A Model for Trauma-Informed and Healing-Centered Practice Through the Arts


Can the arts education sector be a leader in implementing trauma-informed and healing-centered strategies and principles? This session offers insight into Ingenuity’s Trauma-Informed and Healing-Centered Training Program Through the Arts and explores a corresponding guidebook, as a model and tool, for not only understanding and being aware of trauma, but for actively promoting collective healing and integrating trauma-informed approaches in both the arts classroom and within organizational practice. Through its Institutes, Ingenuity strives to weave together multiple voices, approaches and experiences. COVID-19, ongoing racial injustice and the economic downturn of 2020 challenged us to more fully explore the ways in which arts can be a tool for recovery from crisis and to embrace trauma-informed, healing-centered engagement and an equity mindset in our teaching practices and work, so we are ready to meet students where they are today. This session explores connections among themes and trends that emerged during this engagement process and shares insights from one of our community arts partners. Participants can engage with the developed Trauma-Informed and Healing-Centered Guidebook and reflect on case examples and guiding questions. This session provides tangible tools for strategizing and implementing healing-centered practices.


Bryna Shindell, Assistant Director, National and Affiliate Services, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
Cate Bechtold, Director, Internships and Community Programs, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
Valerie Branch, Master Teaching Artist, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Access additional 2021 AEP Virtual Gathering resources here.

Author profile

When I was asked to create a work of art exploring literacy, I wanted to create a dance but I had no dancers or a studio, so I chose to use my own body in the space I had, my yard. Fluent Nature is video of micro-choreography that explores what cannot be expressed with words, how nature has its own language, and how placing the human body in nature changes the story.

Title: What Is Me and What Is Not Me | Artist: Alex Chadwell | Medium: Music

My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

Title: A Curious Honeybee | Artist: Gideon Young | Medium: Film

Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

Title: Tercera Llamada | Artist: Karilú Forshee | Medium: Audio

La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

Title: Literaseas | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite and ink on paper with digital edits

Title: A Riddle | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits

Title: False Binaries | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits