community.

"We learned about how occupational therapy concepts and philosophy can be applied in the broad sense," Master of Occupational Therapy student, Alyssa Khour says.

"My partner and I investigated the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide and how the past has shaped the country's present and future.

"I learned that OT isn't confined to hospitals and clinics but we can apply these OT concepts to other contexts, and to world issues. OT is in a unique position to advocate for occupational injustices that certain communities face. It was an eye-opening course and assessment."

The exhibition was officially opened by Professor Patrick Brennan, Associate Dean, International, with more than 50 pieces on display.

"The exhibition successfully brings together issues of global importance in a way that is immediately comprehensible," said Patrick. "One comes away with a real desire to actively address the intolerable, yet tolerated, injustices that persist across our modern world. The students and organisers must be congratulated."

Find out more about the artworks and the stories behind them.