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The power of popular education and visual arts for trauma survivors’ critical consciousness and collective action

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How can visual arts and popular education pedagogy contribute to collective recovery from and reconstruction after trauma? This question framed the design and delivery of the Trauma Recovery and Reconstruction Group (TRRG), which consisted of 12 group sessions delivered to clients (trauma survivors) of the Centre for Concurrent Disorders (CCD) in Vancouver, Canada. Data were generated through individual and group interviews, observations (field notes) and creation of visual images. The use of popular education and visual art methods proved to be a powerful approach to deepening understanding and taking action. Participants learned how the delivery of mental health services, as well as acting as systems of exclusion organized around gender, race and class, were implicated in their (re)traumatization. Through the popular education process, participants also identified actions that could enhance their collective recovery and reconstruction. Implications arising from the study include the need for ongoing contextually oriented assessment to accurately determine states of health and stress, and the value of collective popular education and visual arts methods for clinically based trauma related psycho-education.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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