I am proposing a workshop for vets and thought it responsible of me to do some research into a little of what vets are going, their concerns, and perhaps determine if there is a standard protocol for interacting with those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I researched first the field manual used by counselors put out by the American Psychological Association know as TIP 42. https://youtu.be/7zKsLoPY6Wg?list=PLNuFJFRYMHW_nHFIt1nLbDOEB5RbHRCYe Clip I ran across on the Official Military Health website. It touches on and demonstrates some of the tricky issues veterans are dealing with when traumatized or seriously injured. Full article from the site http://www.health.mil/News/Articles/2015/03/18/Art-Therapy-Provides-Pathway-to-Healing-for-Those-with-Traumatic-Brain-Injuries Another article to check out http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/09/veterans-affairs-wait-times_n_7031226.html?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067 What is PTSD? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is really an anxiety based ailment (Shay, 2002 p.4) In his incredible book Odysseus in America Dr. Shay describes his experiences working as VA counselor in D.C. He compares the classic work from Homer to the contemporary experiences of veterans returning home from war. That a two thousand year old work still sounds modern is one thing but that in all that time we haven't figured out how to stop making war is perhaps the real thing we should notice. Odysseus in America http://www.amazon.com/Odysseus-America-Combat-Trauma-Homecoming/dp/074321157X Most importantly for me and my research he Shay sets out some guide lines or a kind of protocol for working with vets. As well he describes the stages vets must pass through to reach recovery. For my interest he suggests ways that art therapy music therapy and none professionals can and might be able to do more for vets than hours of therapy. He describes the way that vets mistrust, "the system," and therefore loathe people waving degrees and accolades around and that simple listening being genuine might get you further in getting to know vets and also aid them more. The biggest suggestion he makes is that vets and only vets understand what they are collectively going through. Any program that might get vets together allows them to sort things out on their level with mutual trust, respect, and understanding. Other books on my research reading list.
Driscoll, P., & Straus, C. (2009). Hidden battles on unseen fronts: Stories of American soldiers with
traumatic brain injury and PTSD. Drexel Hill, PA: Casemate.
Muscari, M. (2012). What nurses know-- PTSD. New York: DemosHealth.
Samuels, M., & Lane, M. (2013). Healing with the arts: A 12-week program to heal yourself and your community. New York, New York: Atria paperback.
Shay, J. (2002). Odysseus in America: Combat trauma and the trials of homecoming. New York, New
Turk, D., & Winter, F. (2006). The pain survival guide: How to reclaim your life. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Zayfert, C., & DeViva, J. (2011). When someone you love suffers from posttraumatic stress: What
to expect and what you can do. New York: Guilford Press.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2005). Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders.Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 42. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-3992. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
ps I looked through the above publication from the APA and the recommended citation wasn't APA. They even hate APA and they are the APA.
ArtReach Focus on Vets
I am currently in one of my final grad courses Research Methods. In this class we will lock down our final project or capstone work. By the end we should have a usable proposal, references, a capstone committee, IRBs (research permission forms), and flushed out timeline for doing the research.
While doing my initial research I ran across an intriguing workshop, seminar and exhibit at the Oceanside Art Museum near San Diego. http://oma-online.org
The programing was in the current mode of museum work and museums in general that have shift from being collector of old stuff and the guardians of high culture or real worthy art, to education allies in a community. Agents of change and places for reflection and enrichment in todays overloaded world.
The program specifically reached out to the multigenerational military subculture. Programs address post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), coming back home after war, why we still make war as a species, and the many problems veterans face today. (sadly the museum has pulled any mention of the event from their site)
Inspired by the Oceanside Museum programing I decided I wanted to create a workshop for veterans.
I thought a memory box project would be a good place to start.
Some of my Cornell inspired works at the MIM.
It was suggested by my capstone chair that I put together a blog to follow the process of putting together the research project, workshop, eventual exhibit and coalescing my observations into my final grad project.
Where do my Memory Boxes come from?
Joanna Roche was giving a guest lecture at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS). It was senior seminar my final days in the art department, the late Louis Ciccotello led then. The late Jerry Riggs supported the local art scene through the gallery of contemporary art and in general in that time it felt like the art department was strong bolstered by the energetic and inspiring professor Roche.
She was then researching an artist I had never heard of Joseph Cornell. An odd collector of seemingly unconnected items, which he meticulously filed away for later use. Though he was acquainted with many of the Surrealist Luminaries whilst exiled in American during the second world war, he was untrained. He attended college for about a year, worked an odd assortment of jobs from gardener, to graphic artist, and eventual sold some of his self trained works.
As Joanna spoke on the artist and slides of his works flickered on the screen I was entranced, everyone was. Over the next three critiques, Cornell was apparent in most of the works.
I had previously played with light boxes and similar ideas to Cornell's but it would take years for me to work in true found media.
First, with found wood scraps and a sander in my Roadside Ruin works.
Then with boxes in what I call Memory Box works, both Cornell homage and nod to my profession of many years the curio cabinet or Curiosity Cabinet.
Ode to the Muses, the word museum implies house of the muses a place for inspiration literally.
Several memory box works while at the MIM.
a Miro like work Entitled Flat landscape inspired by the Edwin Abbot work Flatland and the playful works of Paul Klee and Joan Miro.
Finally (accidentally) a work sharing the same title of a Cornell work, Penny Arcade. Though to my credit it is a title given to his piece which the artist left untitled.
A local school that I done programs with and for actually attempted to copy this process after I visited the school and made memory boxes of their own this was my favorite one.
Next time Curiosity cabinets, shrunken heads, collectors, and thieves oh my!
When I began this project I started with museum studies the history of museums, and eventually the current evolved thinking on museums. Beginning with curiosity cabinets and “undisciplined collections,” museums began as a mix of entertainment, eccentric collecting, and pure blarney (Perce, 1992, p. 120).
“It is this avid and ambitious desire to take possession of the object for the benefit of the owner which constitutes one of the outstanding features of western civilization” (Berger, 84 ?).
Why do we collect things, why have we collected things? and what does this impulse imply about us as a species, civilization, or culture.
Who collected historically has changed anyone can create art now or hang a cheap poster print of famous work if they desire. Art fairs and bohemian art districts have brought art to the masses without passing through the art establishment official academies of old or the sanctified art world of galleries and museums. "The high," art real art propaganda, anti-pluralistic, anti-feminist, preaching one faith, one culture and one race of the early 1900’s has given way to politically correct, multicultural, community minded museums (Weil, pg 81, 2002).
Fred Wilson in his art installation Mining the Museum, explores the often hidden history lurking within a museum itself, the missing exhibits, telling as much as the actual ones
Site specific installation, video installation, performance art have all shifted the art world from a visible tangled collectable commodity to the experience of art and art making. Perhaps beginning with Pollack, passing through Johns, and on to Warhol the art world has protested, mocked and sought to deny the need to create something that can be sold. Where does this leave museums the former cemetery of bric-a-brac, the keepers and definers of “real” art or “high art”(Pearce, p. 81 1992)?
Funding, shifts in the art world, and the demands of globalization have forced museums into new positions new roles and removed the premisy of space. A museum’s web presence is global, it’s collection can be open for anyone to see instead of being merely privy to the upper strata of society (Bautista p. 16, 2013).
If art museums and museums are telling stories then what sorts of stories are they telling and why? These questions led me to several books on creating history. Yes, according to the books I studied it is a creative process making up history as guide to the present. It is argued, “historians do not discover the past but create it.” (Jandrowitz, p25, 2002). Combined with the shift in museums if we accept that we are obliged to create stories to serve the present then museums are positioned to provide new meaning to wide variety of communities.
The writings that stemmed from a 2001 seminar at Cornell University combined under the title the Museum as a Place of Learning discuss at length the power and possibilities museums wield as agents of change and learning centers. The museum is an unfinished cognitive process that provides for socially constructed meaning (Carr, p51, 2001).
My goal is to use my experience in museums creating and presenting workshops programs, artwork, and general museum practices, to present a workshop focused on veterans. Using the found object works of Cornell a s neutral basis for the creative process I hope to oversee the creation of several small works. What I have titled Memory Boxes for their similarity to shrines, curio cabinets, and Cornell’s works are simple construction comprised of found or manipulated objects. Hardware, wire, buttons, junk found at a thrift store is recycled to form a narrative or some kind of symbolic meaning for the creator. The works are then interpreted by the viewer to form their own meaning. Being ready mades or found object pieces artistic training or skill are not needed, folks with limited movement or disabilities are not held back and the cost of the works is nominal.
In order to work with veterans I found it necessary to consult with several counselors and get accounted with a few veterans organizations. Through my music programs and abilities I was able to work Guitars for Vets a music therapy organization using basic music training to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and provide informal group therapy. Health Rhythms another similar organization uses a basic drum circle concept to provide an informal and fun environment for rehabilitation.
Further to insure that I had a basic understanding and some limited knowledge of the issues involved with PTSD I consulted with therapist and read through some literature on the subject.
Alizar, T. (2009). Role of museums and libraries in strengthening communities. New York: Nova Science.
Andrei, M. Genoways, H. (2008). museum origins (readings in early museum history and philosophy) Coast Press Walnut Creek CA
Bautista, S. S. (2013). Museums in the digital age: Changing meanings of place,
community, and culture. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
Berger, J (1973) ways of seeing, Penguin Books.
Burnham, R., & Kee, E. (2011). Teaching in the art museum: Interpretation as experience. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum.
Carr, D. (2001). The Museum as a place for learning. Ithaca, N.Y.: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University.
Dierking, L., & Pollock, W. (1998). Questioning assumptions: An introduction to
front-end studies in museums. Washington, D.C.: Association of
Jandrowitz, J. (2002). Dominant and dormant past: A history senior seminar reader. S.l.:
Pearce, S (1992) museum objects and collections, Smithsonian Institute Press Washington
Pitman, B., & Hirzy, E. (2004). New forums: Art museums & communities. Washington, DC: American Association of Museums.
Riedler, M. (2009). The nature and notion of museums in the age of globalization. In E.
M. Delacruz, A. Arnold, A. Kuo, & M. Parsons, (Eds.), Globalization, art, and education (pp. 54-59). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.
Weil, S.E. (2002) making museums matter, Smithsonian Institute Press Washington
Wilson, F. (1994) mining the museum. The New Press.
So I am currently working on a workshop for my final grad project. It is going to be a memory box project similar to the Tesseract school one that was tied in with the Vault Gallery Artificial Curiosities show.
This blog has been presented to document my progress and findings as I try to get my workshop together.
What is an IRB?
Researchers haven't always practice the sorts of ethics one would expect. Now to conduct research of any kind on human subjects many precautions are to be taken. The first of which is to make certain the folks being observed know they are being observed. Second, consent must be obtained from the subjects being researched
I have just researched and completed my first pass on my UF IRB. I understand the need for such protocols and with my subject being veterans I definitely feel I need to tread lightly and cautiously. The veterans I have thus far met are dealing with numerous physical and psychological issues and work I do should not in anyway exasperate or compound these issues.
According to standard protocol set down in most of the literature on PTSD the subject should never be put under stress or made to answer questions or discuss painful or traumatic memories or themes. My project is on memory and compiling found object works similar to those of Cornell. Therefore they should be more opened ended as to their meaning letting the subject lead the process and avoid subjects they uncomfortable with in favor of the joy of creating. Ultimately it is hoped this will become a program copied and borrowed from by numerous museums and community centers adding to the scarce art therapy resources available for vets.
At this point I am already working with several counselors pouring through their guidebooks and literature and hoping to shape the program into something that is PTSD safe.