Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra (Australia)
I am an Occupational therapist, academic and researcher. Born and raised in Chile, I completed my doctoral studies in Sweden, before moving to Australia in 2016. As an academic and practitioner, I have always been interested in the connections between what we do (occupations), who we are, and our surrounding contexts which has been supported by my experiences in the design, implementation, and evaluation of community-based rehabilitation strategies. Working with communities, allowed me to further understand the importance and the value of collective doing. A particular type of doing that I am interested in is arts and crafts, including music, which connects me with the traditional and historical approaches used in occupational therapy. Engaging in the Music Engagement Program was beneficial in professional terms, but also, and equally important, supported me to navigate the migration process.
Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University (Australia)
I am a practitioner and researcher in the transdisciplinary space of music, community, education, health and wellbeing. I am also the Co-Director of the Music Engagement Program, delivering training and outreach opportunities in schools, care facilities and community organisations. I regularly collaborate with researchers and practitioners in mental health, ageing, occupational therapy, education and medicine to research the impacts of the MEP approach, including in occupational therapy contexts. I have been collaborating with the University of Canberra’s Occupational Therapy program since 2014, through which over 300 students have participated in, and led, social singing outreach programs with aged care residents and children living with disabilities. The MEP approach is now being delivered overseas, particularly in New Zealand. Music outreach practice has continued throughout 2020-2021 via online collaborations with community groups and schools.
Doing music together as a shared occupation: a socio-altruistic music program as a collective occupation and a learning opportunity for occupational therapy students
Music and singing are complex occupations, considering their known effects on health, occupational performance, collaboration, and socialisation for people of all ages and with all levels of abilities. This session will introduce the participants to the community-based Music Engagement Program, which aims to create opportunities for social interaction and wellbeing for all of those who are involved through sharing songs. The program is based in Canberra, Australia, and since 2014 has been a part of a local occupational therapy program to teach students about the nature of occupation. The students learn through engaging in community music sessions with residents in aged care facilities and local schools.
The collaboration has been recently published as a discussion paper:
Castro de Jong, D., Pike, G., West, S., Valerius, H., Kay, A., & Ellis, S. (2020). Shared music, shared occupation: Embedding music as a socio-altruistic collective- and co-occupation in occupational therapy education. Journal of Occupational Science, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2020.1793808