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The Art of Healing in Kashmir – Bath Spa University

The Art of Healing in Kashmir

How creative activities can support child wellbeing in areas of conflict, specifically in the Indian territories of Jammu and Kashmir.

Project background

This project explores how art-based therapies can support the wellbeing of children in areas of conflict. When in August 2019, the Indian Government withdrew the State of Jammu and Kashmir's semi-autonomous status, the following lockdown included internet blackouts, curfews and closing of public services.

Children are widely identified as vulnerable parties in militarised and conflicted areas, and the healing of their trauma is recognised as central to achieving a sustainable peace post-conflict. As such, along with local partners in Pulwama, Kashmir, the Dolphin School has been running an important Wellness Programme to target support at such affected children using Arts-Based Therapy methods to facilitate healing.

The central research question: what is the potential for arts activities and arts-based therapies to support the mental health and wellbeing of children affected by conflict?

Project timeline

Phase 1 (May 2020)

Project initiation and establishment of draft evaluation mechanisms:

  • Quick start up including literature reviews and a workshop in Bristol in order to:
    1. Establish our baseline expectations regarding how we believe art therapies can benefit children at the Dolphin School;
    2. Agree the evaluation strategy and;
    3. Finalise travel, risk management, safeguarding and ethics.
Phase 2 (May-June to November 2020)

Delivering art activities to children in Kashmir and evaluating the impact.

Following our second workshop, we will facilitate the delivery of the arts activities at the Dolphin School.

Phase 2 also includes research fieldwork including:

  • On-site evaluation;
  • Interviews with stakeholders and NGOs;
  • Visual documentation.
Phase 3 (November 2020 to February 2021)

Analysis, refinement of outputs, dissemination and impact.

  • Further workshops in Kashmir to facilitate evaluation;
  • Development of training resources to be used by arts practitioners.

Research outputs and feasibility

Outputs of the project include:

  • Contribution to wellbeing of children in Kashmir;
  • Journal articles;
  • Narrative blog and website;
  • Film documentation of the project;
  • Training resources for practitioners.

 UWE Health and Safety has preliminarily approved travel to the region for the team which will be reviewed in light of the developing COVID-19 situation.

Project team

  • Michael Buser, University of the West of England
  • Julie Mytton, University of the West of England
  • Emma Brännlund, University of the West of England
  • Nicola Jane Holt, University of the West of England
  • Sara Penrhyn Jones, Bath Spa University
  • Loraine Leeson, Middlesex University

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