On June 3-4, 2011, Eileen McGann presented at Tallinn University, Estonia as part of their first “Creativity and Creative Arts Therapies in Education and Health Care” conference, sponsored by Tallinn University & Estonian Society of Creative Therapies.
With presenters from around the world, the conference was an exciting and uplifting experience. Dance, movement, music and art therapists spoke about their work in various modalities. The creative arts therapy program at Tallinn is relatively new, and the dynamic energy and enthusiasm were present in all that occurred.
The conference, presented in Estonian and English, focused on various approaches to treatment and the relationship between healthcare and education. I spoke about my work, Sanctuary in the Studio: Twenty five years of day treatment; discussing art as therapy approach to working with persons affected by trauma. The focus of the program at Tallinn is upon integration of all the arts therapies. After the more formal presentations, many people took part in spontaneous drumming, chanting and playing of instruments.
Beyond the walls of the university, Tallinn is a city rich in history, with Old Town being preserved as the medieval centre. The impact of previous Soviet occupation can be seen throughout the country where buildings are flat and dreary in contrast to the bright warmth of the Estonian people. The countryside is beautiful, rich in forest and set on the Baltic Sea. The people have strong connections to nature and love of their land and love of music.
Arriving in June, the ice had just melted from the Baltic a few weeks prior. The white nights were incredible with 22 hours of sunlight! Difficult to sleep, to say the least! Salmon, coffee and chocolate….so good…
Estonia and SVA have a connection going back to alumni Victoria Schultz Scotti from the class of 2005. This past year, faculty member Raquel Stephenson has been at Tallinn on Fulbright scholarship and the faculty and students at Tallinn graciously welcome more exchanges with SVA!