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The research


The purpose of the Visual Arts Wellbeing research project was to develop a wellbeing needs assessment of visual art students in Australian higher education. This needs assessment provides a descriptive profile of students’ resilience, mental health, and wellbeing. Various student opinions were represented through this research, including their perspectives on how university experiences influence students' mental health, and how visual art education can be improved to enhance and sustain student wellbeing. The project gathered evidence from undergraduate visual art students through two different phases: 


Online Survey

The 15-minute survey asked questions about students' wellbeing and resilience levels, how stressed students might feel and what they do when things get tough at university. The survey also asked students about how their degree could be changed to support or improve their mental health.


Individual Interviews

In late 2018 the investigator, Eileen Siddins, interviewed students for 30-60 mins. Questions asked during these individual interviews encouraged discussion about how student’s experiences at university can influence their wellbeing, and ways to support their mental health and wellbeing during their degree. 

Cleaning Ceramic
Sewing Studio
Who participated?


This research focussed on art students who were completing an Australian undergraduate degree, majoring in one or more of the disciplines listed below:


  • FINE ARTS (including painting, drawing, print, sculpture, ceramics, and textiles);


  • ILLUSTRATION AND DESIGN (including graphic and interactive design); and


  • DIGITAL MEDIA (including digital illustration and/or animation).


For the purpose of this research, the disciplines listed here have been described as visual art disciplines. 

Who conducted the research?

Eileen Siddins is the Principal Investigator for this doctorate research. Eileen has experience as a sessional lecturer, researcher, and artist. She has engaged with various Australian art educators and local creative practitioners for the sake of her research and teaching practice. Through this experience, Eileen has developed a passion for helping art students become the best version of themselves that they want to be, regardless of their current situation in life. In her spare time, Eileen enjoys completing design and illustration projects. 

Eileen's doctorate supervisors are Professor Ryan Daniel, Professor Margaret-Anne Carter, and Doctor Beryl Buckby. You can find more information about Eileen's supervisors by visiting the James Cook University Research Portfolio.

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