Research Day!

research symposium logo2

Thursday February 28, 2019

9:00am – 5:00pm

The 2019 IEATA Research Symposium is an open-to-the-public event that explores the role of research in the future of Expressive Arts Therapy. Presentations and workshops focus on decolonizing research and utilizing academics as a tool for increasing inclusion and decreasing invisibility in communities.


8:45-9:00 am – Opening and Welcome Keynote: Dr. Susan Ridley


9:00 am – 11:00 am: The Moccasin Project, Understanding One’s Sense of Place

Description: Dr. Carew will discuss her Arts-based, Indigenous research study; The Moccasin Project: Understanding a Sense of Place Through Indigenous Art making and Storytelling. An Art-making experience directed at developing your research plan, locating your “research positionality” using the moccasin as the cultural symbol to earth one’s Indigenous Knowledge. Place-based imagery will encourage a remembrance of indigenous cultural knowledge and a feeling of being connected to the environment. We will also investigate how Place is an important aspect in the healing process among Indigenous peoples.

  • Co Carew, LICSW is an Indigenous scholar, and a doctoral candidate in Expressive Therapies at Lesley University.  She works on Montana’s Indian reservations using expressive arts in relation to community trauma. She currently lives on the Flathead Indian reservation and works at the Salish Kootenai College, a tribal college in Northwest Montana.  Her current research is titled Understanding Self Through Place Based Imagery.


Arts-based Sculpting Process and Professional Reactivity Towards Problematic Clients

Description: Exploring professional reactivity toward problematic clients through an arts-based sculpting process. Devon will present information on a pilot study and current dissertation progress using the method. Then Co and Devon will lead the audience through an experiential encompassing adapted elements of what we present.

  • Devon Govoni is a doctoral candidate at Lesley University within the field of expressive arts therapies. Her research focus is on professional reactivity toward clients and will include working with arts therapists, tattoo artists, and hair stylists in her study. Devon also specializes in oil and mixed media painting, sculpting, and photography. Devon has been a part of many solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. Devon’s art has been published in a multitude of magazine and book publications since the mid 2000’s.


11:00 am-12:00 pm ScholARTivisms: Subversie Strategies to Bring Art Therapy to the Marginalized from the Belly of the Beast (academia)

Description: Giving priority to Indigenous ways and creative ways of being while offering Open Studios, workshops for / with Indigenous girls, art therapy sessions in isolated Indigenous communities – where ever we are invited – is our mission. The University of Northern British Columbia has no official art therapy program, but we have been incrementally inventing one. Using a room ‘of requirement’, resources donated or scrounged, student practicum hours, summer internship hours, hope and courage we have been delivering experiences for people who otherwise would not have an opportunity to experience creative ways to heal (painting, journaling, multimedia art making). We have also been integrating these ‘ways of being’ into the social work classrooms and the social work praxis we do.


  • Si Transken has been teaching for 20 years in social work and gender studies programs. During that time and for two decades before she was using creativity for healing practices with the Women’s Movements/ Antiracism Movements. She has been using art, poetry, storytelling as ways to enhance her teaching and community development. Sydney is a completing her BSW and has been working with vulnerable youth (as this is a context she has also lived). Kimber has been motivated to use her creative verve (trained with University of Florida and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) for healing in all of her travels. She is completing her BSW and has been working with Si and Sydney for almost two years creating an ARTivims program in a university context — using stealth and imagination to break through organizational, class and disciplinary barriers.



12:00 am – 1:00 pm lunch break


1:00-2:00 pm Implementing Standardized Documentation in Outpatient Group Art Therapy

Art therapists have multiple ways we validate, understand, and demonstrate our work within the mental health and medical communities. We have developed a documentation tool to better communicate the intentionality of art therapy and offer insight into the subtle nuances to a larger community. Our research objective was to determine if a standardized documentation in outpatient group sessions may help to define, and ultimately improve, the practice of art therapy. The evaluation of the results so far is helping to demonstrate the mental health benefits that art therapy provides, giving our field a clearer distinction from arts-based activities.

  • Rob Belgrod, ATR-BC, LCAT, is a licensed art therapist and artist from Brooklyn, NY. After 10 years of service, Rob was Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Navy to pursue his career as an art therapist. Rob received his undergraduate degree in Art Therapy from the CUNY Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies program and went on to receive his graduate degree from the School of Visual Arts in Art Therapy. Rob began his career as an art therapist working with adolescents and adults who were incarcerated on Rikers Island. Rob then moved on to join The Art Therapy Project, where he currently provides art therapy groups for adolescents in alternative high schools, adults in substance abuse treatment, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Rob is also an avid wood-worker and photographer.
  • Ian Kwok is a second-year internal medicine resident at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, New York, NY. He received his MD from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and his BA from Columbia University. He is interested in palliative care and enjoys ceramics.
  • Lindsay Lederman, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT, ATCS, has dedicated her career to bringing art therapy to children, adolescents and adults who are most in need. Her undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and her Masters from the School of Visual Arts Art Therapy Program, have provided her with a strong foundation, both in and out of the classroom. Lindsay began her career over 10 years ago at St. Luke’s – Roosevelt as the first art therapist in their child and family outpatient clinic. She went on to join CARES, their adolescent day program, and then started the first art therapy program for Nemours Hospital for Children. Lindsay is also a presenter, professor and seasoned and credentialed supervisor as well as the Clinical Director of The Art Therapy Project.


2:00 – 3:00 pm Challenges and Benefits of Creating Art Alongside Clients

Case studies and personal accounts extending to the founding of the field of art therapy discuss creating art alongside clients as a valuable practice. However, few systematic studies explored this method. The collaborative art-based dissertation explored two research questions: 1. What happens when group art therapists create alongside their clients and 2. What is lost when they do so. This collaborative art-based research explored two research questions: 1. What happens when group art therapists create alongside their clients and 2. What is lost when they do so. This presentation clarifies the therapeutic act of creating art alongside clients, defining and specifying impacts, pinpointing ways to overcome challenges and identifying essential therapist skills. It contributes specific outcomes and communicates practical details for managing risks as well as proficiencies needed to transform challenges into positive therapeutic experiences.

  • Laura Teoli MS ATR-BC, LPC, LCAT is a visiting Assistant professor at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. She is a doctoral candidate at Lesley University researching what happens when art therapists create alongside their clients in the practice of group art therapy. Her dissertation expands upon the practice of making art in the presence of group members highlighting outcomes and adding a balanced perspective of when and how group therapists make art. Laura practiced in a large psychiatric hospital and in residential settings with adolescents and adults for 10 years.


3:00 – 4:00 pm Art Therapy and Cancer Care: A Qualitative Analysis of Visual Oncology Narratives

This presentation reviews the artworks created in the form of visual narratives of cancer survivors. The work sought to explore the subjective experience of cancer and explore potential functions of art therapy in oncology care. The themes included: diagnosis and the onset of the cancer journey; in stilling hope through imagery and recognizing strength in self-expression; ongoing treatment and support; relaxation and re-focus by means of creation, repetition and containment; transition to life after cancer; defining ongoing survivorship and re-establishing resilience; post-cancer growth; and refining a creative identity and re-imagining the self. The work will add to competencies of art therapists working in oncology care and add literature supporting the addition of art therapy to oncology treatment centers.

  • Dr. Jill McNutt is a board certified, licensed art psychotherapist and licensed professional counselor who brings over fifteen years of practice centered in youth services, psycho-social treatment for medical care, psychiatric treatment, art therapy training and supervision. Her personal training and practice is focused in painting and ceramics. Dr. McNutt’s person-centered approach to art therapy focuses on the client’s inner strength and capability to re-create perceptions and experiences of life events. Her doctoral work centers on art therapy as psychosocial treatment in oncology survivorship. She is published in book chapters and peer reviewed journals. Currently, Dr. McNutt is engaged in research protocols that build the promising practice of open art therapy studios toward evidence-based practice. She is the Associate Professor of Art Therapy, Director of MAAT at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana.


4:00- 4:45 pm Challenges and Opportunities for funding in academic research, clinical practice and community programming

This presentation will review the importance of research in applying for grants and funding, the demands for evidence-based practices, and evaluation of programs to justify funding. Challenges and opportunities will be identified as well as how to access resources available to the community. A round-table discussion will focus on identifying the needs of arts-based practitioners.

  • Dr. Susan Ridley is an Assistant Professor of Creative Arts Therapy at West Liberty University in West Virginia and an Adjunct Professor at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Indiana. She has over 25 years’ experience working with diverse communities of various ages, abilities and disabilities including substance abuse problems, mental health issues, developmental disabilities, and physical impairments.  Susan is also an artist, specializing in landscapes, seascapes, animals and murals. Her research interest is in using mirrors as a tool for self-reflection, identity including broken identity, self-care, and art-based research.


4:45 – 5:00 pm – wrap up. Dr. Susan Ridley