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Research & creation

As the recipient of the AAMR (now known as the American Association on Intellectual and Development Disabilities) Award for Social Inclusion: Research and Innovation, the Centre for the Arts in Human Development is a leading organization in research on the intersection of the arts and disability.

The Centre has conducted innovative research in the creative arts therapies and continues to expand the knowledge base in the field of disabilities and with other special populations, contributing to developing and improving assessments and therapeutic approaches. Based on the Centre’s research initiatives, a textbook on assessment in the creative arts therapies has been published; educational documentaries have been produced; and an educational toolkit for use in schools has been published. 

The Centre has expanded its research into much-needed work with children with autism, and this research into the effectiveness of the creative arts therapies approach has attracted much interest among professionals in the field of autism. The Centre has expertise in conducting ethnodramas as an innovative research method which features the designated population using various forms of artistic expression to orient an audience to a better understanding of their lived experience and their challenges.

Research has been a core component of our program since its inception.

Faculty and graduate students from Concordia's Department of Education and the Department of Creative Arts Therapies have conducted research into the efficacy of the creative arts therapies offered to participants. We have also designed and researched assessment tools to measure the initial status of participants and their progress over time. A three-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) was awarded to the Centre to develop assessments in the creative arts therapies. The results from this research have been presented internationally, and spurred the creation of a textbook, Assessment in the Creative Arts Therapies, published in 2009.

Volunteer opportunities

Volunteer opportunities are provided for students and members of the Montreal community wishing to gain experience working with adults with developmental disabilities.

Research collaborators

We welcome collaboration with researchers from other departments within Concordia University as well as researchers from other institutions. To discuss possibilities, please contact Miranda D’Amico at and Stephen Snow at

Planned research

The Centre continues to expand the use of the creative arts therapies for use with different populations with specific clinical needs. This year, we plan to continue developing the use of the ethnodrama research method to look at how mental health impacts people with developmental disabiliites, as well working on an exciting collaboration with McGill and the School of Health to learn about the cognitive and motor effect of dance/movement therapy for people with Parkinson's disease.  We plan to further expand our work with children on the autism spectrum in the future.

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