‘Under the cobblestones, the beach’’: The politics and possibilities of the Art Therapy Large Group.

Jones, Kevin and Skaife, Sally. 2009. ‘Under the cobblestones, the beach’’: The politics and possibilities of the Art Therapy Large Group. Psychotherapy and Politics International, 7(1), pp. 18-27. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper discusses the politics and possibilities of linking the personal and
political with therapeutic and social transformation through a teaching method provided
in the art therapy training at Goldsmiths – the art therapy large group (ATLG). Three key
ideas of May ‘68 are related to the ATLG and their relevance to other psychotherapies and
psychotherapy trainings is considered. These ideas are: the importance of the ‘capitalist’
university as an essential terrain in the struggle for social change; the Atelier Populaire’s
use of art in an anti-capitalist critique of the commodifi cation of art and artist in society,
and the anti-imperialist character of the May events. These ideas are related to the theoretical
base of the ATLG in the large verbal group literature, Performance Art and to the
wide international membership of the ATLG, creating a forum for engaging with global
issues. To illustrate these points, we give an example of the interface of the political and
the impact of a real event – the university lecturers’ strike in 2006 – and the learning that
took place in relation to this through the ATLG. We conclude that through a critical engagement
with the university within the global terrain of contemporary neoliberalism, the ATLG
provides a territory that can integrate the political and therapeutic in arts / psychotherapy
trainings; provide a critique and alternative to the commodifi cation of art and artist and
engage with issues of difference in the globalized market place. The ATLG prepares the
artist / student / therapist / worker to critically engage in the personal and social transformation
of the politics of art and psychotherapy provision in the public, private and voluntary

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)



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Date Deposited:

01 Jun 2011 06:19

Last Modified:

09 Jul 2020 15:06

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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