The Abu Dhabi Centre for Sheltering and Humanitarian Care – Ewaa, an affiliate of the Department of Community Development (DCD), will host the MENA region’s first-ever Art Therapy Conference on 17-18 October 2023, at ERTH Abu Dhabi.

The inaugural Art Therapy Conference will bring together a diverse group of experts, specialists, and enthusiasts from across the globe, who will delve into the most recent advancements in art therapy, examining its effects on mental health, rehabilitation from violence and abuse, emotional wellbeing, and personal growth. It offers an enriching programme, packed with diverse workshops, scientific sessions, compelling art showcases, and networking opportunities, and serves as a platform for exchanging ideas, acquiring knowledge, and sparking inspiration.

Under the theme Empowering through Creativity, the conference reflects Ewaa’s commitment to promoting the creative application of arts and evidence-based research to advance the field of art therapy on a global scale. Participants will engage in discussions regarding the benefits, approaches, strategies, and treatments related to trauma work, restoration of wellbeing, and fostering inclusive community engagement.

The conference will cover a range of important topics, including the fundamental principles of art therapy, various art therapy practices and models, the therapeutic power of engaging multiple senses in the restoration of the self, diagnostic techniques and measurement tools used in art therapy, the intersection of modern art and art therapy, and the effectiveness of art therapy as a therapeutic tool. These topics, among others, will be explored in depth through presentations and discussions.

Her Excellency Sarah Shuhail, Director-General of Ewaa, said: “Ewaa has been committed for years towards the fusion of artistic self-expression and the harmonious integration of body, mind, and spirit in a holistic and humanistic approach, in order to rehabilitate victims of human trafficking, and violence and abuse. This essential work contributes to the well-being of individuals and communities, enabling social change, advancing humanity, and promoting sustainable development in societies.

"The conference will serve as a vibrant platform for knowledge exchange and learning, bringing together esteemed specialists, researchers, and academics from all over the world. Our focus has been on attracting a distinguished cohort of leading experts and thought leaders who will collectively delve into the latest global practices in the realm of art therapy and its crucial role in advancing social sector objectives."

The event will feature approximately 100 artworks created by survivors of human trafficking, violence and abuse, alongside submissions by artists from across the UAE. More than 20 speakers and an estimated 500 attendees are anticipated to take part in the conference.

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