How to use ART in social work practice

Are you an artist? Or perhaps you just really enjoy art….

Are you looking to find a way to blend your creative interests with your desire to help people?  Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Get your Masters in Social Work at UNE and the Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate!

Unique among social work programs, our Applied Arts and Social Justice (AASJ) Certificate lets students design a course of study that puts the creative process front and center of their MSW pursuits.  Students work with real people in real need, where the love of creativity combines with our rigorous social work curriculum to promote real change.

Check out the great comic below, designed by one of our very own AASJ MSW students, (now alumna) Katy Finch ’18, to learn about the various projects students have done through the AASJ certificate:




This comic represents only a handful of  projects students have done and continue to do.   While some students take a more macro approach, others focus their projects in clinical work.  One of our students, for example, designed a program and conducted research around music therapy with children and adolescents in psychiatric care and another researched sound healing and will be moving to California this fall, in fact, as she got a job to continue this work.


“Artfulness and creativity aid exploration into the human experience, particularly with those whose suffering has laid dormant, or hidden beneath trauma, shame, discrimination, and sheer survival,” says School of Social Work Director Shelley Cohen Konrad PhD LCSW FNAP

Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate Coordinator, Lori Power MA, EdD, echoes the same sentiment in her comments:  “There are many ways of communicating that fall outside of language. Social workers can use things like music, and image, and sound, and movement to connect with clients in less traditional, but deeply profound ways,” she says and shares specific examples of the ways in which students do this.  Students utilize collage with adolescent groups to explore ideas around body image expectations, for example, or share song lyrics with a client to connect around issues they are grappling with.  Students use role play to practice perspective taking or to explore different possible outcomes to an action they may take.

The arts can also be used to bring about social change in the broader sphere, as in the case with movies, artistic displays, performance–and many other forms of art–that seek to change society.  Social workers can also use the arts to deepen their own self-awareness and help sustain their commitment to social work practice.

“The possibilities are endless!” Lori exclaims.

UNE’s on campus MSW program will feature the Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate at our June 11th Open House. 



Be sure to check out our AASJ Blog ARCHIVE to view more AASJ Projects!