« Older Entries

Josée Leclerc – Response-Art as a Reflective Inquiry: Raising Awareness of Racism (ASI 2015)

Response-Art as a Reflective Inquiry: Raising Awareness of Racism
Josée Leclerc, PhD, ATR-BC, ATPQ, Concordia University

Images produced in the context of genocides and other traumatic circumstances are powerful testimony to the preservation of the creative drive in the face of environments of permanent threat and human destruction. Yet they also present a powerful emotional charge that complexifies their reception. The images typically engender one of two possible categories of effects in the viewer: emotional overload that generates excessive identification with the subject of representation, or emotional distancing that inhibits affective reaction. Both perturb the ability to think, compromising the effort to remember that every genocide requires from us. Keen to avoid these compromises, this presenter has developed a unique approach employing response-art as a research tool to increase participants’ awareness of the challenges faced in considering what exactly it is to which the images bear witness. These challenges include what Davids (2011) calls internal racism. This presentation will summarize preliminary research results derived from a series of workshops held in Montreal, Paris and Cambridge, UK. Phenomenological analysis of the data will be used to provide a portrait of participants’ lived experience during the workshops and post-workshop individual interviews.

Panel: Art and Therapeutic Process (ASI 2015)

Panel Participants:

Jaswant Guzder, McGill University
Ian Gold, McGill University
Gilah Yelin Hirsch, California State University Dominguez Hills
Cécile Rousseau, McGill University
Eric Lewis, McGill University

Chair: Laurence Kirmayer, McGill University

Vitor Pordeus – “Madness, yet there’s method in it”: For a New Biology for Mental Health (ASI 2015)

“Madness, yet there’s method in it”: For a New Biology for Mental Health
Vitor Pordeus, People’s University for Art and Science, Rio de Janeiro

Presentation of the 5 year experience of the Centre for Culture, Science and Health – Public Health Office of Rio de Janeiro City, the DyoNises Theatre, the Hotel and Spa of Madness and the People’s University for Art and Science developed in the oldest Brazilian Psychiatric Hospital, the Nise da Silveira Mental Health Institute, formerly know as Pedro II Psychiatric Centre. The hospital was named in year 2000 after the famous revolutionary Brazilian woman psychiatrist Nise da Silveira pioneered the field of art and psychiatry founding the Museum of Images of the Unconscious in 1946. It today counts with a technical archive of more than 350 thousand artworks amongst paintings, drawings, sculptures of chronic psychosis schizophrenic patients that fundament and inspire the present
experience developed mainly through the application of Dr. Nise’s scientific principles on public theatre performed with the communities of the Hospital and Rio de Janeiro’s public spaces. Our therapeutic experience relies on the theatrical collaborative methods and the production of short and long documentary films, that will be exhibited during the presentation with special attention to the last movie produced by our artistic collective: our 2014 theatrical production “Hamlet, madness yet there’s method in it”. These experiences will be put into context of the contemporary scientific revolution of biology considering the experimental and scientific work of the Brazilian immunologist Nelson Vaz and the Chilean biologist Humberto Maturana, former tutors and personal collaborators of the author.

Jacques Arpin – Body and Performance in Theater Anthropology and other Art Forms (ASI 2015)

Body and Performance in Theater Anthropology and other Art Forms: Clinical Applications in
Cultural Psychiatry
Jacques Arpin, Geneva

What can I, a healer, learn from the arts, traditions and techniques? How can I apply such learning to my clinical work in medical anthropology and cultural psychiatry? I put “body” at the centre of the crossroads of health, culture and performance. The latter concerns all art forms relevant to the narration and the dramaturgy of patients’ case-history making. It is also helpful in the elaboration of various forms of therapies, including somatic medicine. We can thus improve and develop these medical actions with methodologies borrowed from the arts: learning, training, practicing, performing and transmitting. Theater anthropology is the study of the performer in a situation of performance. It considers traditions and techniques; the body as a vehicle, the body as a tool. Through exercises and training methods, this body will eventually produce narrative elements and express segments of stories. These I can then edit, using methods of montage, to finally make sense of the whole dramaturgy. There is a montage of the director and a montage of the actor, both of which will, at one point, be confronted with the montage of the spectator. Applications to our fields of professional actions are convenient and useful. The patient/healer work parallels that of the actor/director interactive strategies and methods. The healer, here the cultural psychiatrist, becomes the director of the patient’s dramaturgy, as expressed in the case-history making and in the course of the psychotherapy. The same can apply to the clinical situations seen in surgery, internal medicine et al. Theater anthropology and the performance studies have developed active networks, the International School of Theater Anthropology (ISTA) and the Performance Studies international (PSi), comparable to our own SSPC, TS and WACP. My Masters of Their Conditions project began 30 years ago. Three stepping-stone articles have been
published in TP. The focus is on the body in its clinical, cultural and performing forms: (1) the performance of health, illness and care – introducing theater anthropology; (2) narration in intercultural theater and the visual arts – bringing patients on stage; (3) the actor’s score and its applications to the patient’s score – a collaboration with actors of the Odin Teatret, founded by Eugenio Barba who also created ISTA. I am currently working on the next stage of the project: body modifications in the era of the new media (Internet, communication, technologies of the image).

Stephen Snow – Ethnodramatherapy: Performance Ethnography Combined with Drama Therapy in… (ASI 2015)

Ethnodramatherapy: Performance Ethnography Combined with Drama Therapy in the Framework of Theatrical Performance
Stephen Snow, Concordia University

Ethnodramatherapy is a new methodology that integrates the art of theatre with Drama Therapy, all within the methodological context of Performance Ethnography. The latter has its roots in the groundbreaking “Performing Ethnography” work of Victor Turner. Mienczakowski, who further developed this work into his own method, “Ethnodrama,” speaks of how Turner influenced him to combine “the aesthetic assumptions of performance and the methodological and theoretical ambitions of research.” What I have added to this mix are the clinical interventions of Drama Therapy. In this way, the approach can also encompass therapeutic goals and outcomes. This presentation will explore the application of Ethnodramatherapy through case studies with marginalized populations: (1) female
adolescents under youth protection in regards to self and social perception; (2) the exploration of intimacy and sexuality in the lives of adults with developmental disabilities: (3) the lived experience of caregivers for the mentally ill. Slides and video clips will be used.

Cécile Rousseau – Giving a Voice? Art, Exclusion and Caring Illusions (ASI 2015)

Giving a Voice? Art, Exclusion and Caring Illusions
Cécile Rousseau, Caroline Beauregard, Marie-France Gauthier, Anousheh Machouf & Tomas Sierra

In immigrant neighbourhoods, immigrant and refugee youth who attend special classes because of learning and behavioural difficulties, suffer from a double exclusion linked to their minority status and to their academic delay. This presentation will describe the implementation and the results of a randomized control trial to evaluate the efficacy of drama workshops to reduce the symptoms and impairment of youth in 30 special classes in Montréal. During the intervention, the structural violence and the hurt associated with exclusion were enacted by the youth and shattered the team and the teachers’ sense of safety. Although the results showed that the drama intervention was beneficial for first generation immigrants, they also suggested that the availability of an expression space may have reactivated feelings of impotence and anger associated with the life experience of second generation youth. These observations confirm the powerful role of art in the face of social exclusion, and suggest that in situations where impotence dominates and possibilities of transformation are slim, artistic expression may be considered as a doubled-edged sword.

Ian Gold & Eric Lewis – Improvising Intersubjectivity: Trust, Paranoia, and Theory of Mind (ASI 2015)

Improvising Intersubjectivity: Trust, Paranoia, and Theory of Mind
Ian Gold & Eric Lewis, McGill University

The new field of Improvisation Studies theorizes the improvisative, particularly collective improvisation, as a potent site for identity formation, community building, intersubjective dialogue, and the real-time negotiation of self and other. Improvising ensembles form bonds of trust, and mediate sonically aspects of their selfhood to others, while receiving such information in return. The powerful social underpinnings of improvisation have led theorists to talk of the curative powers of improvisation, but a systematic investigation of its therapeutic potential has not yet been undertaken. In this paper we explore the capacities of improvisation to build social bonds and argue for its therapeutic potential.

Jaswant Guzder – Art and the Person of the Therapist (ASI 2015)

Art and the Person of the Therapist
Jaswant Guzder, McGill University

The presentation will include my paintings and drawings in multiple media, including canvas, paper and handmade books done in parallel to a career as a therapist. These works come from a personal healing space or a temenos that allows unfettered access to inner worlds that emerge to be reworked or to be expressed in ways that remain ‘unprocessed’. The process of art making is as temporary or “in the moment” as the process of deep listening in my role as a therapist. This world of art making is for me an inner healing essential to my capacity as a therapist. My psychoanalyst colleague from India, Sudhir Kakar has said that creativity “offers a haven from the storms of emotional life and the swirling of subterranean passions”. My identity is formed of many dissonant experiences, cultural worlds and incompatible ideas that never seem achieve any resolution but rather coexist in a disarray of balances and imbalances, melancholic periods and productive integrations, which are reflected in my art making
as an experience. The energy or compulsion to make drawings has always been with me and pervades my being. Perhaps, the bicultural realities of my life have generated this drive, reflected as much in my note taking during lectures as in the times where I am immersed only in the art making. The making of art is also a struggle to experience moments of lucidity, a way to find some center of gravity within myself. The clinical experience of therapy leaves so much that is felt yet remains unthought, including deeply shared traumatic “noise”. My life as a painter has helped me to shift from that felt unthought into a creative transitional space that contains contradictions without resolution in thinking.

Gilah Yelin Hirsch – Reflections on Art as a Healing Process (ASI 2015)

Reflections on Art as a Healing Process
Gilah Yelin Hirsch, California State University Dominguez Hills

This presentation will focus on imagery as a vehicle for physical and emotional healing. I will describe the way my work has evolved over an extended period of time, blending science and art to reveal relationships between form in nature, form in human physiology and behavior, as well as the forms that are present universally in all alphabets. Drawing from years of solitary wilderness sojourns, as well as experience in diverse world cultures, including Tibetan Tantric visualization and Kabbalah, I will address the ways that the work seems to give access to the hardwired wisdom of the body as the repository of intuition and intrinsic knowledge – leading toward health and behavior benefiting the greater good.

Gilah Yelin Hirsch, BA, MFA, is a painter, writer, theorist, filmmaker, lecturer and Professor of Art at California State University, Dominguez Hills (Los Angeles). She works in a multidisciplinary manner including art, design, anthropology, architecture, theology, philosophy, psychology, psychoneuroimmunology and world culture. An internationally exhibiting artist in over 200 exhibitions since 1968, Hirsch’s paintings have been acquired by many major public and private collections, including the Skirball Museum, Los Angeles; Alexander Braun Collection, Budapest; Bank of America National Banks; and the University of California Medical Arts Collection, Los Angeles. Hirsch’s work has been reviewed extensively worldwide, has appeared on covers and within dozens of international
publications, including articles on her work, Hirsch’s own articles and theoretical papers have been published in scholarly journals including Leonardo (MIT press). She recently authored the book Demonic to Divine: The Double Life of Shulamis Yelin (Vehicule Press). Her film Cosmography: The Writing of the Universe is an investigation into the relation between origin of alphabet, pattern in nature and the neurology of perception and cognition. Her current film, Reading the Landscape, brings these concepts to children of all ages in sixteen languages and cultures. Hirsch’s more than 150 awards, honors, grants, fellowships and residencies include the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine’s (ISSSEEM) Alyce and Elmer Green Award for her “innovative
blending of science and art” and an award from US National Endowment for the Arts. Hirsch’s awards and residencies include the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine’s (ISSSEEM) Alyce and Elmer Green Award for her “innovative blending of science and art”; US National Endowment for the Arts; CLASS Foundation, CO; Banff Center for the Arts, Canada; MacDowell Colony, NH; Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio, Italy; Tyrone Guthrie Center for the Arts, Ireland; St. Martin’s School of Art, London, England; Rim Institute, AZ., Morris Graves Foundation; Songambele Arts Festival, Kenya.

Laurence Kirmayer – Art, Identity and Community: Toward a Poetics of Illness and Healing (ASI 2015)

Art, Identity and Community: Toward a Poetics of Illness and Healing
Laurence Kirmayer, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University

Art plays a unique role in human experience both as an individual and a social mode of expression and communal activity. All societies have traditions of fashioning objects, language, and performance in ways that serve to transmit culture, explore the world, entertain, and edify. Active engagement with the arts can transform suffering, give meaning to affliction, and support recovery. This conference will bring together artists, scholars, researchers, and professionals involved in mental health to discuss the role of the arts in cultural psychiatry. Art can be used to build and express individual and collective identity, as a creative process that yields new ways of experiencing the world, as a social and political intervention to critique or challenge existing frameworks, and as a modality for therapeutic interventions. Sessions will explore topics related to several broad themes:
1. the nature of creative artistic and aesthetic processes of invention, enactment and improvisation;
2. the role of the arts in constructing and expressing individual and collective identities—especially, public, social or political uses of art to raise awareness and challenge marginality and oppression;
3. the arts as media for articulating, understanding and coping with the experience of mental health and illness;
4. art making as a creative medium for individual therapeutic exploration, growth, and transformation and for collective conflict resolution and mental health promotion.

To view the video of Jon Henrik Fjällgren’s perfomance on Sweden’s Got Talent, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQqwiG-lLOI

« Older Entries
Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.