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Creative Collaging, for University Mental Health Day

Group of students creating collages
  • Written byKiara Corso
  • Published date 16 March 2023
Group of students creating collages
Image: Kiara Corso

To celebrate University Mental Health Day on March 9th, I hosted a ‘Creative Collaging’ workshop to provide postgraduate students a space to relax, create, and reflect.

Coming from a background in Neuropsychology, I understand the importance of mental health and the implications it can have on our day to day lives. We tend to get caught up in the rapidly changing, yet stagnant world we live in where we are preoccupied by our phones, our peers, or hierarchical pressures.

As a new postgraduate student, adjusting back into the student life can be somewhat overwhelming. Navigating new ways of learning, complex ideas, strange environments all while ensuring deadlines and criteria are met can be a stressful reality. Hence, I wanted to utilise the important message of this day to allow students to step away from deadlines and reconnect to their subconscious selves.

students creating collages
Image: Kiara Corso

Setting the mood with relaxing music and visuals, we began the session with introductions of who we were, what we study, and an emotion we were feeling. The aim of this was to begin to create a safe space, allowing students to feel comfortable and open to being vulnerable. By thinking about our current feelings and emotions we began this process of introspection, permitting us to tap into our current state of mind. From here students were encouraged to start collaging, this was done individually although while in discussion with each other.

I encouraged students to use their hands to rip, tear and shape the paper to create their collages so they could connect to the tactility of this process. Over the hour the space became an uplifting environment where students complimented each other’s works and processes. The mood was calm, yet the creative energy was buzzing.

table covered in magazine scraps
Image: Kiara Corso

We followed this creative collaging with a group reflection. Each student showed their piece to the group and shared their intentions. This was a process of interpretation where the student began to understand their own work at a different level, noticing symbols, meanings, and intentions that they may not have observed while in the making process.

Each student’s work varied in compositions, meanings, layouts, forms, and objectives which was exciting to see. The group was encouraging of each other’s outcomes and open minded in understanding the differences between each person’s goal.

table displaying magazine scraps for collaging activity
Image: Kiara Corso

I thoroughly enjoyed running this workshop as I was able to see the impacts of creating a safe space for students. It was encouraging to see a sense of tranquillity haze over the group as the session progressed. Every student acknowledged yet appreciated each other’s differences and the conversations were uplifting and enriching. The workshop really highlighted the importance of setting a tone from the very beginning and thus allowing for impactful outcomes.

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