SVA students began the exchange program in Cork, Ireland on Monday with a warm welcome from the Crawford Art and Design College of Cork Institute (CCAD). The program began with a lecture by Marianne Adams, an art therapist practicing in West Cork. Marianne presented on a chapter she wrote for an edited book, titled “Keeper of the Hearth.” This chapter explores ancient Irish culture in the context of a case study. Marianne’s lecture enlivened the spiritual and cultural history of her country through the lens of Melanie Klein’s object relations theory. The presentation was rich in metaphor and centered around the significance of the hearth as a symbol of the home and inner fire in Irish culture. Traditionally peat from the earth is used to feed the hearth’s flame; Marianne explained this practice as “literally burning history” and used that concept to refer to an archaeology of the self. This idea was important in her case study to explore the many layers of personal history that may be displayed in working with a client. These metaphors and symbols were a lovely way for SVA students to begin to understand Irish culture.
The lecture provided the catalyst for a workshop facilitated by Marianne. Students were invited into the studio of CCAD to reflect on themes that arose in the preceding lecture via art-making. Marianne allowed students space to explore their own layers of personal history related to different states of being, while gently guiding the experience to provide comfort. Artwork ranged from paintings, to collage and three-dimensional work. The workshop felt genuine and insightful, as the SVA group was able to experience themselves in a novel context through a new lens.
Text by Jenny Asaro (Class of 2019); Photos by Art Therapy Department