Trigger(Ed): Ethics of Witnessing

Trigger(Ed): Ethics of Witnessing

Saturday, May 2, 2020
3-4:30pm CDT

with Chelsey Webber-Brandis (Philadelphia, PA), Kristen Shahverdian (Philadelphia, PA)

Our relationship with trauma is closely aligned to our relationship with art. This session explores trauma-informed practices through the lens of trigger warnings. How do we create structures for audiences to enter and exit artistic experiences that represent traumatic events? How do we take care of performers who are tasked with interpreting traumatic stories? How do we organize our self-care when making art? Facilitators Chelsey Webber-Brandis and Kristen Shahverdian come to this work as visual artists, dancers and body workers who represent trauma in their work and are committed to care of audiences, artists and self. The session begins highlighting terms: trauma-informed, consent culture, censorship, call-out culture, trauma porn, safe space/brave space. Participants are invited to engage in facilitated conversation and assess their practice within trauma-informed guidelines. The session concludes with physicalized activities (done seated or standing) that focus on embodiment, containment and self-care.

NOTE: In our presentation we discuss artistic works that depict violence. We will warn participants before presenting graphic or visceral content and participants can opt in or out at will. While the nature of the meeting streamlines opting in or out, doing so while in quarantine puts pressure on our ability to provide care should one be affected by the subject matter. It is our hope to create a space where everyone feels supported to navigate the material.