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The Cork – Cape Town Community Arts Therapy Link


The Department of Art Therapy at the CIT Crawford College of Art & Design is developing a link with a Community Arts Therapy project (CAth) in Cape Town, South Africa run by Art Therapist Angela Rackstraw. Our aim is to support this project financially as well as for current students and past graduates to visit and directly support Angela’s work there through a volunteer programme.

Angela set up the CAth project in 1998 after training as an Art Therapist in the UK and returning to Cape Town. The project primarily seeks to provide therapeutic support to individuals and communities who are both marginalized and traumatized by environmental and historically socio-political circumstances. There is a special emphasis on children, who often bear the brunt of dysfunctional families and/or communities who are unable to provide the necessary care and support for them to grow into fully functional adults.

The project offers Art Therapy groups in various communities, where the children are encouraged to think about and explore their painful circumstances, in a safe and supportive space. They are encouraged to do this through the making of art images (drawings, paintings) and objects (clay work), which is a safer way in which to express themselves. By expressing themselves this way, they are in effect externalizing some of that pain, and they are literally able to look at it, in more manageable ‘bits’. They first find a voice through what their artworks communicate, and then, over time, are able to begin sharing verbally about these difficulties – finding their true voice.

Currently there are a number of projects running both with children at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and the Izilipasi project which supports women with HIV. All of these projects are totally dependent on constant fundraising and our hope is that we can aid that process for the CAth programme.

Angela has visited Cork a number of times teaching on the MA in Art Therapy and her work in Cape Town, has featured in lectures in Cork and drawn a tremendous response from audiences.

The aim of the link, which we hope will be an on going one, will be to provide some kind of financial support to the project as well as provide funds to send volunteer Art Therapy students and past graduates over to work in the projects currently running for a period of 6 – 9 weeks. For current students on the MA course, this would become part of their overall placement experience. With this in mind we are planning to send two current students and a graduate over to Cape Town this summer.

How can you help? Can you help?

Sale of Art Work – 30th June

On the 30th June we are planning a sale of art work at Crawford College of Art Design to coincide with the Art Therapy Summer School and we are looking for donations of art work from artists. Donated pieces can be left at the college between the 27th – 29th June. For further information please email: ed.kuczaj@cit.ie or call 021 4335246.

Musical Event 3rd July

On the 3rd of July at 9.30pm there will a musical fund raising evening at ‘An Spailpin Fanach’ (opp Beamish & Crawford Brewery) in Cork. For further information please contact Aideen Cooney email: indyc2001@yahoo.co.uk

For more information on the CAth project please visit: www.cath.co.za