Trent University’s Professor Carla Rice to Launch New Series of Digital Storytelling Workshops on April 25
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Arts-based Project Designed to Improve Women’s Lives
Wednesday, April 16, 2008, Peterborough
A new series of free digital storytelling workshops is about to get underway in Peterborough, and is scheduled to take place April 25, May 6, May 8, May 15 and May 16.
Women with disabilities and physical differences are invited to attend, and need to be able to participate in all sessions.
For further information or to register, please contact Lorna at (416) 351-3733, or Melissa at (705) 743-3526
Women with disabilities and physical differences are embarking on a venture to transform their public image, thanks to a groundbreaking arts-based project entitled “Envisioning New Meanings of Difference and Disability”, involving Dr. Carla Rice, associate professor in the Women’s Studies department at Trent University.
Using arts-based interventions initiated by women themselves, such as photography, digital storytelling, and ethnodrama, this project aims to address issues of social exclusion by creating affirming imagery intended to improve women’s lives.
“This is really amazing from my perspective,” said Prof. Rice, who began working with groups of women earlier this year using arts-based methods combined with a process called narrative therapy. “I feel like our method is working to revision meanings. It’s challenging for women not to recreate dominant stereotypes and to tell their story in new ways.”
“Many of the women have gone through experiences in medical systems marked with a lack of control or respect and haven’t had the same sense of body privacy that others do,” noted Prof. Rice. “There also is knowledge in having a disability or physical difference that comes from the process of being outside the norm. The question we are trying to address is how can we present a more nuanced perspective.”
She described one participant who explained that there was no place she can go in the world where she could feel a sense of belonging. “However, this also freed her, and enabled her to create her own identity and community. Not being perceived as a typical woman in some ways released her from conforming to beauty ideals,” said Prof. Rice.
As this body of new artwork and theatrical pieces develops, the next stage of the project will involve engaging health and social service providers, the media, and the broader public in re-visioning meanings of difference interwoven across cultural images and interactions.
“It is very important to look at how cultural misconceptions are perpetuated through healthcare providers,” said Prof. Rice. “I want to move beyond attitudes to capture providers’ thoughts, emotions, and imaginations to shift responses – that’s what arts-based interventions can do so well.”
The outcomes of this project promise to be very powerful, and reflect Prof. Rice’s passion for conducting truly meaningful research. “We all face feelings of unattractiveness and vulnerability. Through this project we are trying to look at the relationship between people with and without disabilities and differences. In order to do this, we need to look at the roots of our own fears and anxieties about bodily fragility, dependence, incapacity, and illness. This project is as much about changing perceptions of others and ourselves as it is about creating new knowledge.”
A new series of free digital storytelling workshops is about to get underway in Peterborough, and is scheduled to take place April 25, May 6, May 8, May 15 and May 16. Women with disabilities and physical differences are invited to attend, and need to be able to participate in all sessions.
For further information or to register, please contact Lorna at (416) 351-3733 or
firstname.lastname@example.org, or Melissa at (705) 743-3526
This event is sponsored by the YWCA Peterborough, YWCA Sudbury, Trent University, Women’s College Research Institute, and Springtide Resources.
For further information, please contact:
Professor Carla Rice
(705) 748-1011, ext. 7088