In October, the Arts Therapy department at Whitecliffe hosted a Symposium, jointly organised by the Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association (ANZATA) and the Creative Therapies Association of Aotearoa (CTAA). The Symposium was very successful with over 100 people attending, bringing together arts therapists from all over New Zealand, as well as the UK, Chile, and Australia. The theme of the conference was: "Exploring New Pathways for the Creative Arts Therapies: Nourishing, Flourishing, Connecting" which was inspired by considering new applications of arts therapy and exploring cross-disciplinary possibilities for our profession in Aotearoa/New Zealand. There was a range of workshops and presentations that considered the themes using a variety of approaches. The weekend coincided with a seminar weekend for current students of the Whitecliffe Masters of Arts in Arts Therapy (MA AT) degree focused upon research methods; their attendance at this symposium was part of their studies.
Amanda Levey, HOD of the Whitecliffe Arts Therapy department and current President of ANZATA, invited Dr Shaun McNiff to be the keynote speaker at an earlier Sydney conference. Dr McNiff agreed to travel on to Auckland to be a special guest at the Auckland symposium. Dr McNiff is a University Professor at Lesley University in Massachusetts USA where he started the very successful Expressive Therapies Masters Programme, which is soon to celebrate its 40th anniversary. He is a seminal figure in the arts therapy field, has published widely and is hugely influential within the profession. Dr McNiff is a passionate advocate for arts-based research and gave a lively lecture, which was inspiring and encouraging of our programme and arts therapy community. CTAA also arranged international guests: the expressive rhythm group TaKeTiNa and dramatherapist Joanna Jaaniste.
The Symposium was extremely well received with the atmosphere at Whitecliffe described as “electric and lively”. “What a great symposium!!!...” said another attendee, “McNiff was so inspirational and it was just incredible to see and hear him in person!”
Right: Shaun McNiff