Managing experiences of burn out, exhaustion, mental health, fatigue and post-traumatic stress symptoms are the focus of the Making Time: Arts and Self-care program. It is clear that artists and arts workers who are working in regional and remote, complex and trauma impacted community settings, are often at risk of stress, vicarious trauma, and burn out.
This is an issue not only for artists and arts workers but also for organisations that are contracting workers to deliver socially engaged and community projects and outcomes, often under short time frames, limited resources and within contexts where the communities are experiencing high levels of complex trauma.
In other professional sectors most notably within the Social Services, Medical and Mental health sectors, transference and counter transference of traumatic experience as well as exposure to direct traumatic events has been recognized as having real and complicated impacts on the practitioner (J Herriman Trauma and Recovery, 2001). Practice methods, professional training and professional peer debriefing/mentoring networks have been developed within these sectors to support and sustain the well-being of the practitioners and subsequently the quality of their practice and most importantly the therapeutic relationship with the people and communities they serve.
The experiences and best practice models developed in the primary mental health sector strongly validates the need to build capacity within the CACD sector through professional peer networks, self-care strategies, Mental Health First Aid training and strategies for preparedness for working within complex community contexts through a more informed understanding of the impacts of trauma.
Making Time Retreats
Making Time Retreats are developed to strengthen well-being and build self-care strategies and sector connection for community artists and arts-workers.
How can CACD practitioners look after their mental, physical and emotion health while delivering high quality meaningful projects to communities that are isolated, have experiences of trauma or disaster, or are disenfranchised?
In partnership with Community Arts Network and practice psychologist Shona Erskine, we are creating a research process in order to reality test our professional supervision theories, so we can revitalise and deepen sector practice. The pilot aims to articulate and make visible the diverse and valuable expertise within our CACD sector.
This check list evolved from a conversation between artists present at a Making Time forum in WA in 2017. It aims to support artists and organisations to think strategically about and activate strategies for self care before, during and after projects. You have any suggestions or additions please contact us so we can build this resource together.
Here is the Check list pdf
This link takes you to some additional information if you would like to explore further ideas and provocations.
“The most useful part of the workshop was understanding the need for elders/mentors and cultivating a strong support network, uncovering and exploring deeper levels of my self.” Making Time Qld Retreat participant
“I am taking away a great deal of thoughts, ideas, connections, insight, exercises, awareness – and things that have yet to settle” Making Time Vic Retreat participant