In what ways has professional identity affected your arts practice?

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Chrissie Tiller


The first thing I need to say in response to this question is: I am not an art therapist. One half of my professional life is now spent running the MA in Participatory and Community Arts at Goldsmiths. For the rest of my time I identify myself as an advisor, consultant, trainer and practitioner using arts methodologies in other contexts. The reason the invitation to be part of this panel fascinated me was because, in many ways, what I do is not so dissimilar from the role of the art therapist; enabling growth and change through engagement with art. I am also aware that, especially outside the UK, the boundaries between what I call participatory arts and arts therapy are increasingly blurred. So how have my professional identity and my practice informed each other? Why do I call my work participatory art? And what is it in my individual history, education, training and professional context that has informed the way I identify myself? Being part of this panel provided me with a unique opportunity to interrogate all these questions.

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Panel 2. In what ways does professional identity affect the practice of art therapy?