Community Engagement through the Arts: An Interdisciplinary Approach Developed in an Australian University

By Lindsay Farrell, Delyse Ryan, Tracey Sanders and Judith Fromyhr.

Published by The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Arts and Culture Community Engagement Project has run for 10 years as a university outreach program to seniors, school students, homeless, refugees, and marginalised groups in Brisbane, Australia. The program demonstrated that interdisciplinary arts education in higher education can change lives and promote social inclusion. The program used higher education in the arts, delivered in community settings, to engage with a wide range of participants. The Arts and Culture Project demonstrated that participants were able to gain new understandings of the arts, arts institutions, social interactions, relationships, arts practice, community participation, and futures. It showed that arts education was a powerful way for individuals and groups of people to make meanings through engagement with arts practice, and frame their interpretive personal and social experience. Lecturers in the project received national Australian teaching and learning citations in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Keywords: Inclusion, Community Engagement, Outreach

The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.9-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 247.028KB).

Lindsay Farrell

Head of School, School of Arts and Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Associate Professor Lindsay Farrell is a lecturer in the School of Arts and Sciences at Australian Catholic University in Brisbane, Australia. He researches the arts in community contexts.

Dr. Delyse Ryan

Senior Lecturer in Drama, School of Arts and Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Delyse Ryan has worked at Australian Catholic University since 1995 and during these years has been dedicated to providing students with invaluable opportunities to produce public performances in a community context. As a theatre director she has created an eclectic range of performances including self-devised performances as well as unique versions of classic and contemporary plays. Her teaching and research interests primarily relate to Australian theatre history.

Dr. Tracey Sanders

Senior Lecturer in Drama, Arts and Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Tracey Sanders is an experienced drama and arts educator and has taught extensively across both school and university sectors. She is the co-ordinator of the Bachelor of Arts program at the Australian Catholic University in Queensland and is highly regarded for her drama work and community engagement. She was the recipient of the Australian Catholic University Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007, the Australian Catholic Community Engagement Award in 2010 and an Australian Learning and Teaching Council National Award in 2010. Dr. Sanders is a respected script writer of community and school based peformances and in 2010, her script on the life and times of Mary Mackillop, Australia’s first saint, was peformed in Rome, under Dr. Sanders’ direction for audiences in excess of 3000. Dr. Sanders is a respected drama consultant and conducts workshop and seminars across a wide sector of educational contexts.

Judith Fromyhr

Senior Lecturer in Music, School of Arts and Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Judith Fromyhr is a member of a Creative and Performing Arts Team at Australian Catholic University where she lectures in music history and materials and music education. She has extensive experience in instrumental teaching and choral programs in early childhood and specialises in teaching the innovative Colourstrings Violin ABC developed by Geza Szilvay. Judith’s research is in the area of the development of expertise in instrumental and vocal performance and she is a recipient of an ACU Excellence in Teaching award and Community Engagement Award.