Centre for the Arts in Human Development
The Centre for the Arts in Human Development at Concordia University opened in October 1996, funded by a start-up grant from the Seagram Foundation. The Centre has also received funding from other foundations. Its initial mandate is to establish an interdisciplinary centre for research into the efficacy of the creative arts therapies for improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities and for effecting positive psychological and behavioural change. The center is continuing a pilot project offering its services to clients receiving mental health care. In the future, clinical services and associated research will also be extended to other populations.
The Centre's founding team members are from the fields of drama therapy, art therapy, educational psychology and social work. These members include Stephen Snow, coordinator of the Drama Therapy Option and chair of the Creative Arts Therapies program; Denise Tanguay, associate professor; Elizabeth Anthony, part-time faculty member, Centre administrative coordinator and on-site supervisor of art therapy students; Miranda D'Amico, director of research and associate professor in the Department of Education; Joanabbey Sack, on-site supervisor for drama therapy students; Lenore Vosberg, executive director.
The central academic mission of the Centre is to provide research and practicum experiences for graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines at Concordia. The frame of collaboration in which creative arts therapists are brought together with educational and psychological researchers pioneers methods of interdisciplinary research into the ways in which the arts transform, educate, heal and rehabilitate.
In addition to group and individual therapy, theatre and community art projects initiated through the Centre provide clients with the opportunity to share their life experience with the community-at-large, and even to advocate for their own special needs. Each year the Birks Family Foundation Public Outreach Program produces these projects, and on alternate years, our Open House.
The Centre for the Arts in Human Development is an effective practicum training site for creative arts therapies graduate students. They receive on-site supervision from faculty and participate in a multidisciplinary creative arts program, which integrates dance-movement, music, art and drama therapies in providing services for clients of the West Montreal Readaptation Centre. This kind of practicum training is unique in Canada because it integrates the creative arts therapies under the auspices of the Centre and provides opportunities for practical training and learning directly from faculty in the Creative Arts Therapies programs. The Centre now accommodates up to ten students in practicum training.
A resource centre for the Creative Arts Therapies has been established on site that provides a centralized source of information about the creative arts therapies that can be utilized by faculty, staff, student and outside researchers. The Centre's active research component involves students and faculty in evaluating the use of the creative arts therapies in working with client populations. The Centre provides research assistantships for students in the art therapy and drama therapy options.