Saturday 21 March 2020 in Melbourne –

Teachers are invited to join Professor Peter O’Connor (The University of Auckland) and Professor Helen Cahill (The University of Melbourne) in Melbourne on Saturday 21st March 2020 between 10am and 3pm for two practical workshops exploring arts-based practices in classrooms that are appropriate during or in response the bushfire crisis.

The arts provide a unique opportunity for children and young people to reimagine themselves and their communities in the wake of disaster.  Research informed practical ways of working in and through the arts, drama in particular, are offered to teachers across primary and secondary schools. Teachers interested in ways to engage their students, wondering how to safely explore issues related to the bushfires, will find the workshops helpful in preparing and planning their approach.

Workshop 1: Teaspoon of Light Workshop by Professor Peter O’Connor (The University of Auckland)

This two hour workshop uses the story of a child who needs her dream cloth repaired as a way to look at how disaster can tear at hopes and dreams and how you can begin to repair the damage.  The workshopped has been used extensively in schools in post disaster settings including Christchurch and Mexico City. See

Peter O’Connor is Professor of Education and Director of the Creative Thinking Project at the University of Auckland.  He has worked extensively in schools both during and post disaster. His most recent work involves creating a theatre performance with the homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles.

Workshop 2:  Creating contribution post crisis by Professor Helen Cahill (The University of Melbourne)

This two hour workshop focuses on methods through which to advance the social, civic and mental health of children and young people through participatory and arts-informed methods. It will focus on the important challenge of converting distress to positive social contribution that people encounter in response to disasters. The workshop will share a range of methods suitable for the generalist upper primary or secondary teacher as well as for drama educators.  It will draw from and elaborate on learning activities housed in the open access social and emotional learning program developed by Helen Cahill and teamand advance the capabilities of teachers to lead classroom conversations in troubling times.

Helen Cahill is Professor of Student Wellbeing, and Director of the Youth Research Centre at the University of Melbourne. She had led development of resilience education across Australian schools and within developing countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. She uses a range of participatory and drama-based methods to advance the social and emotional learning of children and young people. Her recent work includes development of the Resilience Rights and Respectful Relationships program for Victorian schools. See

The Details

This professional learning workshop is free for teachers.

A certificate of participation referenced against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers will be provided.

studioFive, Level 5
Kwong Lee Dow Building,
234 Queensberry St
University Of Melbourne

Is essential! One registration per teacher attending. Please visit the link and complete the online form –

Registration closes 5pm Wednesday 18 March 2020
Download PDF


9:30am to 10:00am – Registration

10:00am to 10:15am – Welcome and introduction

10:15am to 12:15am  – Workshop 1 (presented by Professor Peter O’Connor)

12:15am to 12.45pm-  Short break (please note: this event is not catered)

12:45pm to 2:45pm – Workshop 2 (presented by Professor Helen Cahill)

2:45pm to 3:00pm – Debrief, reflection and questions

[Please note – if numbers are large, the group may be split into two and the workshops run twice, so that everyone has the best experience.]

For further information contact us at: