Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care

June 23, 2013

The last couple of days I’ve been teaching a workshop at Ursuline College with the Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling Program focused on advocacy, empowerment, and the intersection of social action with trauma informed care through art-making.

Students were introduced to how creative expression through art therapy helps provide a safe place & voice for women & youth survivors of domestic violence, families living with homelessness, as well as the role of art-making for empowerment, peacemaking, craftivism and social action.

In addition to presenting about my art therapy work, the workshop’s content also included students learning about A Window Between World’s #icanwecan crowdsourcing campaign to create awareness and show support through art for ending violence and abuse against women. Students created their own pledge hands with messages of advocacy and empowerment inspired by this project, a population or cause in mental health they want to help empower.

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care | creativity in motion

Pledge Hands of Empowerment & Advocacy

Students were also able to Skype with Drew & Margaret of Peace Paper to learn more about their current activities and projects using papermaking for transformation, trauma intervention, and empowerment, including Panty Pulping, working with survivors of domestic violence, military sexual trauma, and mental health advocacy.

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care | creativity in motion

Peace Paper Project speaks to the class

Peacemaking through art was addressed through also presenting my group work with youth to explore concepts related to bullying, how to become a peacemaker, and art’s role in exploring conflict resolution.  Students also were introduced to Franck de las MercedesPriority Boxes Art Project and its role in activating messages of hope, love, and peace through art.

Our workshop ended with exploring the inspiring world of craftivism and Operative recruiting for Operation Sock Monkey and an upcoming mission for Russian children in orphanages and hospitals…we’ll be sending a delegation!

Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care | creativity in motion

OSM mission accepted!

If you’re interested in learning more about these topics, here are some helpful resources to check out:

It was great to spend these two days sharing my work and exploring these topics & projects with this group of graduate students. I look forward to reading and learning how each of the students incorporate the ideas and information presented in their assignments and future experiences!

Related Posts:

On the Go: Change, Transformation & Action through Art

Peace Begins with Me: Creating Peacemakers through Creativity

Survivor’s Hand: Finding Safety through Art #ICANWECAN

Peacemaking and DIY Papermaking

INOCENTE: A Young Girl’s Story of Homelessness and the Transformative Power of Art

Special Delivery- The Priority Mail Art Project

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4 Responses to “Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care”

  1. Lani Says:

    Wow! So much material here… It’s breathtakingly inspiring!


  2. Another reason to be so very proud of our daughter!!! (from Gretchen’s mom)

  3. theresazip Says:

    Thanks for including the references- that article by Michael Franklin was awesome!

  4. Hannah Says:

    Gretchen, This post is jam packed with good information. I would love it if you could give a class out here in the West on these topics. In the meantime, your resources will be well used!


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