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  • Dancing for fun, fitness, and relaxation: Using participatory research to engage and learn from women in the justice system with Ella Dumaresq

Dancing for fun, fitness, and relaxation: Using participatory research to engage and learn from women in the justice system with Ella Dumaresq

  • 19 Jul 2023
  • ZOOM


  • (+GST for Australian Members)
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  • (+GST for Australian Members)

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Ella discusses findings from her PhD research where she used dance movement therapy (DMT) to engage women navigating the criminal justice system in Victoria. As part of the study, participants were invited to offer feedback, which was analysed using reflexive and interpretative methods of ethnographic data generation. Three themes emerged through the data which were understood to reflect notions of fun, fitness, and relaxation in DMT. In this presentation Ella discusses the value of participatory research as a way of 'learning with and from' participants. Ella also articulates the beginnings of a theoretical perspective, described in her doctoral thesis as an "exercisePLUS" perspective: this conceptualisation of practice explores the value of physical fitness and exercise in DMT and connects these elements of practice to existing trauma discourse. It is hoped the ideas presented will contribute toward the further development of community-based research and practice within creative arts therapies.


Ella is a Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, and a researcher-practitioner. She currently leads the dance therapy track in the Master of Creative Arts Therapies program. Ella holds a PhD in dance movement therapy: her doctoral project focused on developing collaborative approaches to DMT practice with women navigating through the criminal justice system. Ella's prior practice experience includes aged care and adult disability. Alongside her academic duties, Ella explores DMT with residents in a forensic mental health unit. She enjoys working with diverse groups of people to explore their perceptions and knowledge/s of using dance as a health and wellbeing resource. Ella works both online and in-person. She is guided by trauma-responsive and strengths-based models of practice.

Date: Wednesday 19 July 2023
Time: 5.30pm - 6.30pm AEST (3.30pm HKT & WA, 7.30pm NZT)
Location: ZOOM (this session will not be recorded due to privacy reasons)
CPD: 1 hour
Cost: $20
Open to: All members
Min/Max Participants: 10/Unlimited

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