Meeting ID: 879 7097 4811
Leah Gipson roots her practice in Black feminism, exploring the linkages between Black women and girls, protest and care. Her work foregrounds both a critical expansion of the knowledge sources that define art therapy as a profession, and the need to include the historical and lived experiences of Black women and girls in the hyper-localities of Chicago and beyond. Her research and community practices seek insights about justice and care from within Black culture. Contemporary ideas in the art therapy profession can be seen as distinctive case examples of individualism in US dominant culture that rely upon genteel forms of power to sustain racial capitalism and trauma. How does art therapy represent and reproduce U.S. domination through political notions of sentimentality and care? How do Black women and girls negotiate their places within this dominant paradigm?
Leah Gipson is an Assistant Professor in the Art Therapy and Counseling Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). As an interdisciplinary artist, her practice uses cultural histories and the politics of placemaking to explore multiple strategies of social transformation. She is informed by her clinical professional experiences of working with youth and adult survivors of sexual violence, adults living with addiction, incarcerated and returning women, women experiencing homelessness, and individuals living in psychiatric and residential homes. Her understanding of art therapy comes from Black feminism and Black Church, emphasizing women’s and girls’ roles in community leadership. She has been working on projects in the west side neighborhoods of Chicago since 2009 to address problems of inequality, launching a series of collaborative participatory projects which focus on care and support for Black artists and activists and their communities. Her most recent project, Care Sessions, brings local artists, organizers, students and community members together to support families who are bereaved and impacted by state violence and gender based violence.