transformative practice

Leah Gipson | Artist, Educator, Art Therapist


 

Art Therapy Digital Archive - A Cultural Timeline

Collaboration Method

The Art Therapy Digital Archive is a collaborative educational tool for art therapy professionals, students, and consumers. The purpose of the project is to create a dynamic historical timeline of events that are important to understanding an emerging social justice framework in the profession. This does not mean the timeline will ignore art therapy history that has been informed by dominant professional ideas. Instead, the co-authors should aim to develop honest and critical reflections based on evidence that does not fit into a tidy narrative of collective progress towards a social justice orientation in the field.

Collaborators may use this project to document people and events outside or on the edge of the profession or from a wider context. The goal of this timeline project is to foster an accessible, digital learning community, in which engaging historiography (our stories about history) is essential to the development of art therapists. The process of investigating our cultural knowledge and interpretations of historical people, institutions, and events is intended to support educational training and development of critical consciousness among students, supervisors, educators, and leaders in field. 

Possible Learning Objectives

  • Investigate the role of myth in public memory.

  • Explore the cultural politics of identity in relationship to public memory, trauma, and institutional responses.

  • Identify dynamics of power and privilege in "who benefits" from dominant historical narratives.

  • Understand the influences of our social locations in hearing and retelling stories.

  • Consider historical narratives of violence and trauma and the cultural contexts of public and private art.

  • Understand the ways historiography (history about history) shapes our identities and capacities for empathy.


Interpretive Themes

To frame the interpretive concepts for the timeline, I have selected two shifting paradigms within the field of art therapy - trauma and pathology. Art therapy professionals who are moving towards a social justice orientation are posing new ethical questions and inviting a radical restructuring of the ways art therapist understand individual trauma and individual pathology. Using the the timeline, collaborators can begin to recognize values about how stories are remembered, forgotten, ignored, retold, or commemorated events. My questions address the cultural identities of the profession itself.   I propose these ideas with the following questions for collaborators to use as a guide in choosing historical entries for the timeline. 

TRAUMA THEME
What roles have collective trauma narratives in history played in shaping racial, ethnic, national and class identities in the United States? 
Entry Examples: War, Economic Crisis, Environmental Disaster, Health Crisis,  Mass Violence, Gender Violence

 



What political, cultural, and counter cultural innovations have emerged in history in response to collective trauma narratives? Entry Examples:  Art Forms/Content, Group Action, Policies/Laws, Institutions/Systems, Sources of Knowledge Production/Communication (i.e., Research, Texts, Publications, Film/TV, Professions,) Technology, Architectural and Urban Design


How has pedagogical discourse in art therapy articulated collective trauma narratives? 
Entry Examples: Education, Theory, Practice, Scholarship, Professional Actions/Events, Professional and Institutional Partnerships, Governmental Affairs, Art

PATHOLOGY THEME
What roles have historical narratives about normality and pathology played in creating group identities (groups granted or denied social agency and access?)
Entry Examples: Sources of Knowledge Production/ Communication (i.e, Religion, Standardization,  Texts, Research, Representation, Rhetoric, Institutions)

What political, cultural, and counter cultural innovations have emerged in history in response to collective normality/pathology narratives? Entry Examples:  Art Forms/Content, Group Action, Policies/Laws, Institutions/Systems, Sources of Knowledge Production/Communication (i.e., Research, Texts, Publications, Film/TV, Professions,) Technology, Architectural and Urban Design

 

How has pedagogical discourse in art therapy articulated pathology narratives? 
Entry Examples: Education, Theory, Practice, Scholarship, Professional Actions/Events, Professional and Institutional Partnerships, Governmental Affairs, Art


Example: In this timeline, entries are organized using the theme of pathology to understand ideas about gender

Example: In this timeline, entries are organized using the theme of trauma to understand the role of myth, memory and identity

View the timeline collaboration by SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) Art Therapy Graduate Students - Fall 2018 HISTORY AND THEORY IN ART THERAPY taught by Savneet Talwar, Ph.D.

COMING SOON.

View the timeline collaboration by CAFA (China Central Academy of Fine Arts) “Future Unknown Global Education Plan” MFA and BFA students - Fall 2018 INTRODUCTION TO ART THERAPY taught by Leah Gipson with student teaching assistants Yunyuan Shi, Xiaodai Huang, and Xuanxi Ge.

COMING SOON.

 Copyright 2013 Leah Gipson