Kathleen Anne Connellan Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Kathleen Anne Connellan


I retired early from academia and now focus on art, music and writing. I have a creative therapy practice that situates creativity at the centre of healing. My publications cover many aspects of human struggle. For two decades I used my qualifications in art, art history and interior design to probe the injustices of marginalised groups which I published in the fields of design and mental health. It is my joy and privilege to devote more time to the practices of care through the arts.


I grew up in South Africa in the dark days of Apartheid and the injustices of that era shaped my social conscience for ever. A convent education and my deeply spiritual mother also helped me grasp the plight of a suffering humanity. As I grew into myself I developed a love for what art could do and say which led me to study it at university. I began with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, majoring in oil painting and the philosophy of art, followed by a Higher Diploma in Education so that I could teach. All the time there was a nagging need to develop my music education which I did in a less formal way. Later I completed an Honours’ degree in Art History and was introduced to feminism by some truly remarkable women. This paved the way for my future study in interior design and power relations in interior spaces. I subsequently completed both a Masters and a PhD in Interior Design.  I lectured art and design history and theory in both South Africa and Australia for almost 30 years and further shaped my professional and personal identity by training as an arts therapist.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Architecture and mental health; Domesticity; Art Therapy;

Personal Interests

    Art; Classical Music; Piano; Gardening; Walking on the beach and in nature; Spirituality.



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Dreaming, Healing and Imaginative Arts Practice - 1st Edition book cover


Home Cultures

My room, my home, my self: objects of memory in residential aged care

Published: Sep 08, 2019 by Home Cultures
Authors: Kathleen Connellan
Subjects: Built Environment

The material culture of home cannot be supplanted in its entirety when moving into an aged care facility. When the time comes, the decision of what to take and what to leave behind is not simple. This paper presents the balance between practical and emotional considerations in the choice and presence of personal objects in the rooms of residents.

Art Therapy Online ATOL

Senses of memory in dementia care: the transcendent subject

Published: Apr 24, 2018 by Art Therapy Online ATOL
Authors: Kathleen Connellan
Subjects: Gerontology, Art & Visual Culture

This article reflects upon sensory arts therapy processes and outcomes in an aged care home, with one case study as a focus. Theories of memory, sensory perception and technologies of care, throw light upon the transcendent subject.

Archives of Women's Mental Health

A systematic review of research on psychiatric mother baby units

Published: Mar 22, 2017 by Archives of Women's Mental Health
Authors: Kathleen Connellan; Clare Bartholomaeus; Clemence Due; Damien W. Riggs.

A systematic review of literature on MBUs between 2000 and 2015. Primary themes: (1) admissions data, (2) outcomes for mothers, and (3) programs and interventions. Secondary themes: (i) follow up after discharge; (ii) separation of mothers and babies after discharge; (iii) client satisfaction of MBU; and (iv) partners of women admitted to MBUs.

Communication Design Quarterly Review

Light lies: how glass speaks

Published: Aug 04, 2015 by Communication Design Quarterly Review
Authors: Kathleen Connellan; Damien W. Riggs; Clemence Due;
Subjects: Built Environment

Light illuminates but also reflects, and when the medium of glass is a dominant design material it communicates within the architectural space. In this paper we suggest that the transience of light and transparencies of glass posit a duplicity that is aesthetically seductive but communicatively misleading. Specifically, the central aim of the paper is to address where truth sits between reflections and reason in the glass surfaces of a mental health environment.

Organization Studies

The Psychic Life of White: power and space

Published: Aug 08, 2013 by Organization Studies
Authors: Kathleen Connellan
Subjects: Built Environment

This paper casts a net across spaces that are designed to be bland and identity-less. It posits that white is more than just a colour in design and that it is appropriated by organizations to spread sameness across public spaces. In this way, the article draws upon Foucauldian theories of power and organizational aesthetics in an effort to show that people become caught up in an institutionalization of space.

Health Environments Research and Design Journal (HERD)

Stressed Spaces: Mental Health and Architecture, a review of the literature

Published: Jul 01, 2013 by Health Environments Research and Design Journal (HERD)
Authors: KathleenConnellan; Mads Gaardboe; Damien W Riggs; Clemence Due; Amanda Reinschmidt; Lauren Mustillo.
Subjects: Built Environment

A comprehensive review of the research literature on the effects of the architectural designs of mental health facilities on the users. Key themes that emerged were nursing stations, light, therapeutic milieu, security, privacy, designing for the adolescent, forensic facilities, interior detail, patients’ rooms, art, dementia, model of care, gardens, post-occupancy evaluation, and user engagement in design process.