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Maple League Mid-term Progress Report – Spring Institute in Arts and Health

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ann Fox (St. FX) Co-Investigators: Dr. Catherine Morley (Acadia), Ms. Paula Rockwell (Acadia), Dr. Karen Brebner (St. FX), Maïca Murphy (St. FX)

The Maple League funded nine projects in 2019/2020 to promote and facilitate collaborative research, innovative teaching, spring and international field study programs, and travel amongst the four campuses. We are delighted to share, in a series called the Maple League Funding Spotlight, progress reports from these projects. We are particularly interested in the insights and impact these funded projects have had on their communities in the time of COVID.

We had a chance to sit down with Maïca Murphy from St. Francis Xavier University to talk about their project and learn more about collaboration across the four universities.

JESSICA RIDDELL (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MAPLE LEAGUE): The guiding question that animates all our Maple League collaborations is: “What can we do together that we cannot do on our own?” How does this resonate with the project you’ve undertaken?

MAÏCA MURPHY (ST. FRANCIS XAVIER): The spirit of the project we proposed is one wherein we want to contribute to community building and a spirit of gathering through arts and the fostering of better health outcomes within the Maple League community while simultaneously fostering professional relationships that foster academic research and progress in areas of Arts and Health. By bringing together academics from across the Maple League whose areas of research are likely to be distinct but nevertheless intersect on the topic of arts and health, the institute was seen as a way to springboard further inquiry through leveraging potential collaborative partnerships.

JR: How does your project benefit from working and learning in relationship-rich environments?

MM: We are pleased to be able to collaborate with one another to build on the expertise found across different campuses in the Maple League. We are a collection of relatively small institutions, but we do not replicate one another’s strengths, but instead complement. It allows researchers from across the Maple League to learn from one another and consider each other’s approaches to academic projects with similar topical interests.

JR: What kind of impact has your project had – on your own work, on institutional cultures, or beyond the academy – with your project?

MM: Unfortunately, because the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that travel and gathering sizes have been heavily restricted, we were unable to host the Arts and Health Institute in May as planned. We have considered hosting a virtual event. However, because some sessions required hands-on participation, this is currently not possible.

Interested in learning more? Here is a brief description of the project:

St. FX, in partnership with Acadia University, had been planning to host a two-day Arts and Health Spring Institute focusing on three ways in which arts and health can be explored: 1) creative teaching activities, 2) research activities, and 3) community partnership opportunities. The Institute is conceived as a way to help facilitate and encourage energetic research discussions, dynamic collaborations, and discoveries in arts and health. It was originally thought that the institute should be help in the Spring at the end of the academic school year, as the end of the academic school year is a time where faculty transition from classroom teaching to intensive research and development, and therefore a time when centering and recharging is necessary for creative and intellectual work. The Institute will provide faculty with opportunities to workshop different forms of creative activities that promote health through arts-based teaching and learning.

Contact us:

For more information about this project, contact Dr. Fox at

For more information on funding opportunities, visit:

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