Cross Cultural Conversations: Drawing out the Conversations Through Expressive Arts

Mar 02, 2023

Cross Cultural Conversations: Drawing out the Conversations Through Expressive Arts Join Us for Our Spring 2023 Sessions! Every Monday from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm March 13, 20, 27, April 3, 10, and 17 


  1. Confidentiality is essential. We hold this space foropen, honest exchange and respect for one another's priuacy; we only share ourstories and neuer speak about another person's sharing, euen in the big circle.
  2. Safety is a priority; this is a judgment-free zone. 3.0ur primary commitment is to learn from each other. 
  3. We inuite curiosity to lead and ask assumptions to take a backseat. 
  4. We recognize that ourdifferences in backgrounds, skills, 'interests, and ualues increase our awareness of ourselues and one another.
  5. We are mindful of the space we make and the space we take.
  6. We only share what feels comfortable; passing is always an option.
  7. We receiue the art and allow it to speak to us.
  8. We are witnesses, not interpreters.
  9. We listen, reflect, clarify, and  express gratitude. 


In the first week of the six-week program, we invite participants to introduce themselves using a personal object of significance. This activity is designed to create a safe and inclusive space where individuals can share unique aspects of their identity and heritage, allowing for a deeper understanding of each other's experiences. By building personal connections, we hope to establish a foundation for comprehending ancestral heritage, cultural identity, othering, and social justice issues. 


In week two's activity, we'll delve into our ancestral heritage and culture through intermodal expressive arts and mindfulness techniques. We'll begin with a guided meditation that creates a safe and nurturing environment to connect with one or more ancestors while listening to calming music. 

Following this, we'll engage in an intermodal expressive art process using visual art materials and a writing prompt writing before moving into breakout rooms to share experiences with a partner, promoting trust, empathy, and community. Confidentiality and respect are maintained when returning to the larger group. We also provide Self-Compassion Guided Practices and Exercises to help regulate any emotions that may arise. This is a unique opportunity to connect with your ancestral roots, develop emotional regulation skills, and foster empathy. 

WEEK 3: 

In week three: "Crossroads of Culture," we'll use an intermodal expressive arts visual art-making process with a writing prompt while listening to music to explore experiences of being othered or othering. We listen with curiosity in small breakout room discussions and leave assumptions in the  back seat. 

Focusing on gaining insight into how early experiences have shaped our perspectives and actions and exploring how implicit biases marginalize specific groups is essential for promoting empathy, compassion, and inclusion. By building skills for creating more inclusive communities, participants can apply what they learn beyond the workshop, creating a positive ripple effect in their communities. 

WEEK 4: 

In week four's "Collective Consciousness, Social Justice, and the Art of Listening," we immerse ourselves in thought-provoking music and expressive art, whether in color, words, movement, or images. Throughout the experience, we will also sharpen our active listening skills. Participants will engage in meaningful conversations with a partner in a dedicated breakout room to share experiences and witness others. Following this, we will talk in the larger group to explore how the conversation can catalyze social justice. This module provides a secure and inclusive space to contemplate social justice issues that impact everyone. 


During week five, we delve into intersectionality and how it impacts our identities. Participants use expressive arts, such as collage and writing, to represent their unique identities and desired goals after being part ofthe conversation. They then share their creative work with a partner and engage in a collaborative discussion to better understand their own and their partner's identities. Through this process, participants cultivate vital skills such as storytelling, compassionate witnessing, and active listening, which assist them in understanding and valuing diverse perspectives. As the larger group discussion occurs, participants will share as much of their artwork as they feel comfortable, fostering a sense of community and connection while promoting a more comprehensive understanding and appreciation of each other's unique experiences and perspectives. 


During our sixth and final week, participants discuss the possibility of co­ facilitating future cross-cultural conversations at Barry University or elsewhere. This discussion provides a valuable opportunity for hands-on experience leading discussions and reflecting on future facilitation roles. Additionally, we encourage all participants to explore ways to get involved in initiatives that create a more significant impact. As part of our commitment to prioritizing self-care and maintaining connections, attendees are invited to participate in contemplative expressive arts on Sunday evenings. 

For those who wish to continue their involvement beyond the program, we recommend scheduling regular virtual check-ins or meet-ups. 

Famous Quotes

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. 

- C.G. Jung 

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. 

- Thomas Merton 

Art is an experience, not an object. 

- Robert Motherwell 

Art seems to me to be a state of the soul more than anything else. 

- Marc Chagall 


Dr. Heidi Heft LaPorte, Associate Professor, Barry University School of Social Work. 
Erlange Elisme, DSW Student, Barry University School of Social Work.
Kim Gibson, DSW Student, Barry University School of Social Work.
Stephanie Liebowitz, DSW Student, Barry University School of Social Work.
Maya Berry hill-Porter, DSW Student, Barry University School of Social Work.
Odette Robinson, DSW Student, Barry University School of Social Work.
Eli Manata Sloan, MSWStudent, Barry University School of Social Work.
Charlene White, DSW Student, Barry University School of Social Work.

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