The director of our counseling program and I are developing a workshop for the young people (teens aged 14 to 19) in our peer education program. The kids are creating a music / theater / spoken word piece that deals, among other things, with domestic violence. The stories that have emerged as part of the creative process have been moving and disturbing, and the group leaders approached us to come up with a presentation that would help put some of that into perspective as well as provide some resources for participants or audience members who wanted or needed more information or assistance.
Just as I started thinking of what I’d want to include in the workshop, I went up to Providence for the WE LEARN conference. Walking into the downtown campus of the University of Rhode Island, I found that the striking and intense work of The Clothesline Project was on display along with a series of artworks also addressing issues of domestic violence. Clotheslines were strung with t-shirts from the second floor staircase down to the ground floor. Some were very simple, others quite involved, all were powerful. I want to incorporate these images and ideas into the workshop, but haven’t figured out the “how” of that yet.
The most painful part of the exhibit was the gallery of women lost to DV:
We have a lot of work to do to pull our presentation together, but I hope there’s room to include some of these, a way to include them that won’t shut us all down with pain and anger.