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2009 International Conference


conference logo   8th International Conference
August 12-15, 2009
Hosted by Lesley University
Cambridge, MA

More than 475 participants from around the globe attended the IEATA 2009 Biennial International Conference in Cambridge, MA, making this truly an international event.

Hosted by Lesley University over six days in August, the event featured 71 conference presentations, plus seven full-day pre-conference and eight half-day post-conference offerings. Robert and Dicki Macy, and David Gere delivered the two keynote addresses.

Other events included an IEATA business meeting, regional meetings, a banquet and Shining Star Award ceremony, and an engaging performance by Paolo Knill and Elizabeth McKim followed by an open mic. Participants also enjoyed a special celebration honoring Lesley University’s centennial.

group photo

Social Action Project

Our two-day community action project, Peace Arts Zone: Peace-ing our Communities Together, was a great success, bringing together six Boston-area youth groups and six elder centers to creatively explore peace in the community. This event was co-sponsored by Phillip Speiser and the Whittier Street Health Center in Boston.

Participants included nearly 100 IEATA volunteers from all parts of the world, including Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Russia, Taiwan and Israel. After a rich day of training, the volunteers and youth groups visited elder centers to connect, share stories of peace, sing and create silhouettes – outlines of the elders’ faces, filled in with images and words of peace. Woven together into two 5’ x 9’ murals, the silhouettes were displayed at the conference, along with a video documenting the project.

In conjunction with the Boston-based event, a global social action initiative engaged communities around the world, culminating in a video slideshow showcasing these international efforts.

Pre- and Post-conference Presentations

Pre-conference presenters:

  • Shaun McNiff, Expressive Arts Therapy as a Process of Change
  • Vivien Marcow-Speiser and Phillip Speiser, Creating Change in the World: Expressive Therapy Approaches
  • Robert Macy and Dicki Macy, Social Action-Transformational Processes for the Collective: Resiliency, Attunement & Attachment
  • Stephen K. Levine and Ellen Levine, Voices from the Underground: A Bouffon Workshop
  • RAW ARTS: (Jason Cruz, Mary Flannery, Kit Jenkins, Beau Diehl), (On-site workshop in Lynn, MA), This Is How We Do It 
  • Natalie Rogers and Mutki Khanna, Creating Collective Resonance: Toward Healing Seven Generations
  • Kathleen Horne, Victoria Domenichello-Anderson and the Expressive Arts Florida team (REACE), Seed of Change: Cultivating a Community Expressive Arts Practice

Post-conference presenters:

  • Sally Atkins and ASU faculty, Rituals of Compassion
  • Kyoko Ono (Japan), Inner Peace, Serenity and Passion through Japanese Culture
  • Carylbeth Thomas (Lesley University), The Sound of Community: Midwifing the Voice
  • Graciela Bottini (Argentina) and Maria Gonzalez-Blue, Peace-ing the Roots
  • Keren Schecter (Israel) and Yousef Al-Alarma (Palestine), A Piece on Peace
  • Adriana Marchione (Tamalpa), The Expressive Body: The Work of Tamalpa Institute
  • Julia Byers (Lesley University), Coming From Somewhere Else: Experiences of Transparency in “Waiting”
  • Lisa Donavan (Creative Arts in Learning at Lesley – Expressive Arts educator/consultants), The Arts as a Catalyst to Spark Civic Dialogue


The conference began with a warmup through music and movement led by Paolo Knill and enhanced by musicians Stan Strickland, Harold McKinney and Mitchell Kossak. Welcoming remarks followed by IEATA Executive Co-chairs Syntha Lorenz and Nicki Koethner, and by Vivien Marcow-Speiser, Dean of Lesley University’s Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, Shaun McNiff, Dean of Lesley College, and Provost Martha McKenna.


Dr. Robert Macy and Dicki Macy of the Children's Trauma Recovery Foundation explored the fundamental therapeutic variables and social transformation elements of the Expressive Therapies-based Classroom-Community-Culture Based Intervention (CBI), which has been adopted for use worldwide as a psychosocial stabilization and traumatic stress reduction program following natural and manmade disasters. A recent cluster-controlled trial in Indonesia demonstrated rates of efficacy on par with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The Macys also covered quantitative and qualitative study results, and anthropologic and ethnophysiologic approaches.

The two founders and developers, graduates of the Lesley University Expressive Therapy program, used lecture, film and audience participation to demonstrate how CBI reduces traumatic stress, maintains hope – even in the face of war – and ultimately creates social transformation among participants. This interactive keynote included slides and video of their work after the Tsunami in Indonesia, the earthquake in Turkey, and with refugee communities in Sudan and Palestine. The presentation also included a beautiful movement performance with their Isadora Duncan dance group, demonstrating the essence and core of their work.

For our second keynote, Dr. David Gere presented an engaging program on several projects related to AIDS and bringing AIDS awareness to the public. He shared results from an ongoing hospital project in Chennai, India, and a global participatory photography exhibition created in collaboration with South African photojournalist Gideon Mendel. Through photographs, video and lively interaction with the community, Gere brought his work to life and informed the community about using the arts to bring awareness of a very difficult and often marginalized subject into mainstream consciousness.

Dr. Gere teaches at the University of California at Los Angeles and is the director of MAKE ART/STOP AIDS, an international network of artists intervening in the AIDS epidemic, director of the Art/Global Health Center, and associate professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures.

Conference Presentations 

Conference participants chose among 71 presentations offered as three-hour or 90-minute workshops. Presentations varied in format, often combining lecture, panel discussion, performance and/or experiential elements.   


Paolo Knill and Elizabeth McKim gave an inspired performance, The Heart of the Matter, through music and poetry on the first evening of the conference, followed by a rousing open-mic event. 


The IEATA board met in evening and all-day sessions, and held a business meeting with the IEATA community. A panel of REACE and REAT offered information about applying for these two types of professional registration.

Education Fair/Poster Session

An educational fair highlighted various programs from around the world, and the poster session showcased new work that is adding to the body of Expressive Arts research.

Banquet and Shining Star Award Dinner

Steven and Ellen Levine were honored at this year’s banquet as the recipients of the Shining Star Award, given to individuals (or in this case a couple) who have demonstrated outstanding service to the IEATA community. Steve and Ellen graciously accepted with humor and humility. The banquet also included live music and dancing.  

Lesley Centennial Celebration

Lesley University, in conjunction with the IEATA conference, kicked off its Centennial Celebration with free performances by Expressive Arts community groups run by Lesley’s Expressive Therapy alumni, with special recognition of the founder of Lesley’s program, Dr. Shaun McNiff. The event featured a performance by alumni Stan Strickland and Express Yourself (founded 1989 to help immerse young people into the creative world of music, dance and visual arts), and an exhibition of artists and filmmakers from RAW Art Works. RAW was founded in 1988 and honored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the President's Council on the Arts and Humanities, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.


The conference organizers deeply appreciate all of the volunteers who helped to make this conference a success.

Conference summary by
Karen Estrella and Mitchell Kossak, co-chairs,
IEATA 2009 Conference Committee



2009 Conference Photos

lesley university

Lesley University in Cambridge, MA
Host of the 2009 conference

tracing silhouettes

Participants in the two-day Peace Arts Zone social action project created silhouettes of elders' faces.
(photo by David Eckelkamp)

social action volunteers

Inspired by the pre-conference intergenerational social action project, incoming freshmen from Roger Williams University visited the elderly residents in Bristol, RI. (photo by Alison Kaczmarek)

mural of silhouettes

Outlines of the elders’ faces, filled in with images and words of peace were woven together into two 5’ x 9’ murals and displayed at the conference. (photo by David Eckelkamp)

group photo

Person-Centered Expressive Arts instructors, trained at the Person-Centered Expressive Therapy Institute founded by Natalie Rogers (second from left), reunited for lunch. (photo by Sheri Gaynor)


Participants in the session titled "Imprisoned by Concepts of Manhood" experienced an expressive arts approach used with male inmates in correctional facilities. (photo by Evan Hastings)

pieced together

The conference offered a rich variety of pre- and post-conference sessions, including Julia Byers' "Coming From Somewhere Else: Experiences of Transparency in ‘Waiting.’” (photo by Julia Riley)


Attendees celebrate Lesley University's Centennial.

art exhibit

Conference participants view an exhibit by RAW Art Works, a nonprofit youth arts organization that provides innovative ways for young people to engage in art-making.




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