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Art Therapy and Syrian Refugee Children: Using a Design Thinking Framework to Develop Empathy

Murdock, Holly Art Therapy and Syrian Refugee Children: Using a Design Thinking Framework to Develop Empathy. 2016. Radford University,

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According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the current number of people who have fled Syria due to political conflict has reached 4.5 million, and half of these refugees are children (UNHCR, 2016). Aid workers report that Syrian refugee children show signs of suffering from acute distress and depression (Grant & Harper, 2013). Art therapy has been shown to be beneficial in the recovery of refugees in past conflicts (Chapman, Morabito, Ladakakos, Schreier, & Knudson, 2001; Sarid & Huss, 2010), but its use among Syrian refugees is limited (UNHCR, 2014). This research project brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to participate in design thinking workshops aimed at finding solutions to benefit the lives of Syrian refugee children through the use of art therapy, while evaluating the effectiveness of the design thinking process. The ability of people who have no experiences as refugees to contribute ideas to address the problem was examined and their level of empathy in relation to refugee children before and after the workshops was measured. The study resulted in the development of a coloring book with pages drawn by children in the United States under the supervision of an art therapist, to be donated to aid organizations working with refugee children.

Item Type: Thesis
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Radford University > College of Visual and Performing Arts > Department of Design
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2016 16:41
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2023 19:26
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/268

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