Three staff members, one board member, and nine teaching artists from the Bartol Foundation recently had the pleasure of joining PHENND (Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development) for their 30th anniversary conference on Trauma and the Arts. We attended a jam-packed two days of workshops and talks by innovative thinkers in arts, higher education, and behavioral health organizations about strategies for working with trauma-impacted populations. Towards the end of the conference, the conversation shifted towards a critical, ever-complicated question: How can we take these ideas to scale to provide resources for a broader population?
At Bartol, we’ve been working to address this question over the past year. In the fall of 2018, we launched a new intensive 20-hour training on trauma-informed practice for teaching artists. So far, we’ve graduated two cohorts of 12 teaching artists each from this program. Our first class estimates they will work with 1,700 young people at 40 locations this year. They will take this training with them wherever they go, furthering their impact on Philadelphia’s communities.
The individuals who accompanied us at this conference enjoyed making connections and furthering their thinking around what it means to be trauma-informed. Read below for some of their reactions.
Guest Facilitator for our training program, Shavon Norris, observed the value of spending time in spaces with like-minded advocates for the arts and healing.
“I am an Artist. Educator. Facilitator. Often times I find myself in spaces where my working and doing is unlike others around me. I don’t mind this. I love what I do. And this unlikeness tends to lead to conversations and experiences that expand my perspective and the perspective of others.
At the conference, I was like a lot of the humans in the room. The language used. The methods of working. The reflection and celebration of art as healing and restoration and communal. The reasons for being in collaboration and learning with communities. It was affirming and inspiring and refreshing to be in space with others like me.”
Trauma training grad Caitlin Antram took away something interesting from multiple workshops.
“- The importance of reaching out to the community you wish to serve as a collaborator and partner.
– The significance of process and play in healing arts methodology, social support and relationship building over ‘skills.’
– A huge insight from the ‘Storiez’ workshop (Dr. Meagan Corrado) about the relative unimportance of considering where you’ve been vs. where you are going.”
Bartol Foundation Administrator Melissa Talley-Palmer led the group in connecting with others at the conference.
“My take away from the conference truly was the number of contacts I was able to make and resources offered up to attendees. It was great to witness all of the content from classes as well as panelists. There were many emotional connections as well as exciting ah-ha moments.”