Associate Professor Lindsay Farrell, Head of the School of Arts and Sciences (QLD) at Australian Catholic University (ACU), has been awarded a Smithsonian Scholar position at the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.
Selected from hundreds of international proposals, Associate Professor Farrell’s study The Museums on the Margins will investigate art as a means of social inclusion and wellbeing for the marginalised.
He said the three-month research would also examine the Smithsonian’s social inclusion perspectives, policies and practices.
“For years I have worked with art in prisons, hospitals and marginalised communities, and have developed approaches for evaluating art as a means of social inclusion and wellbeing,” Associate Professor Farrell said. “Museums are also challenged with providing contexts for a range of people, including the marginalised, to engage with ‘life world values’ through art.”
“Art is an important contributor to the wellbeing of the community, and internationally there is general consensus about the importance of art as a means of learning and community engagement.”
“This research will significantly advance knowledge in the development of methods to measure the way art helps with social inclusion and wellbeing on a national and international scale.”
The project will be an extension of Associate Professor Farrell’s project Art on the Margins - a study of art in prisons, hospitals and homeless accommodation.
The study found that art in these contexts was good for patients, inmates, staff, families and the wider community.His work is part of ACU’s mandate to deliver and research arts programs that move beyond disadvantage in promoting social inclusion and wellbeing by reaching out to those in need.
Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities.