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! 🙂