Artful Transitions 2016 – A Resounding Success!


The Artful Transitions Symposium in Christchurch celebrated the vital role that the arts and arts therapies have played in the aftermath of the earthquakes and the ongoing recovery process.
The Friday ‘Ruins, rubble and rebirth ramble’ started at the recently reopened Christchurch Art Gallery who kindly provided a special arts and well-being tour of works being shown in the gallery. An arts therapy nook was set up in the foyer and it was a delight to see so many arts therapists, both local and visiting, gathering to stitch hearts out of fabric and haberdashery and to meet other attendees of the Symposium. Many took the two guided walks to explore the art and architecture and the effects of the earthquake which are still so evident in this recovering city.
This orientation in the city gave participants context in which to receive the first morning of the Symposium where locals Dr Deborah Green and Bettina Evans gave a moving presentation of their experiences during and after the major earthquake events, all the while we stitched more hearts to help us process the strong emotions that were evoked. This was followed by a fascinating and literally moving presentation by Hong Kong dance and movement therapist Prof Rainbow Ho. The Saturday afternoon offered a variety of presentations and workshops. The day ended with a visit to the Dance-o-mat in the central CBD where lots of attendees got the chance to be both DJs and dancers!


Sunday morning saw the space transformed into the Festival of Artful Transitions. This was a huge success with Symposium participants and members of the public all enjoying the wide array of creative activities. Many of these were generously provided by local practitioners who had played an important role in the creative recovery after the earthquakes. Particularly popular were the mosiacs made from earthquake damaged crockery, the wood sculpture construction from demolition timber, the doll-making and the jewellery-making stands. The spacious time given to the morning’s activities was greatly appreciated, giving participants a much welcome chance to informally interact and enjoy creating together.


The afternoon consisted of the AGM for ANZATA members, while the CTAA hosted workshops for non-members. We all came together for a heart-felt closure lead by music therapist Heather Fletcher and Rainbow Ho. Thank you Christchurch, Ntec Tertiary Group, the organisers, all the volunteers from Whitecliffe College and ACATA, and to everybody else who made this event happen! It was fabulous.