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Faculty of Health research project finds creative culmination in Nocturne 2023 exhibit

Posted by Josey Houle, Dal Health freelance writer on December 8, 2023 in News
The exhibit was completed in collaboration with visual artist Nicole Leroy. Submitted photos
The exhibit was completed in collaboration with visual artist Nicole Leroy. Submitted photos

On October 14, the Everyday Moments of Leisure research project was transformed into the interactive ‘Even if just for a minute…’ exhibit for Nocturne spectators to enjoy in front of the World Tea House. Nocturne is an annual visual arts festival that has taken place across Halifax since 2008.

Led by Dr. Karen Gallant, associate professor and division head of Recreation and Leisure Studies in the School of Health and Human Performance, the Everyday Moments of Leisure research project explores how everyday moments of leisure fit into our day-to-day lives. The on-going project is a collaboration between Dalhousie University, the University of Waterloo, and Brock University. The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

“The idea of everyday moments of leisure is that as people engage in their everyday lives, they have these juncture points where they pause, and they direct their attention to something that for them, is enjoyable, pleasurable, meaningful, for a short period of time,” Dr. Gallant says.

The ‘Even if just for a minute…’ exhibit encapsulates the various meanings that everyday moments of leisure hold in project participants’ lives. Visual artist Nicole Leroy conceptualized the exhibit before taking on the role of Lead Artist. The exhibit consists of five life-size models of everyday spaces where project participants described enjoying everyday moments of leisure experiences. Project participants’ quotes are inscribed upon the models.

“The exhibit makes ideas from our research more creative, more accessible, in a wonderfully interactive way,” says Dr. Heidi Lauckner, assistant professor in the School of Occupational Therapy and project researcher.

The exhibit includes a kitchen table with tea and coffee items, such as coffee and tea pots that are warm to the touch, a bathroom sink and a mirror, a green space with flowers, rocks, and other plants, a window complete with binoculars on the windowsill, and a desk with various objects including a telephone, a magnifying glass, and a bottle of sea glass.

“The everyday moments of leisure they are looking at are also everyday moments of amazement, awe, and appreciation,” says Randy, exhibit spectator.

Dr. Gallant explains that project participants’ observations regarding the roles of place and pleasurable sensory experiences in everyday moments of leisure were foundational to the exhibit’s development. With the support of World Tea House, Dr. Gallant’s project team offered seasonal tea samples to spectators to contribute to their sensory experiences of the exhibit.

The project team hopes the exhibit inspires spectators to consider the meaning of everyday moments of leisure in their everyday lives. Dr. Gallant explains that while some people interpret everyday moments of leisure as opportunities to reset during their day, others view them as chances to find inner peace, connect with others, have fun, escape from reality, or reflect upon past experiences.

Dr. Gallant is excited to use arts-based collection and research dissemination methods in research projects whenever she can. She explains that arts-based methods are consistent with her values as a leisure and recreation scholar.

“There is a growing awareness of the importance of presenting your work to and making your work accessible to different audiences. Arts-based dissemination helps us achieve that” she says.