This blog was begun during my PhD studies in Educational Technology at Concordia University in Montreal. I stopped writing a number of months ago… lets be honest 2.5 years ago which eventually mirrored my ambivalence towards the subject I was first passionate about: online interactive media that supports professional development and life long learning. As a real passion it lasted 8 years. Though the interest in such subjects has not disappeared they’ve faded into the background. My adverse reaction to too much disembodied textual relating was very real. The need to go back to the hands on making of art, an embodied experience with materials was a soul rescuing necessity.
A new curve ball was thrown my way mid-way through 2007 when I was offered a full time position as an art therapist at the Douglas Institute, a psychiatric hospital and McGill affiliated research center. Though I was studying in educational technology, my focus had always been the professional development of creative arts therapists, most specifically art therapists (visual arts) through online media.
In 1999 I was the instigator of an online egroup for art therapy professionals and graduate students. The Arts in Therapy egroup is still active (450 international members) but much less than it was a couple years ago. It mirrors the proliferation of new connective tools (new networking possibilities) and the general and noted decline in e-forum use for general networking and exchange purposes. It also reflects my pulling away as an active moderator and contributor. There are still interesting subjects being brought up–such as the discussion on Positive Psychology and its understanding that it makes for a good “fit” for art therapy practice. However dialogue is often limited to a few contributions. This effectively moves it from a knowledge building interactive platform, to an information sharing platform where most of the learning doesn’t happen on forum, but in the self directed efforts of each reader/seeker who pursue the linked information; what could be called non formal distributed learning (distributed learning is often attached to distance learning).
In 2003 I created members only eforums for the members of the Quebec Art Therapy Association (AATQ), and one in 2004, restricted to Board members. The first has provided a very efficient tool in disseminating information and mobilizing members for various events. It also had a moral boosting effect where the accumulated activity of the members made for a more lively and dynamic contextual reality for the arts therapies. The latter on the other hand, has provided a timely tool to extend our discussion times and work on various ‘dossiers’ at a distance, making our board members much more effective and efficient.
Given my new work environment, I now have the opportunity to link my passion for the arts, health, social issues, knowledge dissemination, and web based media through my blogging. In the next few weeks I will be starting a new blog from within the Douglas Institute. When the link is established I will post it here. Just reading some of my past entries and the thought of focusing my thoughts, creative ideas, and my accumulated knowledge on the above subjects feels pretty exciting. I’m happy to be back.