Sunday, December 4, 2011

Professor, Yale Reports Fostering Creativity Key to Preventing Violence

The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, IJCAIP recently received this letter to the editor from Bandy X Lee MD MDiv, Assistant Clinical Professor, Law and Psychiatry Division, Yale University.
We are publishing this letter today at our IJCAIP Blog, Arts Crossing Borders.

Dear Editor:

This year is worthy of a creative reflection on violence. After the toppling of the Egyptian government, there was the Arab Spring, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and the 10-year mark on our approach to the War on Terror. The persistence of political violence in African countries, and the rise and fall of violence rates of our own, paralleling all too closely unemployment rates, reveal that violent acts are not an inevitable, unchangeable part of the human condition.

If we could think creatively enough in advance, that is diplomatically, politically, socially, and culturally, violence as a “solution”—no matter the source—would not be necessary. Students of human creativity do well to suspect that violent impulses are creative ones gone awry, that one would much rather create if one thought oneself capable (in my own experience, fifteen years of working with violent offenders in the criminal justice system has shown me that those who are violent would be the last to divulge that their act is one of desperation, rather than one of choice). The creative instinct in us is so fundamental, that allowing for its constructive expression would probably eliminate more problems than we could know in advance.

The science of violence studies is catching onto this. Since U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop spearheaded a movement to involve the health sector in the field, many important institutions have advocated that we approach violence as a problem in public health, namely an ecological problem that is preventable. Among these institutions were the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Public Health Service and the World Health Organization (WHO). Since 2002 especially, when the WHO launched its World Report on Violence and Health,[1] the investigation into violence shifted away from criminology, law, and politics, to public health, preventive medicine, and mental health. In contrast to retribution of individuals after the fact, positive reinforcement, via community programs, mentorship, parenting classes, and even improvements in prenatal care, has proven to be effective in helping populations lead more productive lives.

One can imagine what advances are still possible. Ten years after this landmark report, we are due for another renewal. Perhaps 2012 will be the year when we begin to consider creative collective action as an approach to preventing violence in more constructive ways.

When a culture as a whole encourages and allows for individuals, without exclusion, to participate in building and in creation, then much destructive energy will dissipate on its own. When art and education become the solid basis of a society, humanity and intelligence develop in its constituents, and this naturally restores them to health. Mental health professionals, with their intimate understanding of human drives and desires, can help illumine this fact.

Bandy X. Lee, MD, MDiv

Assistant Clinical Professor

Law and Psychiatry Division

Yale University

[1] World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2002.

Friday, November 4, 2011

These Cats Know What They Want, Dignity and a Better Life for All

"Living Signage"
C. McLean
collage from photos taken during October 15, Occupy Toronto protest

Letters to the Editor
The Londoner
Nov. 10, 2011

Protest Deserves Support
C.L. McLean, London, Ont.

Sheryl Rooth and Gord Harrison (in the last issue of The Londoner) addressed the Occupy London protest each leaning in somewhat opposing directions. Rooth refers metaphorically and with some humour to the cats being the pampered 1% while the dogs (hamsters and goldfish) do protest. Perhaps it is the protesters who are the real cats of this scenario. Having had several, I find cats typically determined, patient and dead on accurate when pursuing a goal. But unlike some cats, the cats, in our park are neither pampered, overfed nor lethargic. Listen to the arguments of the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy London “folks” and you will find participants of all ages and occupations active in the movement who are critical thinkers, well informed on the issues and willing to educate others.

Gord Harrison writes that job loss and lack of employment are just two good reasons for many to stand up and be heard. He questions the validity of what the comparatively high 9% unemployment statistic in London really means.. “does anyone know the percentage of people, young and old, who only earn enough to scrape by and are unable to save up funds for an uncertain future?” What about the other 91%?

Some of the protesters have undergraduate and graduate degrees and loans averaging upwards of 25,000 and are expected to pay back debt accumulated for their education from what they earn from marginal jobs paying minimum wage. For the young men and women and the others middle aged with families who have been quietly laid off, had pensions slashed, who find work that is often sporadic and occasional, who must work short term contracts without long term security or benefits, the Occupy London and worldwide protests are an opportunity to focus attention, once again, on the human needs within our community and around the world.

On Occupy Wall Street, lack of organizational skills and discord was suggested by Rooth as a possible criticism of the movement, however, in very short order, since September, the movement has grown to include over 900 cities worldwide. The demonstrations (on the whole) have been spirited and harmonious, democratic and uniquely leaderless. Rooth wraps up her column asserting that when it comes to advocating for change and the occupy protests, the cushiony one percentile may ask these individuals, “What’s in it for me?” Having edited two recently released books on citizen empowerment and social change, I have witnessed illustrative examples of the transformative power of participative action in international community and cultural change projects. The efforts invested by our youth and people of all ages and occupations, by labour, healthcare workers, citizen groups and others who are part of this movement represent the embodiment of hope for our city and our children’s futures. This occupation can and will make a difference. Every one of those determined individuals in Victoria Park making themselves known, gathering together to discuss and debate the reshaping of our society, hunkering down on cold nights in tents , is out there working for us, doing our job to help make our society more civil, participative, equitable and accountable. The Occupy London protesters deserve continued citizen support and respect as this movement evolves. These cats, the 99%, are making their point by way of example and they know exactly what they want. Dignity, justice and a better life for all.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Reflective Practice Gathering University of Limerick

2nd International Reflective Practice Gathering

June 6th-9th, 2012

University of Limerick, Ireland

The idea of ‘Gathering’ is to bring people from diverse professional and artistic backgrounds together in community to explore and develop creative and dialogical ways of reflective conferencing across diverse disciplines and to gain insight into reflective practices. This 2nd Gathering builds on the foundations of the 1st Gathering in Zakynthos 2011.

Invitation is by accepted paper. As such, we invite people to submit papers around the themes of dialogue, reflective practice, narrative and performance. The papers should clearly identify the author’s key insights. Word limit 2000 words. We welcome all forms of artistic representation of reflective practice.

These papers will not actually be presented at the Gathering; rather the authors will work in small groups at the Gathering to collectively and creatively present their shared insights in dialogue with the Gathering audience.

Alongside these presentations, the Gathering will dialogue around the key themes. There will be a workshop on performance with Geert Niland, a theatre director from the Netherlands. We also welcome performances to be part of a one day rolling programme of performances open to the public directed by Dr Amanda Price. A draft programme is available

Papers may be submitted for publication in the new online journal ‘Attraversiamo’. This journal has been established to publish in dialogue creative papers around the conference themes. The first volume is aimed to be published in January 2012 comprising papers developed from the 1st Gathering in Zakynthos 2011. The journal will be published twice yearly.

Numbers for the Gathering is restricted for 30 people. The cost of the Gathering will be £120. This does not include meals or accommodation. Accommodation is within the University of Limerick at reasonable cost.

Application to attend with attached papers should be sent to Christopher Johns by January 6th, 2012.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Research Explores Use of Role Play and Fabric Art with Medical Students in End of Life Care

The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP is pleased to announce new peer reviewed research has just been published in November Issue # 10.

The November issue titled "The Fabric of Understanding, Medical Education, Fabric Art and End of Life Care, features research contributed by Andre Smith from The Department of Sociology, University of Victoria and explores the experiences of first and second year medical students who participated in a learning intervention that used fabric art and role playing to foster empathy in end of life care. The intervention draws on artwork by artist Deidre Scherer who depicts dying, death and grief in her work.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Creative Arts in Research for Community and Cultural Change book can now be pre-ordered at this website

Creative Arts in Research for Community and Cultural Change”,
Editor, Cheryl McLean, Associate Editor, Robert Kelly, published by Detselig Enterprises, Calgary, is the second te
xt in the CAIP research series and takes a global perspective featuring projects that have used the creative arts applied in research for community and cultural change. In this action oriented collection qualitative research and community based and participatory methods play a major role as well as other experiential approaches.

The articles in this second volume have been divided into four thematically related sections:

Part 1 Community Action and Education through Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice; Part 2 Images for Witness, Community Action in Disability and Health; Part 3 Arts Exploring Immigrant Experience and Cultural Identities; Part 4 Human Stories “from the outside in” for Community and Cultural Change.

Many of the researchers, artists, educators, participants and community members you will read about in these accounts strive for change by joining together in interdisciplinary projects to address the most fundamental of human needs, the need for healthy and safe communities with water to drink and air to breathe, the need for human expression and connection, the desire to be accepted and acknowledged as a human being of value and to voice their personal stories for witness whether it is from a stage, a study circle, a kitchen table or to be experienced at exhibits in public spaces in the photographs of a community of women, street workers, sharing images depicting stories of survival on the streets of the inner city.

Creative Arts in Research for Community and Cultural Change" is fundamentally a book about the arts in action and practice for hope and citizen empowerment, about people and communities making a difference through arts processes and democratic change. It may be true that we are shaped by culture and yet as is clearly evidenced by the articles in this book culture itself can be artfully shaped and re/formed within communities by the hands of the people who daily transform it.

Music for Relaxation

Soothing Relaxation Journeys

Narration: Dr. Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD, MusM, MTA

Music: Sincere Tung, BMT

This CD has been created to treat your mind and body to four relaxation journeys. Each track provides a short break from your daily life and stressors. It only takes 15 to 20 minutes in your daily life to enjoy one of the journeys.

Music Can Help You Reduce Stress

Across the centuries music has been used in combination with healing practices. For example in Ancient Greece, Apollo the God of music and medicine used music to force out disease and return a person to a state of unity and direction. Today music is used in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and clinics to help people confront a variety of problems such as pain and anxiety. Relaxing music such as the music on this CD facilitates slower heart and respiratory rates, thinking, and makes it possible for a person to reach a deeper level of rest and serenity. In this way music becomes a primary tool in relieving stress and calming the mind.

About the Creator of Soothing Relaxation Journeys

Amy Clements-Cortes began her career as a music therapist, performer, and vocal teacher. Her extensive clinical experience involves working with a variety of clients. She obtained her Masters and Doctoral Degrees from the University of Toronto and her work has been presented throughout the world at numerous conferences including: the World Federation of Music Therapy, European Music Therapy Congress, and the International Congress on Palliative Care. Her scholarly writings have been published in peer reviewed journals such as the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy, Canadian Music Educator's Journal, and the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and she has produced several recordings: Episodes of Relationship, By the Shining Waters, Theracalm and Therasleep.

Clements-Cortes’ commitment to music therapy is evidenced in her volunteer work on several professional organizations: Canadian Association Board of Directors where she held the position of Internship Chair for 6 years and currently serves as the President; Room 217, and the World Federation of Music Therapy.

Visit for more information.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Book Review Policy IJCAIP

August 2011


This announcement may be of interest to publisher's seeking book reviews:

The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP receives numerous requests from publishers to review new books in the field. IJCAIP Journal is an independent international academic journal which, unlike traditional journals, is free, available and accessible worldwide and does not charge membership or subscriber fees to access our full text research articles, journal archives and other onsite information.

Due to the volume of requests we receive from other publishers we would like to inform those seeking book reviews that, in addition to providing a copy of the book sent by mail , in order to support and sustain our journal operations, we also charge a nominal book review administration fee of 100 for book reviews to cover administration costs and reviewer time which can be paid electronically to IJCAIP through Paypal. Once the payment is received and the book arrives reviews are generally completed within 3 or 4 wks. At the discretion of the editor some of these reviews may be published at our IJCAIP blog “Arts Crossing Borders” or in the IJCAIP Journal. Please be advised, however, that payment, and a completed review does not necessarily guarantee publication in IJCAIP journal.

Kindly contact our office at if you would like to arrange a book review through The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice and we will provide further instructions.

For individuals seeking book reviews these requests will be considered on an individual basis and as time allows.

Thank you sincerely for your interest,

Most respectfully,

C.L. McLean, Executive Editor, Publisher

IJCAIP Journal

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Playbuilding as Qualitative Research Links Methods with hands on Practice

New Book Reviews

"In Playbuilding as Qualitative Research Joe Norris has created a book that demonstrates the educator’s passion while generously sharing practical knowledge in collective playbuilding as qualitative research. A distinctive feature of this book are Norris’s detailed descriptions and process based examples..invaluable for educator, student or practitioner. Drawing on playbuilding and participatory experience as Co-founder and Artistic Director of Mirror Theatre, active and group based illustrations link theory to method effectively showing how collective creation and playbuilding are applied for social change with examples such as ‘Understanding Prejudice Through Mime’ and script examples from the project ‘Respecting Diversity and Preventing Prejudice’, commissioned by The Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities, Alberta. This is a topical book for challenging times, a hands on research resource that inspires action. As the creative arts gain momentum as a transitional force for participative change Joe Norris offers in this AERA award winning book the best of his methods to be put to work by researcher or practitioner in arts based qualitative research for social justice and the betterment of communities at home and abroad."

C.L. McLean, Executive Editor, International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice

" This book not only met all the criteria for the [AERA Outstanding Book Award], it exceeded every criteria. Norris bridges arts-based research, qualitative research, and playbuilding grounded in rich theories and create dialogue for various social justice issues. The committee members exclaimed not only about the accessibility, utility of this book, but the ways in which this book challenged our thinking, made us imagine how the audience participation might look like at the end of the scenes and the fertile ground for much needed dialoguing.... Congratulations Joe Norris. "

- American Educational Research Association

"Joe Norris' book 'Playbuilding as Qualitative Research' is an outstanding resource for students and researchers interested in dramatic approaches to social research as well as arts-based inquiry more generally. It is extremely well-researched, accessibly written, and overflowing with robust examples that draw readers in. A gem!"

- Patricia Leavy, Stonehill College

"There have long been gaps and questions in the story of how group constructed performance pieces and playbuilding actually become part of an accessible route towards valid qualitative research in theater. Joe Norris reclaims the voice of the theater practitioner in this latest addition to the Developing Qualitative Inquiry series. In Playbuilding as Qualitative Research he expertly guides the reader through the theory, techniques and experience of this participatory research approach in a way which will open the genre to the many, many theatre and arts practitioners who will be able to better join the dots between their own teaching and practice and its potential contribution as research."

- Jim Mienczakowski, Abu Dhabi Education Council

"Devising and performing theatrical work are sometimes perceived by non-practitioners as mysterious and elusive processes. But Joe Norris\'s Playbuilding as Qualitative Research accessibly documents the empirically-grounded and socially-conscious productions of Canada\'s renowned Mirror Theatre for a broad readership in the communities of education, sociology, social work, human communication, film and media production, and the arts. Norris persuasively makes the case for playbuilding as a genre of qualitative research that adheres to the principle tenets of inquiry in which art-based research and research-informed art are collaborative, emergent, data-driven, relevant, and ethical acts for audiences\' social concerns and needs. Joe Norris\'s rigorous scholarship and sensitivity to lived experience weave together to present an engaging narrative of how qualitative researchers--not just theatre artists--can elegantly dramatize the salient issues of our lives for community reflection and action. "

- Johnny Saldaña, Arizona State University

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Saldana Brings Ethnotheatre Research from Page to Stage

We are pleased to announce the recent release of the book "Ethnotheatre Research from Page to Stage" by IJCAIP Advisory Board Member and Professor of Theatre, School of Theatre and Film, Arizona State University, Johnny Saldana. Saldana is well recognized as an international leader in the field. The book has been published by Left Coast Press and "covers the preparation of a dramatic presentation from the research and writing stages to the elements of stage production. Saldaña nurtures playwrights through adaptation and stage exercises, and delves into the complex ethical questions of turning the personal into theatre. Throughout, he emphasizes the vital importance of creating good theatre as well as good research for impact on an audience and performers. The volume includes multiple scenes from contemporary ethnodramas plus two complete play scripts as exemplars of the genre."

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Art on Pavement, Street Expressions in Chalk Engage Public at Wortley Village London

Street painting has been recorded throughout Europe since the 16th century. Street painters in Italy were often commissioned to create votos and ex-votos, and it was said after the festivities or with the first rain, both the painting and painter would vanish.

But an early rain did not dampen optimism for chalk fest artists at the Expressions in Chalk street-painting festival on Sunday in Wortley Village, London. When I arrived about noon artists were very much visible redoing and restoring their colourful street drawings as visitors watched and asked questions about their work.