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Territories of Encounter: The Art Therapy Assemblage

Art Therapy Department, School of the Art Institute Chicago

Sunday, March 24, 2013 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM (CDT)

Ticket Information

Type End Quantity
Advance Payment Check ONLY. $35 non-SAIC students/$45 all others Ended Free  

Share Territories of Encounter: The Art Therapy Assemblage

Event Details

A symposium on interdisciplinary, community-based arts practices.


Sunday, March 24, 9:30am-4:30pm

Neiman Center, 37 S. Wabash Ave. 



Free for SAIC students and faculty.  We encourage you to Advance Register to choose your AM and PM workshops.  Please complete the registration form. 

Discounted Advance payment (by check ONLY): 

$35 non-SAIC students with i.d. / $45 all others

Print and Mail registration form and check to: 

Art Therapy Department

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

37 S. Wabash Ave.

Chicago, IL 60603


Registration/payment at the door (by check or credit card ONLY): 

$40 non-SAIC students, $50 all others

Registration begins at 8:45am

FOR ADVANCE REGISTRATION: No matter if you are paying in advance or at the door (SAIC students included), please complete the "Registration Form" to choose your preferred AM and PM breakout sessions. 

Morning coffee/tea provided; lunch available for purchase

Free CEUs for counselors! 



8:45 - 9:30   Registration

9:30 - 9:45   Welcome and introductions; coffee, tea and pastries available

9:45-11:00   Keynote (plenary session)

11:15-12:30 Break-out sessions 

12:30-1:45   Lunch break (Lunch not provided, available for purchase)

1:45-3:00     Break-out sessions

3:15-4:30     Panel



Territories of Encounter: The Art Therapy Assemblage

Pamela Whitaker

Pamela Whitaker works with communities of children and adults to create indoor and outdoor environments, which offer opportunities for engagement. These environments can be thought of as shelters, habitats, art studios, or scenes for events. Her ideas regarding re-shaping space, and assembling new territories for both retreat and encounter, are inspired by installation art, land art, guerrilla art, and performance art. She will talk about how the ideas of philosopher Gilles Deleuze and psychiatrist Felix Guattari have become integrated into her approach to art therapy on a community level. 


Break-out sessions:

AM SESSIONS 11:15am – 12:30pm

Habitus: Shaping Public and Private Space

Pamela Whitaker

In this presentation, Pamela will invite participants to engage with the architecture of the built environment to design enclosed spaces that coincide with open public areas. These enclosures will utilize fiber art ingredients, words, and participants' physical presence to build both a place apart and a site to explore the ecology of everyday happenings.


  • Describe how to incorporate site-specific installation art into a therapeutic agenda, whereby re-shaping public space becomes an expressive act of personal becoming.
  • Demonstrate the ability to include within their therapeutic practice the making of studio environments, which encourage experimentation, enactment, and words as art materials.
  • Articulate how to utilize assemblages as therapeutic art forms, which transform perceptions of personal identity, social surroundings, and interactions amongst gatherings of people.

From Personal Healing to Political Change: The Role of the Arts in the Lives of Women Veterans 

Suellen Semekoski, Jessica Rose, Emily Siefken, and Callandra Tapp      

This presentation by one art therapist and three veterans will address the role of the arts (art, dance, written/spoken word, and theater) in fostering veterans’ reintegration into civilian life and in cultivating civilian allies. The continuum of art therapy to cultural arts programming and social movements will be examined in light of their impact on the mental health and wellbeing of women. 


  • Cite at least three examples of veterans’ artistic initiatives on the continuum from the personal to the political.   
  • Identify at least three issues particular to the mental health and well-being of women veterans.  
  • Articulate the role of art in addressing the "moral injury" of war.

With or Without You:  Exploring the Spectrum of Citizen Participation                                                                             

Andres L. Hernandez                                                           

This interactive workshop will explore the spectrum of youth and adult participation in arts-centered, community (re)building activities.  Through a critique of common models of citizen participation in the arts, workshop participants will carefully examine issues of power, and consider the potential of an organizing-oriented framework for creative practice with communities.


  • Articulate the different gradations of citizen participation identified within   Sherry Arnstein’s and Roger Hart’s “ladder” models.
  • Explain the central differences between "service-oriented" and "organizing   oriented" frameworks for creative practice with communities.
  • Identify at least three examples of arts-centered, community building projects grounded within an organizing-oriented framework.

Art Therapists as Culture Makers Within Disability Community

Sandie Yi

This workshop provides social justice based strategies for building a disability culture through the role of the art therapist in non-psychotherapeutic settings. The workshop will cover practical implications of creating an accessible studio experience and using art as an agent of community building and social change. This workshop is for art therapists interested in complementary roles as activists and culture makers.


  • Cite at least three resources for providing accessible art studio practices for participants from the disability community.
  • Describe at least three creative strategies for working with people with disabilities in non-psychotherapeutic settings.
  • Articulate the role of art and art therapists in addressing both individual and collective disability issues.


PM SESSIONS 1:45pm – 3:00pm

Self-Care and Healing Justice 

Sangheeta Ravichandran

This is an interactive, popular education-style arts- and body-based exploration of self-care and healing justice. Participants will collectively define self-care and healing justice, learn about the implications and importance of incorporating self-care into their practices, and be introduced to an example curriculum. Expect to have fun and walk away with tools you can use to create your own self-care and healing justice curriculum. 


  • Define self-care from a healing justice perspective
  • Describe at least three characteristics of arts- and body-based self-care and community care
  • Identify at least three ways to incorporate self-care into one’s own practice 

Transgender Identities: Risks and Rewards of Challenging Norms

Lex Lawson and Iu-Luen Jeng

This presentation provides an overview of identities and experiences for trans* people living in Western culture. During this workshop basic terms and cultural context are presented, the effects of systemic oppression are explored, strategies for therapists and ways to be an ally are discussed. The workshop will include small groups, activities, handouts for participants, and examples of the creative process of identity exploration. 


  • Define basic terminology of trans* and queer identities. 
  • Articulate, through an intersectional framework, an understanding of ways transphobia impacts people who are gender non-conforming. 
  • Identify concrete tools for allies and therapists to decrease the effects of transphobia. 


Touching the Spirit and Essence of Grief and Loss Through Art

Barbe Creigh and Emily MacArthur

Explore grief and loss from a theoretical and experiential perspective.  A   review of the multi-dimensional manifestations of grief will be presented. In addition, key components of the differentiation of normal grief and complicated grief will be addressed along with key interventions. The role of art for facilitating the grief process will be articulated both through clinical examples and an experiential component. 


  • Identify at least two theories of grief and loss.
  • Differentiate grief from clinical depression
  • Articulate the role of art in processing grief


             Inhabiting Systems: Operations in Mixed Reality                                       

                         Mark Jeffery

Participants in this performance art workshop will generate action, movement and text by working with historical, personal and virtual data in the location of the symposium via live data streams. The workshop will be generative, combining developing material individually as well as collaboratively. We will consider how to map the body with fragments we generate together, how we assemble these, and what the encounters are that we see and don’t see in the current 21st century mixed reality culture we now occupy.


  • Describe a structure for creating performance elements from both personal and collective data 
  • Articulate the relevance of performance to mixed reality culture 
  • Identify at least one impact of performance on the participating performer


PANEL 3:15pm – 4:30pm

Art, Social Change and the Public sphere

Moderator: Savneet Talwar

The “public sphere” is a site where social meaning is generated, circulated, contested and reconstructed. This panel takes an interdisciplinary approach to unpack the “public sphere” as a space for critical dialogue, art practice, and activism though the lenses of performance, art education, disability studies and art therapy.  



Barbe Creagh is a bereavement program manager for Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care. She is a faculty member of the Life Institute, an adjunct faculty member for Columbia College, the Adler School of Professional Psychology, SAIC, and Loyola University. She is a Transpersonal Psychologist, a Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery and a Fellow in Thanatology. She also maintains a private practice.

Andres L. Hernandez is an artist-designer-educator who works independently and collaboratively to re-imagine the environments we inhabit. Andres is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Lead Artist with the TRACE program of the Chicago Park District; and co-founder of Revival Arts Collective, a group of Chicago artists committed to arts-based community development.

Iu-Luen Jeng was born and raised in Taiwan. She currently works as the Youth Program Clinician providing clinical services to LGBTQ youth at Center on Halsted, the most comprehensive LGBTQ community center in the Midwest. Her work with youth focuses on identity exploration and community advocacy. She also serves as the Ethics Chair of the Illinois Art Therapy Association, providing consultation for art therapists in the state.

Mark Jeffery is a performance/installation artist, curator, and educator at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since 1993 He has developed unconventional interdisciplinary collaborations that frequently involve public participation. He is curator of the IN>TIME performance series hosted by multiple venues around Chicago, and from 1996-2009 was a member of the internationally renowned Goat Island Performance Group. He collaborated and performed in 5 of Goat Island's works, touring and teaching extensively across North America and Europe.

Lex Lawson hails from Kentucky and is a creative spirit and community rabble-rouser exploring and challenging trans* and queer experiences. Through poetry, essays, visual art, performance, community education and organizing, Lex’s threads of resistance weave through many fabrics of Chicago and the Midwest. To follow Lex’s intertwining web visit

Emily MacArthur is an Art Therapist at Norwood Crossing, a senior assisted living and skilled nursing community in Chicago, IL. She earned a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute in 2012. Emily gained experience working in hospice and bereavement at Rainbow Hospice and the Good Mourning bereavement  program for children, teens, and families.

Sangeetha Ravichandran is an art therapist and Program Coordinator for A Long Walk Home’s Girl/Friends Leadership Institute, an arts advocacy program for ending violence against girls and women. She is also on the board of Social Innovation Advocates, which seeks to empower marginalized youth leaders to eradicate poverty and injustice and transform their communities.

Jessica Rose served in the U.S. Army eight years. Her career began through selection for the trial gender-integrated basic training conducted on Ft. Sill1999- 2001—which led to full integration of women in 2010—and ended with two deployments to Afghanistan. She now seeks to decrease the under-representation of women veterans in research from a combat woman veteran perspective.

Suellen Semekoski is the art therapist consultant for Veterans Creative Arts Therapy (VetCAT) program and adjunct associate professor in SAIC's department of art therapy. She is the lead artist on the "Women at War" project, a collaboration between women veterans, Rivendell Theater Company, and VetCAT that uses art, movement/dance, and writing to tell women veterans' stories. 

Emily Siefken is a veteran of two wars in the Middle East and an ardent supporter for service member's recognition and rights. She has an MFA in Performance / Art and Technology Studies from SAIC.  Emily had a solo at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, has been an invited speaker on the subject of women and war, and has taught in an after-school interactive multimedia program.

Savneet Talwar’s research examines feminist politics, critical theories of difference, social justice and questions of resistance.  Using an interdisciplinary approach, she is interested in community based art practices, cultural trauma, performance art and public cultures as they relate to art therapy practice and pedagogy. She currently uses a portable studio to work in community settings to create critical dialogue regarding reproductive freedom, power, and social inequity.

Callandra Tapp will graduate with a BFA from SAIC in 2013. She served in the Air Force from 2001 to 2009 at bases in Oklahoma, Delaware and Iraq. As a painter influenced by recent travels to Haiti and Los Angeles, Callandra explores race relations and cross-cultural beauty ideals. She is also a member of the Chicagoland Christian Center's praise dance team.

Pamela Whitaker, an art therapist from Ireland, works as a project manager and community artist for environmental projects involving primary school children and their local communities. She is a research fellow within the Faculty of Visual Culture at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, and has lectured on fiber artists whose practice explores subjectivity and loss. Pamela holds a MA and PhD from the University of Sheffield, School of Health. She works under the name of Groundswell,

Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi received a BFA and MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the University of California Berkeley. She has exhibited in Chicago, Ann Arbor, San Francisco, Berkeley, Prague and Hong Kong. Her research interestsinclude social justice based art therapy, Disability Arts and Culture and Disability aesthetics. She is currently a PhD student in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois.

Have questions about Territories of Encounter: The Art Therapy Assemblage ? Contact Art Therapy Department, School of the Art Institute Chicago

When & Where

Neiman Center
37 S. Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL

Sunday, March 24, 2013 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM (CDT)

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Art Therapy Department, School of the Art Institute Chicago

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Master of Arts (MA) in Art Therapy program explores the relationship between life experiences and artmaking and prepares graduates for a career helping people gain or recover intellectual and emotional clarity, equilibrium, and power through artistic expression.

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