Healing Ways: Art with Intent is a growing online community of people interested in exploring the role of art in promoting emotional healing and wellbeing in Aboriginal communities. This space aims to provide information and support discussions about a range of relevant artistic and cultural practices, both past and present, taking place in Aboriginal communities across Australia that encourage emotional wellbeing.

We are gathering knowledge and stories to promote and inform the potential development of culturally relevant art-based approaches to address social and emotional wellbeing and to highlight best practice standards for such potential projects. It is hoped this body of knowledge will increase or stimulate greater awareness and research about the emotional and healing dimensions of Aboriginal art. It will also be used to promote an understanding of the emotional world of Aboriginal people, especially in experiences of trauma, through art.


This project grew out of a two-year scoping project facilitated by The Dax Centre and supported by Aboriginal organisations Desart and the Lowitja Institute. In this time The Dax Centre consulted with community leaders, artists, arts workers, scholars and mental health practitioners from Victoria and Central Australia, about how they understood art and related cultural practice to have been useful to emotional wellbeing in Aboriginal communities. Through this process an Advisory Group of Aboriginal stakeholders and industry professionals was created to inform the development of three major outcomes for the project: a symposium, an exhibition and a web-based resource.

The project and its outcomes aim to gather expertise and share knowledge to advocate for the use of art and creativity for emotional wellbeing among Aboriginal communities and to increase understanding of the emotional world of Aboriginal people through art.

The Dax Centre has a long history and experience of using art and creativity to promote a greater understanding of mental illness and trauma among various community groups and the general public. It also believes in, and actively promotes the use of art and creativity for healing and emotional wellbeing.

Advisory Group

Judy Atkinson, Emeritus Professor, Southern Cross University
Maree Clarke, Artist
Mary Guthrie, General Manager, The Lowitja Institute
Robyne Latham, Artist, and Researcher, The Bouverie Centre
Caroline Martin, Manager, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum
Kent Morris, Statewide Indigenous Arts Officer in Victorian Correctional Facilities, The Torch
Mandy Nicholson, Languages Officer, Victorian Aboriginal Languages Corporation
Kerry Thompson & Elke Smirl, Boorndawan William Aboriginal Healing Service
Peter Waples-Crowe, Artist & Policy Officer, VACCHO
Philip Watkins, CEO, Desart

Our Partners