Earlier this academic year, Suzy Tutchell (Lecturer in Primary Art Education) and Scarlett Murphy (Lecturer in Primary English) – both of the University of Reading’s Institute of Education – received internal funding (£800) from the University of Reading’s Community Fund to research the impact of art on the mental health and wellbeing of children and trainee teachers during (and after) the global pandemic.
The project (titled ‘re-stART’) is a year-long staff and student initiative, working specifically with primary school communities and trainee teachers at the University’s Institute of Education. The difficulties the COVID-19 pandemic has raised has had a detrimental effect on mental health of all, with schools focussing primarily on maths and English to ‘catch up’ the children. The project researches the importance of art in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the school community and is being carried out by a team of two tutors and six Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) primary students.
The project is acting as a conduit between schools and our trainee teachers, supporting them with art initiatives to carry out on placement and in their first year of teaching to influence practice to their wider school communities. It is hoped that, at the end of the project (around July 2022), they will have a community art exhibition of the work produced to share and celebrate its success and legacy. This will extend to a virtual catalogue of work to be shared more widely to all who have been a part of the project.
Since the start of this academic year, Suzy and Scarlett have already secured research ethics approval for their project, and have already completed their data collection. They are now analysing their data and are aiming to submit their research article reporting the project’s findings in Summer 2022.
Some examples of the art works produced to date can be found below.
To learn more about Suzy’s research interests, click here.
To learn more about Scarlett’s research interests, click here.