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Converge: University arts education and adults with mental health problems.

Rowe, Nick (2020) Converge: University arts education and adults with mental health problems. York St John University. (Unpublished)

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Converge is a longitudinal practice-research project of which Nick Rowe is the founder and director, which uses action research, peer research and reflective practice to explore the efficacy of situating arts and mental health programmes in a university context. Each year Converge engages 6 university staff and 60 university students in delivering a range of educational courses to 150 local people who have mental health problems.

Within the Converge project, two overarching strands of research can be identified. Firstly, through cycles of practice, collaborative reflection, data gathering and conceptualisation, Converge seeks to develop and refine an educational model of mental health practice, and to evaluate its impact on mental health and higher education practice, on mental health service users and on participating university students. This has been the core of Converge’s practice research enquiry throughout this REF period.

Secondly, since 2017, Converge has followed the same practice research methodology to test innovative models of peer research in the mental health context. In particular, it has established the Converge Evaluation and Research Team (CERT), a group of people with lived experience of mental health difficulties who have received training in research methods and have been commissioned to undertake bespoke evaluation for six services. Further, Converge’s theatre company Out Of Character carried out a groundbreaking drama-led participatory research project into alternative futures for mental health services. The research objective of this strand is to test and disseminate a model of peer research in mental health, seeking to change practice within the NHS, local government and national policy making.

The conceptual and methodological advances generated through both strands of practice research have been disseminated not only through academic publications but through conference presentations, performances, creative outputs (including several plays and numerous workshops) and via Converge’s national and international partnerships. These are presented in the supporting contextual information.

Item Type: Other
Status: Unpublished
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA790 Mental health
School/Department: School of the Arts
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/4598

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