On Friday, March 25, 2016, the Association of Student Social Workers co-sponsored the Creative Community Engagement Workshop. FSU students from the College of Social Work, Art Therapy Program, College of Medicine, and the Department of Urban & Regional Planning were invited to attend. While there, students explored innovative ways to engage their community, participated in hands-on activities with students in several disciplines, consulted with community engagement experts, and enjoyed special presentations by community development specialist Dr. Quinhong Wei and social justice musician Melanie Hammet. The event, which was held from 1-4:30 p.m. in Miller Hall (3rd floor, UCC), was an exciting, interprofessional learning experience for all in attendance.
Dr. Wei lectured on Rational Planning. Dr. Wei, an advocate for story performance transformation, talked about her research dissertation, which involved empowering individuals through creative and authentic expression. Dr. Wei co-founded an organization that uses storytelling and performance in Beijing, China, and the United States to help revitalize communities prevalent with crime, drugs, and poverty.
Melanie Hammet, the second speaker, is a singer/song writer, and the newly elected mayor of Pine Lake, Georgia. Hammet talked about “Life Sentence,” a collection of songs she co-wrote based on the wrongful conviction of Clarence Harrison, to help benefit the Georgia Innocence Project. Hammet, also an advocate of community engagement, has an interest in creating music that measures results and raises awareness.
On the panel of community engagement experts were pioneers and leaders in the fields of medicine, art therapy, and social work. In addition to the two speakers, the panel consisted of Wendy Turney, MSW, Lisa Schelbe, PhD, MSW, Christie Alexander, MD, David Gussak, PhD, ATR-BC, Julie Argue, MS, ATR-BC, and Joy Sloan Jinks, MSW.
Wendy Turney received her Master’s degree in Social Work from FSU and is currently working as a Caregiver Coach in the FSU College of Social Work Operation Family Caregiver program. Turney has a background working in mental health, grief, bereavement support services, and with military service members and their families during the transition from service separation to civilian life.
Dr. Lisa Schelbe is an Assistant Professor at the FSU College of Social Work. She teaches Human Behavior in the Social Environment as well as Child Welfare Practice. Dr. Schelbe serves as co-Editor-in-Chief of the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal and her research primarily focuses on the experiences of young adults aging out of the child welfare system and qualitative research.
Dr. Christie Alexander joined the FSU College of Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Rural Health in 2013. She was in the inaugural class of the FSU College of Medicine and is the first graduate to return as a full-time faculty member. While teaching part-time, she was also in private practice and was the Medical Director at Patients First in Tallahassee, FL, for five years.
Dr. David Gussak is a Professor of Art Therapy and Chairperson of the Department of Art Education. He is the author of Art on Trial: Art Therapy in Capital Murder Cases and the co-editor and contributing author of The Wiley Handbook of Art Therapy with Dr. Marcia Rosal, and Drawing Time: Art Therapy in Prisons and Other Correctional Settings with Dr. Evelyn Virshup.
Julie Argue is currently employed by Capital Medical Regional Center of Tallahassee where she works as the Activity Therapist providing art therapy to medical patients. She also works as a professional artist painting murals.
Joy Sloan Jinks is an FSU graduate (Class of 1975), clinical social worker, and author of Dynamic Aging. She is best known as the founder of Swamp Gravy, Georgia’s folklife play, and the Building Creative Communities conference.
Carla Clymo, a first-year master’s student in the Art Therapy program said, “I enjoyed listening to presentations by members of the panel on their take on social justice issues. They in many ways resemble the art therapy perspective.” Ashley Beck, also a first-year Master’s Art Therapy student said, “It was really neat being able to talk with medical students and social workers outside of my art therapy bubble, to discuss social justice issues we all care about.”
Before the workshop concluded, leaders from the panel and workshop participants engaged in a hands-on activity. Each panel leader served on one of the six interprofessional teams the workshop participants were assigned to upon arriving. Each team had to complete three objectives: 1. Work as a team to devise a strategy to engage your target community and create bridges between the target community and the larger Tallahassee community. 2. Choose your one best idea for engaging your target community and create a 5-minute creative expression to share your strategy with the entire group. 3. Show off your 5-minute creative expression to the group!
If you were not able to participate in the Association of Student Social Workers’ Creative Community Engagement Workshop, be sure to attend their next workshop next year.