Big Anxiety Research Centre (BARC)'s Creative Approaches to Working with Trauma and Mental Health is an advanced intensive on working with art/design and creative media methods in the context of trauma and mental distress. Grounded in psychosocial research, it promotes lived-experience-focused practice, using creative, trauma-informed, and culturally safe approaches. It builds a working understanding of how, when and why creative practice is effective and can have psychosocial benefits—and fosters the skills to create safe spaces for working with lived experience in productive ways. Designed to enrich arts, health, peer work and social work practice, as well as personal reflective practice, the course is suitable to anyone looking to deepen their creative engagement with lived experience and trauma.


Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture

Delivery Mode

Face to face


24 March 2023


3 days


$400.00 - $695.00

Event Status

Sold out

What will I learn?

This course explores creative methods for working with trauma and emotion from a psychosocial perspective. You will be immersed in an experiential learning environment to explore principles of trauma informed creative practice with a focus on practical, transferable skills. Participants will enhance listening and self-reflection skills, learn how to create a safe environment -- and how and when to use creative techniques safely and effectively for communicating or working with trauma and complex emotions.

Building on the transdisciplinary work of the Big Anxiety Research Centre (UNSW), the course prioritises lived experience and Indigenous knowledge. It focuses on learning from experience, while drawing widely on the theory and practice of psychodynamic and somatic trauma therapies.

Course Outcomes

  • Practical skills in using creative methods in trauma support, research and/or practice
  • Understanding of collaborative work, grounded in lived experience
  • Understanding of principles of trauma informed practice
  • Self-awareness through reflective practice
  • Interdisciplinary perspective on complex health and wellbeing issues
  • Network of practitioners for continued support and collaboration  

How will I learn?

This course will be delivered face to face at UNSW’s School of Art and Design in Paddington, Sydney. It will run across 3 days for a total of 19.5 hours of face to face delivery.

Please note, prior to the course commencement date, there will be self-paced preliminary work to complete online in preparation for the course. The online component will total 7 hours of learning and comprise of:

  • Online reflective exercises – 1 hour
  • Reading – 4 hours
  • BARC video content - 2 hours  

Who should take this course?

This is an exciting opportunity for practitioners across the social work, health and arts sectors to engage in an immersive, interdisciplinary learning environment. The first of its kind, the course will offer diverse perspectives on trauma-informed practice, explore tangible skills in arts-based approaches and offer opportunities for ongoing creative collaboration.

We are happy to offer a limited number of discounted places for people in the social work, mental health and health fields at $400 for full course participation. Please email to enquire.

Regular registration is priced at $695.00

As a faculty, we are committed to ensuring our short courses are accessible to individuals or groups who are experiencing financial disadvantage. Discounted registration prices are available. Please contact the ADA Short Courses team via email at if you would like to discuss discount rates. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case bases.

Who is leading this course?

Big Anxiety Research Centre

The Big Anxiety Research Centre (BARC) is a unique transdisciplinary enterprise, dedicated to transforming thinking and practice in mental health through creative collaboration and cultural innovation. The Centre’s mission is to attune to lived experience, to promote innovative creative experimentation and wide community engagement, and to collectively generate the tools, programs and creative media we need to support mental and emotional health throughout our communities.

BARC researches lived experience through a distinctive combination of trauma-informed, psychosocial research and creative practice. The course convenors and facilitators combine experience in arts-based trauma studies, social-work and participatory practice, psychological counselling, lived experience peer work and Indigenous-led trauma support.

Facilitators include:

  • Jill Bennett 
  • Caroline Lenette 
  • Marianne Wobcke
  • Maree Higgins
  • Joanna Brooke
  • Rebecca Moran
  • Lydia Gitau 
  • Indigo Daya 
  • Gail Kenning

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