A lecture by Dr. Sally Skaife on Tuesday 19th. January 2016 at 7pm “On being ‘white’: an art therapist’s perspective”

Sally Skaife (PhD) is a qualified art psychotherapist and group analyst. She worked in adult psychiatry for many years before coming to work at Goldsmiths, University of London where she is now a Senior lecturer in Art Psychotherapy. Sally has run art psychotherapy groups both privately and within Freedom from Torture.   She has been a past chairperson of the British Association of Art Therapists and an editor of the association’s journal, then called ‘Inscape’. She co-edited ‘Art Psychotherapy groups: Between Pictures and Words’ and has published numerous chapters and journal articles. Her research interests are in the politics and philosophy of art therapy groups and experiential groups.

s.skaife@gold.ac.uk, Sally Skaife, STaCS, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW

Sally writes this about her topic: “I have found that talking about race in a mixed race setting can be incredibly difficult and uncomfortable; as a ‘white’ person, my experience of race can never be the same as a ‘black’ person’s. Psychotherapists have often sought to understand racism as a form of projection of unwanted parts of the self onto ‘the other’ who is different from them. It is then other people who are racist and those who are self-aware can avoid it. However, the legacy of slavery and colonialism throws its shadow on us all and we inevitably repeat the power relations involved despite our intentions. In this paper I will discuss my growing awareness of the significance of being ‘white’ and working as an art therapist educator and as an art therapist with ‘black’ colleagues, trainees and clients. I will talk about the way in which the hierarchy of white/black stems from a mind/body binary which is also the root of a talk/art binary. I will discuss the way these hierarchical binaries have been played out in my groups and will attempt a deconstruction of an art therapy group session where the group members were all Black African and the two therapists White British.  The aim is to discuss ways in which we can avoid repeating patterns of domination.”

 

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