The field of expressive arts is closely tied to the work of therapeutic change. As well as being beneficial for the individual or small group, expressive arts therapy has the potential for a much wider impact, to inspire social action and bring about social change.
The book's contributors explore the transformative power of the arts therapies in areas stricken by conflict, political unrest, poverty or natural disaster and discuss how and why expressive arts works. They look at the ways it can be used to engage community consciousness and improve social conditions whilst taking into account the issues that arise within different contexts and populations. Leading expressive arts therapy practitioners give inspiring accounts of their work, from using poetry as a tool in trauma intervention with Iraqi survivors of war and torture, to setting up storytelling workshops to aid the integration of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants in Israel.
Offering visionary perspectives on the role of the arts in inspiring change at the community or social level, this is essential reading for students and practitioners of creative and expressive arts therapies, as well as psychotherapists, counsellors, artists and others working to effect social change.
'It is difficult to describe this book in a few words - please read it and be inspired!' -- Restorative Justice.org
'Reading the collected essays found in this book is like being given a window into not only the diversity of what expressive arts therapy and its uses in the public sphere are, but beyond that, what expressive arts looks like and feels like from the perspective of those expressive art practitioners who utilize the tools of the arts within a framework of social healing and change... This book is an opportunity to see clearly the connection between expressive arts and social change: the natural phenomenon that occurs when you allow those you work with to be held in a space where they can express their most fundamental experiences.' -- Psychology & Arts Newsletter
'Art in Action is not the first book to champion social issues; however, its fourteen chapters may be the broadest and yet most focused work addressing the use of art for social and political change... The most powerful contribution of Art in Action is the work itself, the making of change, and the chapters that demonstrate and address the hardships and societal issues where arts-based practitioners have created change... These published testaments to community change through art are worthy of celebration and congratulations.' -- The Arts in Psychotherapy
'Art in Action is a well written book providing both theoretical and practical considerations and an abundance of rich and detailed accounts of expressive art projects within a wide range of communities. It was both interesting and inspiring. This book is highly recommended to any professionals working in a mental health capacity and those working with communitites in order to affect social change.' -- British Association of Play Therapists.
Ellen G. Levine is co-founder and faculty of ISIS Canada and a Senior Staff Social Worker at the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre for Children's Mental Health in Toronto, Canada. She is Core Faculty and Dean of Individualized Studies in Expressive Arts Therapy at the European Graduate School in Switzerland.
Stephen K. Levine is Professor Emeritus of Social Science at York University in Toronto, Canada, Vice-Provost and Dean of the Doctoral Program in Expressive Arts: Therapy, Education, Consulting and Social Change at the European Graduate School in Switzerland, and Co-Director of ISIS Canada. Ellen and Stephen have authored and edited many books in the field of expressive arts therapy.
Foreword: Eureka! Discovering Gold in a Leaden World, Michelle LeBaron. Part I: Principles. 1. Art Opens to the World: Expressive Arts and Social Action, Stephen K. Levine. 2. From Social Change to Art Therapy and Back Again: A Memoir, Ellen Levine. 3. Social Activism within Expressive Arts "Therapy": What's in a Name? Karen Estrella. 4. Communal Art-making and Conflict Transformation, Paolo Knill. 5. From the Studio to the World: How Expressive Arts Therapy Can Help Further Social Change, Shaun McNiff. Part II: Issues. 6. A Social-Critical Reading of Indigenous Women's Art: The Use of Visual Data to 'Show,' rather than 'Tell,' of the Intersection of Different Layers of Oppression, Ephrat Huss. 7. Inside-out Outside-in: Found Objects and Portable Studio, Debra Kalmanowitz and Bobby Lloyd. 8. From Private Pain Toward Public Speech: Poetry Therapy with Iraqi Survivors of Torture and War, Shanee Stepakoff, Samer Hussein, Mariam Al-Salahat, Insherah Musa, Moath Asfoor, Eman Al-Houdali, and Maysa Al-Hmouz. Part III: Projects. 9. The Choreography of Absence: (In)habiting the Imagination After War, Carrie MacLeod. 10. Creating Space for Change: The Use of Expressive Arts with Vulnerable Children and Women Prisoners in Sub-Saharan Africa, Gloria Simoneaux. 11. Beauty in the Rough Places, Karen Abbs. 12. Art as a Gift: Expressive Arts in Bolivia, Sally Atkins. 13. A Black Dog on a Green Meadow: Doing Expressive Arts Therapy in Peru: Some Headlines, TAE Peru (Judith Alalu, Jose Miguel Calderon, Ximena Maurial, Monica Prado, Martin Zavala). 14. These Stories are Burning a Hole in my Brain: Using the Arts to Tell the Stories of the Ethiopian Jewish Immigrant Community in Israel, Vivien Marcow Speiser and Samuel Schwartz. Afterword: The Power of Poiesis, MaryBeth Morand.