Art assists recovery

Published on SQNLDR Lindsay Paterson (author), CPL Oliver Carter (photographer)

Location(s): Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Royal Australian Navy sailor Petty Officer Glenn Hudson works on his visual arts project while participating in the Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills program. (photo: CPL Oliver Carter)
Royal Australian Navy sailor Petty Officer Glenn Hudson works on his visual arts project while participating in the Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills program.

Petty Officer Boatswain Glenn Hudson is currently involved in an innovative arts program being conducted by the Australian Defence Force, the arts for recovery, resilience, teamwork and skills (ARRTS) program.

Petty Officer Hudson or ‘Rock’, as he is often known, attended Iyrimple Technical, in Mildura, and formed an interest in the Navy from an early age joining the Mildura Naval Cadets. Continuing with his interest in the Navy he joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1997 as a boatswain. 

“I love the variety of work. There is always something different and challenging around the corner,” he said.

Like many other Navy personnel he has been involved in his fair share of operational deployments including a couple of deployments to Operation SLIPPER and Operation SUMATRA ASSIST I and II.

“The most memorable moment for me as part of SUMATRA ASSIST was when I was involved with the recovery operation following the tragic crashing of the helicopter (Shark 02) which crashed on Nias in 2005.

“We worked well together as a team and all pulled together. We became very close.”

Petty Officer Hudson has been dealing with depression and anxiety but he has found an outlet through the program. 

“The group really bonded and we took care of each other. Lifelong friendships have been developed and formed.”

Petty Officer Hudson decided to volunteer to take part in the program because he wanted to do something new and challenging and he hoped it would assist him with his recovery process.

Launched at the beginning of May, Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills aims to improve confidence, well-being and resilience by demonstrating to participants that they are capable of learning new skills and able to adapt to different environments.

The program has been structured around the participants and the mentors have been chosen because of their expertise in their field. 

“We are a group of like-minded people and we get on so well together. There is a real sense of belonging…of family. It’s very reassuring and comforting.”

“I chose the visual arts stream. I have produced art work that I never thought I was capable of. I have used and been introduced to some amazing mediums and I will certainly be continuing on with these activities…in particular air brushing.”

As part of the program, participants are encouraged to learn a new set of skills in an unthreatening and fun environment.  Experts in four artistic streams offer skill training that is non-competitive, supportive and adapted to individual needs. Participants gain a sense of accomplishment and grow in confidence as they achieve, and sometimes exceed, both personal and group goals.  The other potential benefit to participants is an improved ability to communicate with their families, their mates and the community. 

“Doing the ARRTS program has opened new doors for me. It is always refreshing to meet new people and to challenge myself outside of my normal work parameters,” Petty Officer Hudson said.