The exchange between SVA and Crawford College of Art and Design (CCAD) of Cork Institute came to an end this week. On Monday SVA students visited Cork University Hospital where art therapist Angela Carrazza facilitated a studio visit. Angela explained her therapeutic approach and experience with the inpatient mental health population, detailing her open studio process and phenomenological practices. Later that day lecturer Catherine Phillips facilitated a workshop focused on reflexivity. Catherine encouraged students to look at their processes of self-reflection through art-making; an idea that seems to be a core component of the art therapy program at CCAD. SVA students used this workshop to gain a greater understanding of the art therapy training at CCAD, as well as a means to process the exchange experience.
On Tuesday, the final day of the exchange, students attended a lecture by art therapist Mary Bergin. Mary shared her theoretical approach and case vignettes to describe her work with children coping with separation of their parents. Mary’s trauma informed and client centered approach seemed to resonate with the training of SVA students. In closing Louise Foott, head of the Arts and Health in Education department of CCAD, facilitated a final workshop for SVA students. Louise led students in art-making to express what they had learned from the exchange. The visual feedback included a greater knowledge of Irish culture, a new understanding of deeply creative training of art therapy at CCAD as well as personal knowledge for participating students. The workshop ended with a group experiential using natural materials. This offered students a chance to reflect on the recent experience while embodying Ireland’s reveraence and appreciation for the natural environment, a theme which was apparent throughout the exchange. Students joined on one page, drawing with sand and other materials in a peaceful session that felt apt for closure. Overall this exchange has allowed a unique collaboration and exchange of ideas between two unique, yet similar, groups of art therapists in training.
Written and compiled by Jenny Asaro (MPS Class of 2019).