TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image
Insider News

Finding Focus in Times of Crisis: Session 1

July 16, 2020

In this inaugural webinar, our speakers will be exploring a series of pressing questions: What is a crisis? What does it mean to be imaginative during a crisis? What is it to say that something is unimaginable and realize the unimaginable? Denise Lim, Yasmine Awais, and Dr. David Herman, Jr. will discuss these questions and talk about the power of imagination as a means of moving forward during times of uncertainty.

About the Panelists

Yasmine Awais is a licensed creative arts therapist and professional counselor who found her way to art therapy through engaging in photographic dialogues with incarcerated individuals. Yasmine was formally Associate Clinical Professor in the Creative Arts Therapies Department at Drexel University and is a PhD candidate in Social Welfare at The Graduate Center, City University of New York where she is also a Presidential Research Fellow. She serves as the board president of Artistic Noise, an arts-based organization in Harlem that works with youth involved in the justice system. Her research interests center diversity in the creative arts therapies and in higher education.

Dr. David Herman, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Art Education, Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University. He is a lens-based artist, educator, and scholar whose work explores the relations between the perceptual and the social as a politics of ontology. He is the co-founder of Preservation LINK, Inc., an arts education non-profit dedicated to creating visual literacy curricula for communities who have been historically under-represented. He also currently serves as an Executive Board Member of the International Visual Sociology Association, Advisory Committee Member for Brandywine Workshop & Archive’s Digital Portal Project, and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Commission Member for the National Art Education Association.

Denise Lim is a recent PhD graduate in Sociology from Yale University, with an MA degree in African Studies from Yale and a BA degree in English and Sociology from Bryn Mawr College. She currently works as an education research assistant at the Yale University Art Gallery, an Africana studies teacher at the House for Arts, and will be working as a Yale alumni fellow teaching an undergraduate course in African urban sociology. Denise also works as a strategic initiatives research fellow at the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, designing and implementing a data-driven research project that measures the impact that COVID-19 has had on graduating students training in cultural heritage and conservation throughout the African continent.

About the Series

Philadelphia Photo Arts Center presents Finding Focus in Times of Crisis, a three-part webinar series on art and trauma. Cultural sociologist Denise Lim will lead a panel of artists, educators, and art therapists to introduce the principals and pedagogy of visual art and discuss how art can help people process and express experiences of trauma.

This series aims to demystify diverse modes of responding to and creating visual art. Art is available to everyone and is essential in a time of individual and collective trauma. The conversations and activities of Finding Focus demonstrate art’s ability to provide a space to acknowledge and express emotion, and to find relief from turmoil. Participants will be invited to participate in art-based activities, respond to prompts from panelists, and contribute to the Question & Answer session at the end of each webinar.