In April, Dr. Juliet Rohde-Brown (Core Faculty Psy.D program) and Dr. Elizabeth Wolfson (Chair, MACP program) were invited along with Clandis Payne (PsyD. student) and Art Cisneros (Chumash elder) to present at the annual Conference sponsored by the Society for Humanistic Psychology in Chicago. The conference theme was “In the World, On the Edge.” The group presented on “Diversity and Dialogue through the Arts: A Community Endeavor” showcasing the ways community groups present on issues of diversity through artistic mediums.
The presentation addressed means through which community environments can create a safe space where dialogue can take place, which address difficult issues around diversity enabling participants to enter into emotional inquiry around difference and conflict. The presenters demonstrated how various projects engaged diverse populations in ways that augments consciousness and nurture development as humans opening gates to dialogue around diversity. The presenters demonstrated (through music, video, symbol and other means) how arts can cross boundaries of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, religion, and gender. Some of the pieces presented included activities around Holocaust Remembrance, MLK Day Messages of Empathy, Chumash Fire Circle Meanings and Messages, and working with symbols to foster forgiveness.
The presentation of collaborations that had occurred with this approach was intended as a means of encouraging other communities and venues to utilize the arts to transcend stereotypical assumptions and multicultural boundaries towards the common goal of building empathy, compassion, and forgiveness in ourselves and in the community.