Look Back… Media & Technology 1968

It was a pleasure and honor to celebrate the Toronto Art Therapy Institute (TATI)’s 50th Anniversary with an invitation to speak at the Institute’s special gala event held this week. The TATI, founded in 1968, was the first art therapy training program in Canada established by Dr. Martin Fischer, one of the early pioneers in the field.

The evening offered a look back at the TATI’s great history and legacy of art therapy in Canada, as well as an opportunity to give attention to its active presence of faculty, alumni, site supervisors, and students, as well as what the future of the art therapy field holds ahead. This also included looking at the impact of technology on the art therapist, especially in the last 20 years for connection, community, and creativity.

*****

So what was the media and technology like/starting to emerge in 1968 when TATI was founded?  Here is a fun look back:

  • Color television was just starting to become more conventional in use and the first live, network transmission of video took place (a view inside an orbiting U.S. space capsule).  Now television includes an endless amount of channels and programs for the viewer — through real time and recorded network broadcasting, live streaming, breaking news, DVR recording, Netflix watching, and on the Internet, our mobile devices, and without the use of the conventional television set .
  • Music in 1968 could be played on an 8 track, which was considered the portable format for this time. Video tapes, such as Beta or VHS would not be available until the 1970s.  Now, music and video have become digitized and very portable in the form of MP3s, media sharing and online content communities, YouTube, Vimeo, Pandora, Spotify, Soundcloud, and podcasts are easily accessible through our computers and mobile devices.
  • Computers. Back in 1968, the “Nova” computer which only had 32 kilobytes of memory (!) sold for $8,000.   The computer that navigated the lunar module to the moon was introduced in 1968. Hewlett-Packard (HP) started promoting the first desktop computer this year too. The Internet as we now know it was very much undefined, but the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was starting to be developed in the early 1960s, which became the technical beginnings of the World Wide Web and Internet.  ARPANET published its first program plan and made its first network transmission the following year.  50 years later computers are less expensive, hold lots and lots of memory in miniature form, and is widely used by the masses (not just researchers, scientists, and academics) everyday, everywhere, anytime. The Internet (and now Wi-Fi too) instantly connects us to endless sites, networks, people, places, news, apps, experiences, and more all around the world.

Art therapists now live in a world of glocality (where the local and global co-exist!)  where we can easily connect to and virtually engage with our colleagues, beyond our local, regional, and national surroundings.  Platforms and programs like Skype, Zoom Facebook Live, What’s App, and more allow us to communicate and interact with one another.  The benefits of this connection are many- such as but not limited to:

  • Decreases isolation
  • Provides relational support
  • Obtain and exchange resources
  • Collegial engagement
  • Professional belonging
  • Creates opportunities for advocacy and awareness

The Internet has also held the concept of community as an important value to its early activity. Online resources and virtual spaces for art therapists were already surfacing in the mid 1990s, 15 years before social media really became widely embraced and used.  For example, Toronto art therapist, TATI alumna and faculty member Petrea Hansen-Adamidis created Art Therapy in Canada in 1996, the very first online web resource and forum in Canada. Learn more about Petrea’s experience and pioneering efforts with technology in this Art Therapists on the Grid interview here.

Online virtual communities can help art therapists:

  • Share and exchange information
  • Learn from one another
  • Create a sense of belonging
  • Strengthen professional identity

In addition, we can also keep strengthening our global digital citizenship as art therapists. We can enhance our understanding about the societal impact of living in a world without geographical boundaries due to technology and our use of social media.

This awareness first includes an individual understanding about how our personal and professional conduct online can impact the profession’s global digital footprint and art therapy’s international integrity. Having respect for the self, others, and what we access or engage with online deserves attention. Choosing to engage in online environments with empathy, compassion, generosity, and benevolence acknowledges the powerful influence our connections and interactions have on overall well-being, relationships, and creating community.  It also recognizes how we as art therapists have a valuable role in helping create a better digital world through our online presence and example.

Thank you to TATI for the opportunity to celebrate their historic milestone and include a little bit about technology and how it connects us all together, not just now but will continue to in the future. The media, programs, methods, and ways art therapists use technology will keep changing, developing, and offer new possibilities beyond our imagination for the future of the field… Also exciting to keep watching is how art therapists and future art therapists keep contributing to this digital landscape!

Congrats to TATI on their 50th year and here’s to 50+ more! 🙂

Art Therapist on the Grid: Petrea Hansen-Adamidis

Art Therapists on the Grid: Art Therapy Meets Social Media Conversations is a weekly interview series this summer featuring a variety of art therapists and how they use the power of the Internet and social media in relationship to sharing their work with others, professional development, nurturing creativity, cultivating community and more.

Before the arrival of what we all know now as social media there were art therapists in the 1990s who were already leading the way on the Internet to connect members of the art therapy community with information, resources, and discussion sites, as well as a way to inform the public about art therapy. This week’s chat features Petrea Hansen-Adamidis DTATI, RCAT, RP a Registered Art Therapist and Registered Psychotherapist. In 1996, Petrea created one of the first art therapy sites that was online, ArtTherapyinCanada (archived at adamidis.ca).  It is fun to visit Petrea’s old site to remember what art therapy resources and sites often looked like 20+ years ago! It is great to show Petrea’s original site to art therapy students as an example of the early days of online connection for art therapy. How things have changed!  In this conversation, Petrea talks about what inspired her to create her first site and how she uses social media now to share her work and creative interests as an art therapist and artist. 

Petrea has been working in the field of art therapy for over 22 years and for the past 15, has worked as an Expressive Arts Therapist in an outpatient services program at a large children’s mental health center in Toronto, Ontario.  Petrea additionally works as an art therapist clinician, providing trauma assessments and treatment in parent-child expressive arts therapy. She is also an art therapy supervisor and instructor at The Toronto Art Therapy Institute. As part of her private practice, Petrea runs self-exploration art workshops for health, wellbeing, and self-care in Toronto and also offers online expressive arts e-courses.

From Petrea’s current site relaunched as arttherapist.ca:  

“When I first began this site over 15 years ago, I was a newly trained Art Therapist, eager to share with the world the wonderful world of art therapy. It was one of the first pages up on the Internet with resources on art therapy including information about associations around the world. art therapy books, conference announcements, plus my own workshops.”

My first online community, The Art Therapy Student Networking Forum that I founded as a graduate student in the late 1990s (hosted then on Delphi Forums) was one of the many resources that Petrea included on her site, which was very cool and something we chat about!

Listen to our interview here:

Learn more about Petrea’s work and connect to her online:

Other resources mentioned in our conversation:

Thank you to Petrea for sharing her inspiring experiences, then and now! Stay connected for a new interview next week as this series continues…

Previous Interviews:

Art Therapist on the Grid: Carolyn Mehlomakulu