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Friday, June 9 • 2:20pm - 2:30pm
Healing-centered art and design: a practice for personal and collective transformation

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Making contact with personal and collective intergenerational trauma is inevitable for students and facilitators of social change. Trauma, as Prentis Hemphill writes, is a “relational injury. Which explains why, after, we might try to make home in isolation… [and] protect ourselves from knowing each other and being known. Intimacy is connection at the point of vulnerability.”

What opportunities for intimacy with oneself and others does collective art and design initiatives centering healing offer? Can connection at the point of vulnerability be the antidote to the loneliness of trauma? This presentation seeks to reflect on these very questions through the founding of a mental health and healing justice organization I initiated in 2017.

Drawing inspiration from Shawn Ginwright, this presentation embraces a healing-centered over a trauma-informed approach. Through this lens, trauma is seen as a collective experience that requires holistic methods involving culture, spirituality, civic action, and healing for oneself and others. This distinction aims to acknowledge that trauma-informed approaches often focus more on one’s injury, leading to clinical and individualized forms of symptom management. By embracing a healing centered approach to collective art and design, this presentation calls for strength-based methods that foster:
  • Connection: A practice of creating spaces for interdependent ways of making and being vulnerable with oneself and others. Through connection, we enact mutual forms of witnessing, listening, and affirming each other's growth as we learn and unlearn together.
  • Care: A practice that requires discerning and negotiating individual needs alongside the needs of others. Through care, we better understand how to show up for our needs and others.
  • Courage: A practice of disrupting norms, sharing personal truths, audaciously dreaming of the impossible, and manifesting self-determine visions in spite of doubt and fear. Through courage, we can cultivate hope and work with uncertainty.
  • Collaboration: A practice of uplifting the unique wisdom and gifts inherent in every living being by sharing decision-making power. Through collaboration, we make space for multiple perspectives, experiences, and truths to better understand ourselves and others.

avatar for Andrea Ngan

Andrea Ngan

Founding Director and Co-Organizer, Creative Resilience Collective
Andrea Ngan (she/her) is a design strategist, researcher, facilitator, and media artist. Her practices nurture community-led social change initiatives. For over 12 years, Andrea has passionately organized community-based art and social justice programs serving youth. She is the director... Read More →

Friday June 9, 2023 2:20pm - 2:30pm EDT
PS 308 (Design Center)