The Art of Healing in Kashmir: how creative activities can support child wellbeing in areas of conflict 2021-22

Kashmir is the centre of both a geopolitical struggle between India and Pakistan and an indigenous independence movement, one of the most militarised areas in the world. Since 1989 more than 80,000 people have been killed and everyday life is marked by the presence of military, curfews, stone-pelting and demonstrations. Children are particularly vulnerable in militarised areas and healing trauma is central for sustainable peace.

Katkatha Puppet Trust and Vikramjeet Sinha are delivering arts-based activities and Arts Based Therapy (ABT), including drama, visual arts, and puppetry to children in Kashmir to help them manage anxiety, anger and PTSD. Evaluation of use of the arts to improve mental health is often lacking and research is being conducted with children attending the Dolphin School in Pulwama, Kashmir. This will evaluate the potential for the arts activities and arts-based therapy to support the mental health and wellbeing of children affected by conflict.

Art of Healing web site.

The project has also built a website for the school and children to exchange ideas on an ongoing basis. Kalakar Qasbah is a protected site where participants can freely post and develop their thoughts and creative work.

Research team

Michael Buser (UWE) – community resilience; arts-led research

Loraine Leeson (Middlesex) – socially engaged arts practice

Emma Brannlund (UWE) – gender, International relations, Kashmir

Nicola Holt (UWE) – mental health, conscious experience, Art Based Therapy evaluation.

Julie Mytton – (UWE) child public health, children’s participation in research, evaluation of public health interventions.

Sara Penrhyn Jones (Bath Spa) – film / film-making