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Community Engagement

CAth: 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.

Perceptions 2016

The Easter 1916 Proclamation declared its resolve to cherish “all of the children of the nation equally and oblivious of the differences … which have divided a minority from the majority in the past” In September 2016, Cork City Council Arts office, Crawford Art Gallery and CIT Crawford College of Art and Design are building on the success of their 2013 Art of Inclusion exhibition that brought together the work of 50 artists from around the world to exhibit in Cork city. As we commemorate the 1916 centenary, an exciting variety of exhibitions and events will challenge this resolve bringing colour, energy, imagination and discussion to Cork City. While 2016 is a time to remember the past, it is also an opportunity to re-imagine the future and to expand our perceptions of future possibilities for a brighter more equal society.


Expanding Realities: Bristol | Cork | Madrid: a European Erasmus + partnership

Expanding Realities is a European Erasmus + partnership. GASP Cork, Art in Motion (AIM) Bristol and Debajo del Sombrero Madrid are three dynamic projects engaging the creativity, and supporting the professional development of artists who have much to contribute to society as artists and citizens. They seek to break barriers in society and in the world of art that may exclude or limit the participation of artists who may need additional supports.