Sunderland project uses animation to tackle heartache

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A PROJECT which uses animation to tackle a range of issues is hoping to continue to grow.

Healing Education Animation Research Therapy (Heart), is based at the University of Sunderland and brings together experienced people from a wide range of backgrounds, who use animation to tackle a variety of physical, mental, emotional and educational issues.

They work in the region, as well as nationally and internationally.

Now, Heart has appointed its first board which combines both academic expertise, charity workers and local businesses.

To celebrate the founding of the new board, members had a cake made in the shape of Heart’s logo, a hummingbird.

Melanie Hani, founder and director of Heart, said: “The hummingbird represents harmony, peace, love and joy.

“It also symbolizes tireless energy. We believe this is a reflection of our Heart members and hopefully shows what we can pass on to participants.”

Heart’s board is made up of, Dr Tim Brennan, associate dean at the University of Sunderland, Carol Butler, manager of Barnardo’s, Alex Smiles, director of Alex Smiles Ltd, Elaine Drainville, co-founder of RuMAD and chairman of equality and diversity, senior lecturer John Tyrrell, Caroline Worsfold, chaplain at St Benedict’s Hospice, Martin Anderson, reverend of Sunderland Minster, retired civil servant Pam Howe and Dr Manny Ling, senior lecture in design at the University of Sunderland.

Melanie, who is head of post graduate studies in animation at the University of Sunderland, is also an award-winning animation therapist.

Her lifelong work in the field of animation therapy has led to many awards, not least for her work using animation to help children who are excluded from mainstream education, and the bereaved.

She said: “What has happened to these people is not what they are. We have to divorce the problems they face from the people they are and animation therapy helps get to the heart of who and what these people are.”

Heart aims to use animation therapeutically, working with a range of both business and charity clients, which include Northern Rock, Barnardos, the NSPCC, the National Science Board, the Minister of Education and the Police Federation.

Anyone who would like to find out more about Heart can visit, Twitter: @heart_animation, or email contactheart@animationtherapy.

Twitter: @SunEchoSchools