Perspectives Workshops: Transforming Violence through Mindful Artmaking

Banner Art detail: Gloretta Baynes, "Haiti Victorious"

Violence Transformed was the recipient of two Victim Service Training Grants from the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance to bring community-based and provider-led “Perspectives: Transforming Violence with Mindful Art-Making” workshop to community organizations working closely with families of homicide victims, victims of sexual and domestic violence, and youth impacted by family and community violence.

About the Perspectives Workshops

This workshop series integrates trauma-informed mindfulness exercises with trauma-informed art-making activities to support recovery and resilience in the wake of traumatic exposure. Workshops are designed to offer to both survivors and providers greater familiarity with the ways in which creative engagement can support the recovery and resiliency of those who have suffered and/or live at risk of exposure to violence. They are designed, too, to support providers and others who work with trauma survivors in order to enhance their practice, mobilize their own resilience and reduce their risk of secondary traumatization.

Theoretical Rationale for the Perspectives Workshops:
Research tells us that traumatic events and their devastating consequences are of such proportion in our society that they constitute a great public health challenge. In addition to specific event-related symptoms (e.g. fears, nightmares, startle responses and flashbacks), other insidious psychological effects may go unrecognized and result in what victims experience as inexplicable and incomprehensible anxiety, anger, and grief. Recovery from these effects of traumatic exposure can be fostered by the use of both verbal and non-verbal approaches to care that is conducted in safe and supportive group contexts.

The Workshops:
The Violence Transformed “Perspective” workshops serve as a means to help victims and those who provide services to them reconnect with their resilient capabilities within a group context via engagement in primarily non-verbal mindfulness and self-expressive art-making activities. The model builds upon the work of a 2015 Arnold P. Gold Foundation “Humanism in Medicine” Award to Violence Transformed in support of a series of artist-led workshops for healthcare providers.

Therapeutic Goals & Benefits of the Perspectives model:

  • To promote resilient coping among trauma survivors, providers and those at risk
  • To foster affect management and regulation through imaginative engagement
  • To provide a safe relational ecological context for developing new coping and self-care skills
  • To encourage personal exploration and experimentation
  • To share these experiences with both survivors and providers in an atmosphere of mutual respect and engagement toward the common goal of enhancing clinical care and advocacy for victims and survivors of violence.

Workshop Leaders:
The workshops are led by Drs. Mary Harvey, Ph.D. (Director of Violence Transformed) and Barbara Hamm, Psy.D., who are both former directors of the Victims of Violence Program at the Cambridge Health Alliance and co-creators of the "Perspectives" model. Each brings years of clinical and clinical training experience on behalf of trauma survivors to this project. The “Perspectives” model integrates skills and insights developed over their many years of community work with traumatized individuals and communities and with a national and international array of organizations, training venues and professional groups.

Workshop Series Facilitator and Documentarian:
Gloretta Baynes, AAMARP (African-American Master Artists is Residence Program, Northeastern University)

Post-Workshop Community Reception & Dialogue:
Northeastern Crossing, 1175 Tremont Street, Roxbury, MA
June 8, 2017, 6-8 PM

A convening of the workshop leaders, facilitators, community artists and workshop participants from the organizations listed above addressed the role of art-making and mindfulness in confronting the impact of interpersonal and community violence. This concluding Perspectives event was designed to bring individuals' experiences of the workshop series into a collective sphere of sharing and dialogue.

Workshops with Multiple Venues, 2017

Perspectives Workshop #1

Hosted by African American Master Artist in Residence Program (AAMARP), Northeastern University

January 14 & 28, 2017

Gloretta Baynes, Community Liaison

Perspectives Workshop #2

Hosted by sparc! the ArtMobile, MassArt’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships, in conjunction with Project Right, Grove Hall

March 31 & April 1, 2017

Community Liaison: Ekua Holmes

Perspectives Workshop #3

Hosted by Riverview Chamber Players’ Harmony & Hope: Responding to Violence through Music Program, and by Legacy Lives On

April 28 & April 29, 2017 

Community Liaison: Rebecca Strauss

Workshops with Unitarian Univeralist Urban Ministry, 2018

Spirit & Action: A Three-Part Series on Peacemaking

Follow-up Art Sessions

Follow-up Art Session #1: January 14, 2018
Peacemaking in the Family and Within Yourself
(For Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry Program Staff)

Follow-Up Art Session #2: February 28, 2018
Peacemaking Within Neighborhoods
(For Believe in Success and Domestic Violence  Program Staff)

Follow-up Art Session #3: March 28, 2018
Peacemaking Across Faith
(For Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry Staff working with Roxbury Youth)