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Resilient artist: mental well-being lessons for performing artists

All first-year students in Dance, Drama and Music at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp will take a compulsory course on mental health starting this academic year. And that is much needed, because research shows that performing artists often struggle with psychological challenges.

Resilient artists' is the name of the brand-new course that aspiring performing artists will be offered from the new academic year onwards.

The course focuses mainly on the prevention of mental problems among students in Dance, Drama and Music. In fact, three years of interdisciplinary research at AP Hogeschool Antwerp have shown that performing artists in general are a psychologically vulnerable group. "They are often sensitive, perfectionist and identify very strongly with their artistic profession. This also makes them more vulnerable to setbacks such as a failed audition, negative feedback or a serious injury," according to Bart Michiels, researcher and lecturer in Applied Psychology at AP Hogeschool.

Together with colleague Michiels, Tessa Weyns developed the new course 'Resilient Artists'. "The Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp and AP Hogeschool want to take a clear pioneering role with the new course and put maximum effort into the mental well-being of students and performing artists." explains Weyns. "Students will receive scientifically based information on topics such as stress, fear of failure, and resilience. In addition, they will also get to work on their own with practical exercises and, if necessary, can quickly get in touch with internal or external help in an approachable way."