International conferences bring people from different countries, cultures and religions together. What matters, when it comes to learning more about each other, is the understanding and inspiration that may emerge when stories, experiences and ideas are shared. By introducing creative work in these contexts, offering participation in a collaborative artwork, the art product in itself can become a visible, yet symbolic arch that combines and modifies complex themes and challenges. Likewise, sharing each otherâs experiences from partaking in this kind of work can influence the participantsâ sense of being part of a larger community.
The Artistic Studio, an ongoing community art building project, took place at the 8th AoMO conference in Bled, Slovenia in 2016. The studio offered the participants a space for continual creative expression and reflection throughout the four day conference.
At the formal opening each participant received a pack containing three different colours of plasticine. They were encouraged to use the materiel to express their spontaneous response to their immediate sense of self. Later they shared and explored how these sculptured aspects of self could reflect their sensory and emotional responses to their participation at the conference. After the opening session the sculptures were placed on a table in a central and easily accessed location. In the breaks in-between the different presentations, the participants were free to modify and move their objects, using them as non-verbal and transferred expressions of how different parts of the program affected their thoughts and sensed experiences at any given time.
The digital story The Artistic Studio offers a short oral and visual documentation from this longitudinal creative community work. Photographs illustrate the work in progress. Close-up pictures of self- sculptures combined with feedback from some of the participants exemplify a few of many written responses.