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BuildaBridge Institute Report


BuildaBridge Institute Arcadia University, Glenside, PA BuildaBridge Institute is a training applied research academy that byand [Article Author] prepares artists, community and congregational leaders, social service professionals, and nonprofit organization personnel to integrate the arts effectively in education and community development. The 11th Annual Open Institute commenced on the morning of Wednesday June 6 with a room full of eager students. Taking place on the scenic campus of Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, twenty-three (23) participants from around the country and around the world gathered together to take part in a week of intense learning about the transformative power of the creative arts. Besides many coming from Philadelphia, participants came from states including Florida, Maryland, California, Louisiana and

Georgia and some came from as far as Canada, Haiti, Israel and Singapore. With a faculty of twenty-five (25) professional artists, therapists and professors, students took part in five days of classes which included Skills Development Workshops in the evening and two days of Methods Labs. Special one day courses were offered on Monday June 11. An additional fifteen (15) people arrived to take part in the Arts Relief course and the recently added Introduction to Restorative Discipline Practices course. Lectures were joined by people from the around the world and around the US who tuned in to watch live broadcasts of sessions. Eastern University’s Master of Arts in Urban Studies students continued with their residency at the BuildaBridge House until June 14. 1

Open Institute June 6-11 The Open Institute offers courses for participants in Track I (first year participants) and Track II (second year returning participants).

Graduate Residency June 6-14 BuildaBridge partners with Eastern University as a community instructional partner for The Master of Arts Degree in Urban Studies: Arts in Transformation Concentration (AITC).


Track 1 Courses Foundation for Arts in Transformation Dr. Nathan Corbitt, co-founder and President of BuildaBridge International, began Track I students off by laying a solid theoretical foundation in the Foundations for Arts in Transformation course. The three classes in this course, Envisioning Transformation: A process Model, The Good Life, and Ritual and Guided

Construction of Meaning, touched on the basic terms of the arts in transformation model as well as concepts, models and practices related to the creative arts for work with populations living in contexts of poverty and crisis. Dr. Corbitt discussed the power of the arts and the basic principles for effective arts engagement. Ideas about creating visions and missions, goal setting, assessment and impact documentation in regards to an organization were also discussed. The ideas presented in this course helped set the stage for

the fields of arts-based community development, cultural community development, development communication, arts-integrated teaching and therapeutic arts. “The institute incorporated lots of hands on experiences, these experiences were an extremely effective way to learn (first hand) and understand the concepts applied by BuildaBridge”

Arts in Education Dr. Vivian Nix-Early, co-founder and COO of BuildaBridge International, presented a lesson model to participants in their first session, integrating the four goals of the BuildaBridge Classroom Modelsm as an illustration of a child-centred and hope-infused artsintegrated education. Sessions two and three focused on giving participants the basic mechanics of creating arts-integrated and art-as-metaphor curricula and lesson plans that can be used to teach humanities, science and other academic subjects. These sessions also modelled the elements of the trauma-informed BuildaBridge Classroom. “I like the Arts in Education component, learning how to write lesson plans that integrate art as an essential component of the lesson…”

Dr. Nix-Early had students up on their feet, singing and dancing as she led them in songs and games that are frequently used the BuildaBridge classrooms. BuildaBridge teaching artists Magi Ross and Jamaine Smith led a typical BuildaBridge class on the first evening of the Institute so students could see first-hand the principles they were learning put into action. This helped set the stage for the methods classes that participants were apart of later in the week. 2


Arts, Creativity and Human Development Dr. Lili Levinowitz, professor of Music Education at Rowan University, taught the first session, How Children Develop Musically. In this interactive class, participants explored how children grow musically and how the adult can foster that music development through music experiences. Dr. Levinowitz talked about the role of parents and caregivers as essential to the music development of young children and showed students music and movement activities that are helpful to use with children for music learning. The visual arts session on Development Milestones for Children was taught by artist and art therapist Rachel Braun. The art therapy section of the presentation presented students with a comprehensive overview of the normal stages of development through the visual arts. Attendees learned how to identify the various stages, indicators of emotional and social growth, media appropriate for each stage, how to engage children in discussions about their artwork, and when to refer a child to an art therapist. Focusing on the movement aspect of development in children and youth, Dr. Gayle Gates, professional counselor and professor at Drexel University, introduced students to an overview of developmental body movement. Dr. Gates explained to students how the body and movement are essential to and interconnected with expression, interaction and communication and all phases of development. Students participated in movement experiences which helped to put into practice the ideas they learned.

Arts and Spiritual Development Ceramic pots, hammers, paint, markers, collage and live music were all incorporated into David Melby-Gibbons’ session on the Foundations of Spirituality. Melby-Gibbons, teacher and musician from California, shared with Track I students a story titled “The Cracked Pot: A Story for Anyone Who’s Not Quite Perfect”. After reading this story, Check out some students received their own pots to hit, crack, smash and change in whatever way they chose. As of David MelbyMelby-Gibbons played guitar, students worked away on their creations until each person had a piece Gibbons’ songs of art all their own. Dr. Anna Giesenberg joined the class via Skype to discuss her Ph.D. dissertation, here. “The Phenomenon of Preschool Children’s Spirituality”, Watch a song which was required reading for the class. created by Track I students here.

Dr. Joe Modica, Eastern University chaplain and professor, continued the discussion of arts and spirituality in his session “Faith is a Verb”: A Brief Overview of Faith Development and Theories. Dr. Modica explained to students how faith is a verb, making it a dynamic and active concept as opposed to the inactive and object view of faith as a noun. Faith development theories were discussed as well as examples of how faith development can be studied qualitatively and quantitatively. Special guest Dr. Geri Lynn Peak concluded Arts and Spiritual Development with a presentation on Virtues and Values for Children and Youth. Peak taught the session using the world renowned The Virtues Project ™. Students discussed the definitions of virtues and values, explored how the concept of virtues is seen as universal and positive qualities of character support and participated in interactive exercises. 3


Methods Labs Methods Labs act as a hands-on and fully interactive experience for participants to observe and assist a master teacher in the classroom. Track I students participated in Methods Labs at two separate BuildaBridge community partner sites.

BuildaBridge teaching artist Jamaine Smith taught a visual arts class to a room full of four energetic kids and eight equally as energetic Institute students. Prior to the week of the Institute, Jamaine taught four classes, using the idea of a traditional Hope Quilt, handcrafted quilts with hidden meanings used during the Underground Railroad, as his inspiration. With the help of the visiting students, the children were able to stitch their drawings of hope together and create their own Hope Quilt. It was hung with pride by overjoyed kids thrilled to show off their creation to friends and family.

Weaving with Seniors Track II students visited Caring Heart Manor retirement center for their Methods Labs. Students observed teacher Kathryn Pannepacker as she explained the project to the seniors and demonstrated how to use yarn to attach to a plastic chain link fence. Each class started by establishing their “studio� (the table everyone sat around), saying the BuildaBridge

Motto, and repeating messages of hope that the seniors and students created together. In this experience, students were able to individually help seniors, observe the teaching methods that Pannepacker used, and create a sense of community by getting to know each person and listen and share personal stories. By the end of the third day, a beautiful weaving of yarn and personal messages was finished and ready for display (shown at bottom right). The textile project was enjoyed by all and will be kept at Caring Heart so others may enjoy it as well. 4

Master teacher Magira Ross taught a fun filled and high energy African dance class to a group of enthusiastic kids and Institute students. Like Mr. Smith, Mama Magi spent the four weeks prior to the Institute teaching this class. Because of this, participants experienced first-hand the BuildaBridge Classroom Modelsm.


Track II Courses Arts in Healing In the Arts in Healing course, Dr. Jim Borling touched on the importance of music as a healing agent. Not only is music very therapeutic, but it can also help be a reflection of our inner self. The Art of Music was discussed from a variety of human domains which included social, emotional, physiological, cognitive and spiritual. Art psychotherapist Dr. Mindy Jacobson-Levy presented on the use of the art psychotherapy process as an instrument for healing. Using visual arts as her focus, JacobsonLevy explained the value of art making in therapy and in the community. For those who have experienced trauma, using art and imagery may be a better form of expression rather than the use of words. Students also participated in an experiential exercise where they created their own individual piece of art. Students did many movement exercises with dance therapist Dr. Ellen Schelly-Hill in her session. Schelly-Hill presented on the therapeutic relationship and creative movement process that make contributions to cultivating resilience in at-risk youth. Students learned about the healing relationship which is child centered, culturally sensitive and meets the child where he or she is. Dr. Gene Ann Behrens discussed neurodevelopment with students in her session Neurobiology of Trauma in the Arts. In this session, participants learned about the relationship between individuals with unresolved trauma and their


emotions. Talking therapy can cause individuals to relive their trauma experience; therefore, art can be an effective form of therapy to assist them in reintegrating their physiological and emotional responses connected to the traumatic experience.

Arts in Social Services Students learned about Arts in Social Services in sessions with Dr. David Bronkema, chair of the School of Leadership and Development at Eastern University and Trapeta Mayson, social worker and poet. Bronkema identified different types of organizations (grassroots, government, bilateral, etc.) and their motivations, systems they have created and the issues they address. Mayson discussed with students the diverse profiles of children in social service. She stressed the importance of working with children from a strength based perspective.

Track II students hard at work creating their own visual art project in Dr. Jacobson-Levy’s session for Arts in Healing.

A Track II student works on a visual art exercise during one of the sessions.

Leadership Practicum Track II students finished off their courses with a series of Leadership Practicum sessions. Faculty members Dr. Nathan Corbitt, Barbara Price-Davis and Tracie Blummer provided the participants with the opportunity to learn different tools for program planning, program funding and assessment. Students also were presented with ideas on how to select and manage personnel, how to envision a program and the creating of objectives. 5

Dr. Joe Modica discusses with students the idea of “faithing “in his session for Arts and Spiritual Development.

“The best part of the Institute was seeing the participants and faculty open to child-like joy, attention, and playfulness.”


Special One Day Courses Arts Relief On Monday June 11, the BuildaBridge Institute offered two courses for people to come for one day and attend. An additional fifteen people from the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland areas joined Track I and II participants to take part in these specialized courses. The Arts Relief course offered three separate sessions to its participants. The first session, Psychological First Aid, was taught by Dr. Ruth Hoskins on behalf of the American Red Cross. Participants learned how to respond to local and national disasters and how to provide basic care, comfort, and support to people who are experiencing disaster related stress. Knowing how to use Psychological First Aid can help you to assess what a person may need at a particular time, provide immediate support to those in stressful situations and create a compassionate environment for disaster survivors and workers. Upon completing this session, each participant received a Certificate in Psychological First Aid from the Red Cross. Session two, taught by art therapist Dr. Christine Wineberg, introduced the creative arts therapy student, therapist or artist to a protocol for personal and professional preparation. To conclude the class, Wineberg had the participants stand in a circle and sing together a calming song with a message of healing and hope. “When I breathe in, I breathe in peace. When I breathe out, I breather out love”

Dr. Gene Ann Behrens returned to teach the last session for Arts Relief. Dr. Behrens shared with participants a special presentation about her music therapy work with children in Palestine who had been traumatized by the on-going conflict in the region. Students learned in great detail about the work and research that went in to planning such a trip and about the outcome data that resulted from the experience. By watching videos and hearing stories of the music therapy sessions with the children, participants were able to gain an understanding of just how important music can be as a healing method to those in areas of conflict.

Introduction to Restorative Discipline Practices This year, Introduction to Restorative Discipline Practices, taught by Dr. Vivian NixEarly, was added to the one day sessions. Taking its beginnings from the restorative justice movement, restorative practices is a practical approach to interacting with students, and is a set of techniques and philosophies that can be applied in any “Learning alongside of other context. This course provided students with committed artists creates the most incredible sort of community.” a solid introduction to restorative practices. Dr. Nix-Early showed participants how the use of restorative practices as an alternative to punishment focused discipline is helpful in reducing misbehavior, bullying, violence and crime among students. 6


Skills Development Workshops Drumming Taught by master drummer Dr. Jim Borling, this workshop allowed participants to learn basic drumming techniques and also how drumming can be used to allow for personal and cultural growth. Participants learned about conscious drumming, a model of group drumming that is used to facilitate individual expression while in a group setting. Drumming circles were offered each day giving all participants the chance to let their emotions out, experience the spirituality of the moment and feel at one with the rhythm of the group.

Storytelling The storytelling workshop was incredibly interactive. Participants in this workshop spent the first day simply talking with one another, telling stories, and answering the inquisitive questions of teacher Mark Lyons. The next few days were spent developing individual stories, and recording them live. Lyons showed participants the technology that can be used to morph everyday stories into an artistic masterpiece. Students added their own music and edited feverishly. Their final project was presented to the entire Institute group during the Skills Development Celebration.

Transformational Drama Professional theater teacher Amy Scheer led the Transformational Drama workshop offered at this year’s Institute. Inspired by the great Augusto Boal, Scheer taught participants about Boal’s globally recognized Theatre of the Oppressed. By playing several games each session, participants acquired an extensive knowledge of games to use when working with children and adults. In this workshop, participants were actively learning how to use theater as an effective healing method when working with people who have experienced trauma.

Mask Making Mask Making offered a chance for Institute participants to make a unique and personal mask of their own from start to finish. Dr. Maria Carlini, co-founder and director of Creative Therapies Enterprises, taught students the process in making masks as well as ideas on transcendent formation theory. In three days, participants casted a plaster mold of their faces and decorated it in great detail. The finished products were presented along with an individually written haiku about the mask at the Skills Development Celebration. 7


Institute Goes Live This year, the Annual Institute tried something completely new—broadcasting live. With the help of Google staff and the use of Google+ Hangouts On Air, BuildaBridge was able to technologically expand the Institute to reach a global audience. Fifteen sessions were broadcasted live over the internet with participants actively engaging through use of Google+ Hangouts and watching the live streaming of the sessions on our website. Each live broadcast was then recorded and instantly uploaded to YouTube so it could be accessed and viewed by anyone in the world. As of late June 2012, a total of 225 individuals have viewed our Institute videos on YouTube. People from the Philippines, Kenya and across the United States tuned in to watch our lecturers and drum along with us during our drumming circle. Due to this new and ever growing technology, the Annual Institute has been able to reach the widest audience ever in its history. With the success of live broadcasting using Google+ Hangouts On Air, BuildaBridge plans to use this technology for expanded training in the future.

Sponsors and Collaborators Arcadia University is Philadelphia's global university and a pioneer in international education. Arcadia is a topranked private university offering bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. More than 4,000 students choose from among 80 fields of study. U.S. News & World Report ranks Arcadia University among the top tier of regional universities in the North. Eastern University is a co-educational Christian university of the arts that includes undergraduate, graduate, Seminary and accelerated adult programs. Eastern’s School for Social Change offers a master’s degree in Urban Studies, in which students learn to be effective Christian leaders in urban settings and can choose a concentration in either Arts in Transformation, Community Development or Youth Leadership. View the Institute Viewbook.

2013 Institute Dates: June 5-10, 2013 8


BuildaBridge Institute Report

June 2012 BuildaBridge 205 West Tulpehocken St. Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.842.0428


BuildaBridge Institute 2012 Report  

BuildaBridge Institute 2012 Report

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