Frontiers refers to a threshold and a point of departure. It can be considered an entrance, a gateway and an inception into a widening territory. The Creative Arts Therapies and arts therapies offer opportunities for making with art, music, drama, dance and movement that extend into new therapeutic landscapes of expression.
The first all Ireland arts therapies convocation conference gathers Creative Arts Therapists and arts therapists together from Ireland and Northern Ireland for the purpose of showcasing best practice, contemporary research and the arts therapies in action.
A convocation is a celebratory gathering which honours achievement, dedication and the sharing of knowledge. In this context, a convocation heralds therapeutic innovations utilising the arts as beacons of communication, inspiration and vision.
Frontiers is a co-produced by the Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists, the British Association of Art Therapists, Crawford College of Art and Design @ Munster Technological University and Belfast School of Art @ Ulster University. It is also supported by the British Association of Dramatherapists, the British Association of Music Therapy and iCommunity Shared Practice Hub.
The conference is generously supported by Technological University Dublin, School of Art and Design.
LINEN BIENNALE 2023, Revive and Renew R-Space Gallery, Northern Ireland
“The Linen Biennale is a cultural festival that stimulates new thinking about Ireland’s oldest textile, linen. Rooted in heritage, the Linen Biennale forms a bridge to connect Northern Ireland’s internationally renowned linen heritage with contemporary uses.” Anthea McWilliams and Robert Martin, R-Space Gallery, Lisburn Northern Ireland
During the evening launch of the exhibition Connected Emotions by Jill Phillips art therapists Pamela Whitaker and Bridget Nugent facilitated self-care rituals with participants both individually and collectively. They enacted becoming in relation to the material (and fabric) of peoples’ lives. There were opportunities for personalised encounters, performative remedies and collective ceremony.
“Cloth is intimate, another skin, a boundary and a caress. It designates function and also entwines a story.”
MATERIALisation was supported by Belfast School of Art.
European Federation of Art Therapy Conference, June 2023
Art Academy of Latvia
Coalescence: Art Therapy and Material Culture
The word coalescence refers to the merging of materials to form new compositions. Its association with production contributes to the profession of art therapy by featuring the significance of material culture within both the theory and practice of art therapy. The term materialisation (the process of coming into being) was introduced in relation to art therapy’s contribution to contemporary material and visual culture scholarship related to textiles. Encouraging the inclusion of fabric and fibre arts within art therapy offers new ways of exploring stories as they are told not only through words, but through the rhythm of going in and out of strands of meaning.
Healing Through Photography Conference: Seeing Through a Different Lens
A conference examining the use of photography to support mental health.
Keynote: Challenging Health Outcomes Integrating Care Environments for Long Term Service Users of Mental Health
The Photo Voice research project at Belfast Exposed is a feature of CHOICE (Challenging Health Outcomes – Integrating Care Environments) which is a collaborative research project with people who are long term service users of mental health services co-produced with a community coalition of mental health advocates. The Photo Voice series has been initiated at Belfast Exposed with lived experience experts who are documenting their life experiences through photography and spoken narratives. Photo Voice is a form of visual storytelling and it has been utilised for health promotion and social empowerment. The overall aim of the research is to co-produce innovative arts-based approaches to tackle social exclusion and the reduction of health inequities. CHOICE is led by Professor Gerard Leavey, Director of the Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing at Ulster University.
The Art of Academic Writing, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge
Re-crafting books with mixed media materials, poetic interventions and textile applications encouraged novel approaches to the art of academic writing. The art of writing studio promoted the mixing and matching of words and images in relation to our own scholarly pursuits as both artists and writers. The workshop was organised in conjunction with the Rosemary Murray Library at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge.
A workshop for families who would like to learn more about organic gardening and how to cultivate biodiversity in their home gardens. Making nature is an opportunity to craft a family garden that is imaginative, ecological and makes nature a part of everyday family life. Family gardens are an outdoor studio where everyone’s nature has a place to be cultivated and tended. A family garden is a living art installation and a place to grow.
Our belongings may be comforting and reassuring or associated to clutter as a mélange of material miscellany. The bits and pieces of our lives are brought together as a form of storytelling. These items may be a combination of functional objects, bric-a-brac, heirlooms, trinkets, souvenirs, handmade artworks and the ephemera of possessions in general—no object is excluded, and all material contributions are welcome in the production of home. This is a case study of a joint teaching venture between the subject areas of ceramics and art psychotherapy at the Belfast School of Art, that situates making at home as a centrepiece for pedagogical practice.
The Walking Studio: The Art of Urban Exploration was a joint outreach and experiential art and urban design workshop led by Pamela Whitaker and Saul Golden (Ulster University, Northern Ireland). The event was composed of art and urban design methodologies involving walking conversations and techniques with members of the public on a tour of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter cultural district.
The walk offered participants an opportunity to explore art galleries and sites of urban art, aiming to imagine Belfast as a canvas for creative living. The event included critical observations and discussions about the inclusion, diversity and at-times appropriation of art in the built environment, and the impacts of art in the public realm on individual/collective wellbeing. Participants created portable artworks as part of their journey through activities curated in public spaces.