DVA TV video showcases ADF arts program

The latest DVA TV video looks at the Australian Defence Force (ADF)’s Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills (ARRTS) Program.

The four-week residential program is held twice a year – in May and November – at the University of Canberra. It is available to ADF personnel, and a small number of veterans who have transitioned in the previous three years.

The program is for those who are experiencing service-related health and wellbeing issues. No previous experience in the arts is required and the program covers the cost of tuition, mentoring, travel, accommodation, and allowances for eligible participants.

The video follows three individuals, from the Navy, Army and Air Force, who took part in a recent program and explores how they benefited. It includes an interview with Dr Geoff Grey, the program’s Artistic Director.

‘We’ve been running this program since 2015,’ Geoff says. ‘We know that creative engagement is really fantastic for people when they’re transitioning from service … creative engagement really hones you in on your identity and really makes you realise that your uniform is not who you are, it’s what you wear.’

The purpose of the program is to build confidence and resilience in those who are in need of a reset. It takes place in a uniform-free, rank-free environment.

Training and mentoring are provided by supportive arts practitioners in three streams: visual arts, music/rhythm and creative writing.

Each program culminates in an evening showcase event where ARRTS participants display their painting and sculptures, perform their music or read out their writing.

‘Research has shown that 85% of previous participants are still utilising creative engagement for their wellbeing,’ Geoff says. ‘So it really does work.’

This year’s Programs will be conducted:

  • 5–31 May 2024. Applications close 1 April 2024
  • 27 October – 22 November 2024. Applications close 23 September 2024. 

Application forms and full details are available on the Department of Defence website. You can also email ADF.ARRTS [at] defence.gov.au () or ring: (02) 6127 6505.

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