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Precarity, Creative Arts and Wellbeing Symposium

The symposium brought together scholars and arts practitioners to explore the role of the arts in relation to experiences of precarity and in enhancing well-being among precariat communities.

Throughout the two-day symposium held on 1 - 2 September 2023, we shared and advanced creative approaches to working with these communities as well as innovative methods for researching and evaluating the impact of participatory arts on wellbeing.

Critical questions explored:

  • What roles do the arts play in relation to experiences of precarity?
  • How can the creative arts help to communicate the lived experience of precarity?
  • What needs to be considered (ethically) before using the arts to communicate such experiences?
  • What role might the arts play in addressing factors that contribute to precarity and advancing the rights of the precariat?
  • What innovative research methods can be used to understand the contribution of the creative arts to the well-being of precariat communities?

Un-welfare state highlights

A verbatim theatre production exploring experiences of the welfare system in Aotearoa.

2023 Keynote Speakers

 Adrian Jackson's photo

Adrian Jackson

(Theatre director, playwright, teacher, and trainer. Founder and former director of Carboard Citizens Theatre Company, UK).

Adrian Jackson is the founder and former director of the theatre company Cardboard Citizens, who produce work made particularly by, with, and for those who have experienced homelessness, inequity, or poverty. He is an experienced theatre maker who has worked across a range of artforms. Adrian Jackson is a specialist in the Theatre of the Oppressed, having translated five books by the Brazilian theatre pioneer Augusto Boal. In 1998, they collaborated on The Art of Legislation, an Artangel-sponsored piece of Legislative Theatre at County Hall in London. Adrian has led master classes in Theatre of the Oppressed in the UK, across Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and Africa. Adrian specialises in participatory arts and the use of arts as an inclusive practice to engage marginalised communities. He is committed to creative work that brings about social change.

Dr Shiloh Groot's photo

Dr Shiloh Groot

(Ngāti Uenukukōpako, Ngāti Pikiao)

Shiloh is an Associate Professor in Community Psychology at the University of Auckland. They are an interdisciplinary social scientist who works in the domains of Māori/cultural worldviews and wellbeing; sexuality and sex work; relational health and health inequalities; homelessness and urban poverty. Central to their approach to academia is citizenship and service, as is evident in their former role as co-chair to the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness (NZCEH) Māori Caucus.

 Fran Kewene's photo

Fran Kewene

Waikato, Ngati Maniapoto

Fran Kewene (Waikato-Maniapoto) identifies themselves as a creative Māori academic and locates their work in the intersections between hauora/health and whakaari Māori/theatre. Fran’s work is wholistic and interdisciplinary using kaupapa Māori informed theatre methodologies and performance to examine equity, colonisation and racism on the health and wellbeing of Māori and Indigenous peoples, and to privilege wairua (spirituality – connections), and non-spoken forms of communication.  Fran in interested in the power-relationships inherent when evaluating community informed creative works operating on government or state funding.

 Ying (Ingrid) Wang's photo

Ying (Ingrid) Wang

Ying (Ingrid) Wang is a post-doctoral research fellow at CAST, the University of Auckland. She is deeply committed to bringing culturally diverse perspectives into clinical practice and academic research. Her dedication stems from her passion for making a meaningful difference in people's health and well-being, and in the pursuit of social justice and equity within communities through the transformative power of arts. Her ground-breaking PhD research delved into the profound impacts of multiple layers of trauma on immigrant identity formation, employing innovative arts-based research methods. Ying's experience as a Chinese immigrant and clinical arts therapist has endowed her with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by Asian immigrants, international students and refugees. Additionally, she holds the distinction of being an ACC ISSC registered arts therapist, specialising in trauma-informed work with survivors of sexual abuse. Ying is currently leading a research project to explore the manner in which New Zealand schools might better support Asian survivors of sexual violence.


This symposium is supported by Massey University, University of Auckland, University of Melbourne, Te Ora Auaha: Creative Wellbeing Alliance Aotearoa and the Aotearoa Wellbeing Research Evaluation Network (AWREN).

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Rand T. Hazou on

Dr Rand Hazou

Dr Rand Hazou

Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities Media and Creative Comm