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 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 John Kirwan Foundation    

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.

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

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

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.