Schofield, Sally

Artwork, a material semiotic actor

Sally Schofield

This poster is a response to the research question: how can the individual art-making process and the resulting artwork facilitate self-expression and achievement of therapeutic outcomes for people affected by Parkinson’s disease? The material used in this analysis comes from 10 individual interviews with members of long-term art therapy groups, part of a qualitative study on the effects of art-making in group art therapy sessions for people affected by Parkinson's. Participants were asked to bring pieces of their artwork to discuss in the interviews and I became increasingly aware of the performative nature of the artwork. I explore Springham and Brooker’s (2013) claim that the systematic exploration of reflexive interviews with participant artwork could allow the exploration of mechanisms of change that are unique to art therapy. This poster focuses on the roles the artwork played out in the interview and how this might reflect ways the art therapy group members interact with their artwork in a session. The artwork opened up a potential space in the individual interviews which both stimulated and offered containment for the expression of profound emotional content (Kaiser & Kay, 2016). Furthermore, the presence of the artwork challenged the power-structure of the semi-structured qualitative research interview (Edwards & Holland, 2013). Incorporating relational aspects of the interview process as opposed to simply considering the thematic content is an attempt to address the complexities of the research interview encounter and the fact that my particular analytic lens is influenced by my position as art therapist/ researcher. I will discuss how my post-structuralist epistemological standpoint led me to pay careful attention to the content and dynamics of the interviews happening in a specific context, as I do not consider meaning to be static and stable but to be constructed on a relational basis.



Sally Schofield  I have recently completed my PhD ‘Group art therapy for people with Parkinson’s, a qualitative study’ at the University of Manchester. I undertook my fieldwork in Barcelona, Spain, where I have worked as an art therapist for over 12 years, working mainly with adults with long-term life-changing conditions. I have been very involved in the professional development of art therapy in Spain in the positions of President of the Spanish Professional Association for art therapists for three years and President and Vice-president for the Spanish Federation of Professional Art Therapy Associations for four and a half years. I am also an art therapy lecturer and clinical supervisor. I have collaborated with various art therapy training programmes in Spain.


Recent Publications

2018: Arteterapia. más allá del diagnostico [Art therapy, beyond the diagnosis] Guest speaker at III Jornada de verano de Artes y Arteterapia en la Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, (June)

2017: El proceso creativo como herramienta para la investigación cualitativa.[The creative process as a research tool in qualitative research] Paper presented at III Jornada Nacional de Investigación en Arteterapia, Barcelona, (November)

2017: Fieldwork. Panel member at NWDTC Methods Exchange Conference, University of Manchester, (May)   

Schofield, S. (2016). ¿Cómo contribuye el lenguaje artístico a las sesiones grupales de arteterapia para personas afectadas de Párkinson? [How does the language of art contribute to group sessions for people affected by Parkinson’s?] Teoría y práctica grupoanalalitica, 6(1), 45-55

2015: De-constructing and Re-constructing Identity: Art therapy for people with Parkinson’s. Paper presented at 2nd International Critical Social Psychology Conference: Affect Embodiment and Politics, UAB, Barcelona (January)