MA Art Psychotherapy students reflect on the 2020 ‘Showcase Day’, an event which brought together students from all 3 years of the course.
Jess Gordon: MA Art Psychotherapy Year 1
For me, the most striking part of the Showcase Day was the display of artwork from across the three-year groups. Before starting the course I was told ‘It’s a journey… it will change you’. Certainly, the first six months have been challenging in every way: new ideas, new theories, new friendships, new exploration of myself and my relationships. So when we were asked to contribute a piece of art expressing ‘who we are as artists’ for the exhibition, my heart sank. Who am I these days? Do I even know? But as I have been learning on the course, art can make the unconscious parts of ourselves visible and concrete. I didn’t need to worry about knowing - just doing was enough. As I looked around, the variety of artwork struck me; all of us following the same course, but each on a different path. The art is unique to each of us, but it also connects us. It fills the space between ‘me’ and ‘you’, becoming something we made together. And as a result, we both understand each other - and ourselves - a little better. When I came to my own piece, I stopped and thought, ’Aah, I see now. That’s where I am at the moment’. Just don’t ask me to put it into words.
Louise Evans: MA Art Psychotherapy Year 2
Showcase Day is designed with Art Psychotherapy students’ emerging identity and professional development in mind. Working collaboratively, students transformed lecture rooms into exhibition spaces to rival any modern gallery and exhibited pieces that represented their artistic practice. The day felt celebratory of the rich and diverse range of thoughts, styles and mediums. Five graduates returned to the campus to share their own personal journeys, talking about their learning process and their experiences of entering the job market. Their moving narratives resonated with me and I found their generous insights truly inspiring. University of South Wales lecturer and Dance Therapist, Dr Thania Acaron, fascinated the room with her personal search for subject knowledge, whilst experiential exercises offered me an insight into an allied discipline that will inform my practice and enable me to consider my clients holistically.
The Showcase Day 2020 achieved a number of objectives for me. It focused my attention on being an exhibiting artist, whilst inspiring me to join my British Association of Art Therapists regional group and begin my professional journey. It also motivated me to discover my line of enquiry within Art Psychotherapy. What is my specific interest? What would I travel halfway across the world to learn? At this moment in time, I am truly excited to answer my own questions.
Lizzie Cox: MA Art Psychotherapy Year 3
From my perspective, the Showcase Day bore resemblance to the final, confident marks of a sketch; drawing out the shapes that could be the beginnings of a lifelong masterpiece in the making.
As final deadlines and graduation draw closer each moment, it was both a pleasure and a privilege to be given the opportunity to appreciate the creations of our fellow journeymen. The Showcase was an illustrated reminder of our creative talents for our computer-screen addled, dissertation-filled minds. Alongside this, it exhibited the therapeutic power of coming together and sharing in our collective personal expression and left me fizzing with ideas.
Meeting the other trainees and practitioners was a joy. There was a celebratory atmosphere of an extended-family gathering, full of inspiring and heartening conversations. I was undoubtedly reassured to hear the post-graduation chapters from several alumni’s stories. Mirroring this, a first-year student gave me a look of impressed bewilderment at learning I am in the third year and I was in turn, able to assure him that whilst this Masters is not a journey for the faint-hearted, if it’s right for him and it’s right now, he can do it.
Find out more about studying Art Psychotherapy at USW.