Friday, 15 August 2014

Welcome to our stARTalking blog!

stARTalking as the name implies is about ART talking. Art making and creative expression as conversation, communication, therapeutic intervention and an agent for social change. The stARTalking blog will illustrate and record the achievements of La Trobe University Nursing & Midwifery students and academics working together to bring diverse and enriching opportunities for art intervention in mental health care.

Dr Louise Ward and Sinead Barry will manage the blog and welcome contribution from you all. Please email Dr Louise Ward: if you have any questions or require assistance interacting with the site.

stARTalking represents a number of interesting projects developed to incorporate creative expression and art making into the teaching and learning of undergraduate mental health nursing students at La Trobe University, Melbourne. 

The stARTalking blog offers you an opportunity to; 
  • see what projects are being developed, sign up and get involved, 
  • share your thoughts and feelings about the complex issues in mental health care
  • post artwork, poetry and or photography that you wish to share with others 
  • create discussion about things that matter to you

The stARTalking Projects

The stARTalking projects aim to;

  • provide students with diverse learning opportunities 
  • improve on student knowledge of mental health care
  • enhance the student experience through interdisciplinary collaboration
  • support student and academic community engagement through the development of public health promotion activities 
  • raise community awareness about mental health care through a variety of student and academic led public art activities.  

A number of project activities are planned for roll out this year so please get involved and make a difference! 

Take a quick look at some of the paintings created out of the our first stARTalking 2013 project and read our article (link below)

Dr Ward, Louise and Barry, Sinead. stARTalking [online]. 

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, Vol. 21, No. 11, Jun 2014: 39. Availability: <;dn=312540643519654;res=IELHEA> ISSN: 2202-7114. [cited 23 Aug 14].;dn=312540643519654;res=IELHEA

The stARTalking project 2013: Undergraduate Mental Health Education in the Clinical Setting

stARTalking 2014 Project Undergraduate Mental Health Education in the clinical setting

A number of pop-up art workshops and creative opportunities will be facilitated in semester 2, 2014 across the following three mental health care settings; Alfred Health, St Vincents Hospital and Northpark Private. Students can choose to participate in art making activities with the clients they are caring for in the clinical setting. The art workshops aim to;

  • further develop the therapeutic relationship between student and client, 
  • offer greater opportunity for students to improve on communication skills
  • support the student to better understand the lived experience of people with mental health disorder.

The art workshops will be designed and facilitated by our La Trobe University Masters in Art Therapy students. Academics, nurse educators and art therapists on site work will work in partnership with the students to support a positive learning environment and rewarding client experience. Students and clients can choose to exhibit the work they create at a public exhibition in February 2015 during La Trobe University O-Week celebrations.

The  project will aim to support a recovery model of care through interactive group engagement, the process of working together, creating connection and facilitating mutual respect between student/ client/ clinician.  

The project will be evaluated for educational effectiveness.


  1. This week saw the stARTalking workshops kick off! Our students were inspiring! They worked wonderfully with clients and a number of creative pieces were made. Great team effort!

  2. I really enjoyed the workshop today! Such a fun and interactive way of knowing the patients... Also, I've always been a fan of art as a means of therapy. Cheers to more projects like these! :)

    1. Thank you Stephanie. I am so glad you enjoyed the stARTalking workshop. I look forward to hearing more about your interest in art. Do you paint? I truly believe nurses are inherently creative. What are your thoughts? Lou

  3. Can't wait to check put this blog properly

  4. Absolutely loved the start talking workshop at the hospital! Was a great way to interact with the clients on the same level. This was a great learning opportunity and would love to do this in the future.

    1. Fantastic! I am so glad it made sense to you and that you found it to be a great learning opportunity. I am planning to host a number of interesting arts and health projects so keep connected to the blog. I'd love you to be involved!

  5. Thank you to everyone who participated in the art workshops so far. What a fantastic turnout we had and wasn't it such a nice space to share our creative flair! My creative ability is slowly growing, there is paint on my board and I'm contemplating what is my next move. Looking forward to some more fun with you next week.

  6. Hi Louise and Sinead, what a fantastic blog showcasing all the creative artwork. I was fortunate to be part of the 2013 project and celebrated the achievement of the opening night. My confidence and skills to stARTalking have developed thanks to this initiative. The skills I have obtained can be carried through all aspects of my carrier. Cheers!

  7. I participated in a workshop this semester and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. It was great to be able to communicate with the patients on a different level and to get involved in the art therapy ourselves. The day stands out in my memory of what was a fantastic clinical placement. Thank you!

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