Interdisciplinary work

Victoria Armstrong, Art Psychotherapist
Holly Rumble, PhD candidate

I have an established collaboration with art therapist Victoria Gray Armstrong. Vicky joined the lab as a PhD student in 2018, funded by a competitive University of Dundee School of Social Sciences studentship. In the same year practicing artist and art gallery educator Holly Rumble joined the lab on a Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences Collaborative studentship. Together, we are interested in developing an interdisciplinary approach to explore the social impact of early years art, and you can find our more here at our ‘Art at the Start’ webpage.

This exciting project embeds a research team within Dundee Contemporary Arts, in order to study the impact that art participation has upon the social well-being of young children and how shared art experiences may help to build strong attachment relationships. We hope this will have a real impact on the community in which the research is embedded. You can read more about our pilot work here: Gray-Armstrong, V., Dalinkeviciute, E. & Ross, J. (2019). A Dyadic Art Psychotherapy Group for Parents and Infants – Piloting Quantitative Methodologies for Evaluation. International Journal of Art Therapy. There is a growing evidence pool for the efficacy of early years arts interventions which you can read about here: Armstrong, V.G. & Ross, J. (2020). The evidence base for art therapy with parent and infant dyads: A systematic literature review. International Journal of Art Therapy, .

Most recently, we have been delighted to benefit from funds from the University’s public engagement seed fund to provide arts based interventions to isolated families during the Covid 19 pandemic. Click here to see our art boxes, and read more about how they were received here: Armstrong, V.G. & Ross, J. (2021). Art boxes supporting parents and infants to share creative interactions at home: an art based response to improve wellbeing during Covid-19 restrictions. Public Health,

I also collaborate with psycholinguist Dr. Alissa Melinger . Our first collaborative project investigated the cognitive implications of speaking two dialects. The project received start up funding from a Nuffleld Social Sciences grant in 2011 (Nuffield Social Sciences Small Grant, £14,045, “Growing up Scottish: The cognitive implications of speaking two regional dialects of English”). Supported by a comprehensive review of previous developmental literature, the resulting paper challenged the claim that childhood bilingualism comes with a robust inhibition advantage. For further detail see Ross, J. & Melinger, A. (2016).Bilingual advantage, bidialectal advantage or neither?: Comparing performance across three tests of executive function in middle childhood. Developmental Science, doi: 10.1111/desc.12405. Alissa and I are currently working on a new project exploring the idea that in bicultural situations switching between dialects or languages might entail switching perspectives on self.

From 2013 to 2016 I was an external project partner on CogNovo, a £4 million European Commission Marie Curie doctoral training network grant based at the University of Plymouth. In addition to providing cohort training on the early measurement of executive function, I contributed to a multidisciplinary project exploring the role of individual differences in switching rates in multistable perception in children. You will soon be able to read more here: Taranu, M, Wimmer, M.C., Ross, J., Farkas, D., Van Ee, R., Winkler, I., &. Denham, S. (In press). Children’s perception of visual and auditory ambiguity and its link to executive function and creativity. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.