Processing Emotions and Memorising Coursework through Memory Drawing

Processing Emotions and Memorising Coursework

Ways in which drawings facilitate memory function are presented in the lecture. Examples are taken which are derived from a qualitative case study which shows the way in which memory drawings can be applied simultaneously for both therapy and coursework learning. A quantitative study is discussed which revealed that children generally recall drawn images five times better than written words, nine weeks after originally participating in the study. Lecture participants are invited to partake in a simple drawing- and writing exercise which provides insight into various memorization aids and how they work. Moreover, the exercise offers a window into how the research was carried out and how drawing improves memory retention.

The lecture contextualizes memory drawings in terms of the theories of art therapy, psychotherapy, teaching and educational psychotherapy. The means by which memory drawings can bring sensitive and complex emotions to the surface is reviewed, as well as how these emotions can be processed through art making. The importance of art therapy methods and theories is discussed, particularly in relation to providing emotional support for the individual engaged in creating memory drawings.


"I enjoyed your Keynote presentation at the Nordic Art Therapies Conference and think that the memory drawing research that you are doing is very interesting and relevant. When I got home I read your article in the AATA journal.”

Lisa D. Hinz, PhD, ATR-BC

Feedback from participants at the American Art Therapy Association Conference lecture 2019.

  • Informative!
  • One of the best research presentations that was easy to translate into practice.
  • Good to participate in the material.
  • This workshop was one of my favorites of the day, the presenter was knowledgeable and her session was extremely thought provoking and interesting.
  • The exercise we participated in to experience the potential benefits of imagery to enhance memory was intriguing and thought-provoking.
  • Very interesting research and well presented. The experiential aspect helped to elevate the significance of this study as well as illustrate the double role of art therapy & education.
  • Materials from Unnur's session will be helpful to me in my practice. Appreciated her novel approach.
  • Great information & examples.
  • Extremely interesting, loved this presentation. Great job.

Lecture held before

2019 Processing Emotions and Memorising Coursework through Memory Drawing. The American Art Therapy Association Conference. Celebrating 50 Years of Healing Through Art. Kansas City, MO.

2019 Processing Emotions and Memorising Coursework through Memory Drawing. The International Practice/Research Conference. Queen Mary’s University, London.

2018 Research on Processing Emotions through Memory Drawing. Open public lecture at University of Goldsmiths, London.

2018 Processing Emotions and Memorising Coursework through Memory Drawing. Four open public lectures at the Reykjavik Academy, Reykjavik.

2018 Processing Emotions and Memorising Coursework through Memory Drawing. Keynote speaker, 20th Nordic Art Therapies Conference, Hveragerdi, Iceland.

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