Research projects

The Centre’s existing research projects consider the application of the arts to major social issues including homelessness, post disaster response, mental health and wellbeing and the poverty of creativity in schooling. The Centre’s applied research projects consider the ethical, political and pedagogical tensions in the relationship between the arts and social transformation.

Drawing of three children painting

Te Rito Toi

Te Rito Toi helps teachers work with children when they first return to school following major traumatic or life changing events. It does that by providing research informed practical classroom activities and lesson plans to help children better understand their changed world and to begin to see themselves as being part of the promise of new and better futures. Te Rito Toi seeks to imbue the return to school with the joy, possibility and beauty of the arts to re-engage students with the wonder of learning. Te Rito Toi is based on understanding that the arts are uniquely placed to lead a return to productive learning when schools reopen.

Learn more about Te Rito Toi here

Sir John Kirwan Foundation Project

In 2020 The University of Auckland and the Sir John Kirwan Foundation partnered to
develop Mitey - a whole school mental health education programme for New Zealand Primary schools. The project will continue despite the difficulties imposed by COVID-19.

Working with experts across the Faculty of Education and Social Work we are developing a unique model that connects Western and Maori epistemologies to understand mental health for tamariki.

Learn more about the Mitey Programme    

Creative Schools Initiative (CSI)  

The CSI mission is to make schools places where teachers and students can regularly experience the joy of the creative process by:

  • Providing schools with robust reliable data that measures their overall creative
  • Providing schools with nuanced and detailed data to suggest ways in which classroom pedagogy might shift across eleven dimensions of creativity.
  • Providing governments with an overall picture of the creative environment of schools.
  • Providing advice to governments to understand and measure change caused by different initiatives on the creative environment.

Creative Thinking Project

The Creative Thinking Project provides information and ideas about the creative process and the benefits of creativity. Creative Fellows and other experts reflect on various aspects of creative thinking.

The patron of the Creative Thinking Project is Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan.

Learn more about the Creative Thinking Project here

Arts Beyond Borders

Arts Beyond Borders is a UNESCO-funded project, which aims to provide secondary school teachers with research-based classroom resources that promote the development of global citizenship through the arts.

A world beyond borders needs imagination to enlighten fairer and more sustainable futures. The arts provide opportunities for rangatahi to reframe their life stories and envisage new possibilities for social action. The team of Arts Beyond Borders have developed a set of teaching units with rich learning experiences that carefully guide educators in this exciting journey. The website also includes a section with advice for teachers and a research-based selection of picture books that addresses a broad range of global issues.

Learn more about Arts Beyond Borders here.

The Joy of Slow Wonder Book

Funded by the AGE Foundation Charitable Trust this book to be published in 2022 looks at how creative classrooms provide opportunities for teachers and students to notice the wonder of living.

The Regime of Safety

In Aotearoa New Zealand, the word ‘safety’ has become increasingly pervasive in educational policies and debates, gaining a new momentum with the Covid-19 pandemic. It is still not known how safety has become an issue of educational concern, nor what is undertaken in schools in the name of safety. This project aims to explore:

  • the ways in which ‘safety’ has become entangled with citizenship discourses in
    education policy;
  • how educators (re)produce these discourses; and
  • the citizen subjectivities these discourses shape and exclude. The summer scholar will contribute to a literature review analysis of policy documents.

Te Ora Auaha, Creative Wellbeing Alliance

Te Ora Auaha is a national network for the arts, health and wellbeing, providing resources for professionals using creativity to enhance health and wellbeing.

Learn more about the Creative Wellbeing Alliance here.