Helping children with traumatic experience through the language of art : a GRF grant project

Impact

Description of impact

Clinical findings from art therapy suggest that art is an effective medium for children to tell their stories in a safe and distant way. In a project supported by General Research Fund (GRF), Prof Sophia Law, Associate Professor of the Department of Visual Studies, will help children not only release and articulate their inner thoughts, but also experience a sense of self-directedness and satisfaction through an art facilitation programme.

"Such a positive experience can then be internalised as self-understanding," explained Prof Law. Prof Law's impressive project proposal and her proven strength and expertise in art facilitation programmes earned her a GRF in the 2015/16 funding exercise of the Research Grants Council. In her two-year project running from 2015 to 2017, she will work closely with social workers, art facilitators and art therapists to conduct a series of creative workshops for children with traumatic experiences such as child abuse and chronic stress. They will then study the effectiveness of images as a form of inner expression for children whose repressed emotions are otherwise difficult to liberate, and how such liberation and realisation can prompt a better understanding of themselves and the challenges they are facing.

In the past years, Prof Law's art facilitation programmes had benefitted different target groups including the Vietnamese boatpeople, students with special education needs, elderly people with dementia and children with traumatic experiences. Upon receiving the GRF, Prof Law immediately began exploring collaborative opportunities with hospitals, the Social Welfare Department and non-governmental organisations. "I hope we can do more for these child victims because these children often feel helpless about their situation. Our primary objective is to let them experience a sense of security and trust through the mediation of creation," said Prof Law.