Studios of Life: Outsider Art at School

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter originates from an artist residency establishing outdoor art studios within a primary school in Ireland. It is written from the perspective of an art therapy educator (the author) collaborating with an art therapy trainee in her practicum within an inner-city Dublin primary school. The project was implemented with a small focus group of four primary school students (girls aged 10-11 years old) that acted as an artist collective. The purpose of the focus group was to explore the “art of walking” and to interact with the art of the neighborhood (graffiti) to facilitate place attachment, environmental creativity, and an awareness of the school’s physical environment. The focus group also included the school principal and accompanying teachers. I also occupied the role of artist in the landscape extending the art therapy practicum outdoors into the school’s environs.

This project was an opportunity to engage with the characteristics of young people’s everyday lives as citizens and cultural producers both inside and outside of school and to recontextualise health in terms of living in alignment with one’s home terrain. I will describe the concepts that informed this project as a design for arts and health and art therapy which ventured outside school boundaries into public thoroughfares characterized by co-production. Public art of the commonplace (the creativity within shared spaces in the everyday) engages through originality, skill, and vernacular narrative (Riggle, 2010). The following proposal encourages an alliance between a primary school and its public surroundings bestowing contributions to learning about identity-in-context and life outside of school.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBridging the Creative Arts Therapies and Arts and Health
Subtitle of host publicationToward Inspirational Practice
EditorsDonna Betts, Val Huet
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherJessica Kingsley Publishers
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978 1 78775 722 6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Sept 2022


  • Art Therapy
  • Arts and Health
  • Community Art
  • Art and Education
  • The Art of Walking


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