This project explores variations in experience of trauma and responses to it, as we address individual grieving and collective mourning processes in the aftermath of violence, and the transformative forces of healing accessible through public artistic practice. The symposium, artistic interventions, website and satellite projects are all part of this deliberate forum created to share ideas and action where creativity, resilience and communication intersect.
the symposium speakers schedule registration info contact


Public Art as Social Intervention But Now I Have To Speak: Testimonies of Trauma, Resilience and Change


November 5th, 6th, 7th, 1999

H-110 Concordia University
1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. West
Montreal, Quebec
H3G 1M8

Developing cultural representations that subvert the proliferation of violence can help to create new patterns of engagement. Public artistic practices that integrate social activism will be explored as progressive ways of creating community and coming to terms with individual and social trauma.

symposium events that are open to the public



Stephanie Golden
is an independent scholar, journalist and medical writer with twenty years of volunteer experience in shelters and other programs for homeless women in New York City. Her writing interweaves individual and historical narratives to explore the relationships among self-sacrificing behaviours, victimhood and the structural forces that marginalize women. Her work explores the healing power of connectedness and community and offers insight on maintaining a commitment to caring without loss of selfhood. Golden's latest books include The Women Outside: Meanings and Myths of Homelessness and Slaying the Mermaid: Women and the Culture of Sacrifice.


Janice Haaken is Professor of Psychology at Portland State University and a clinical psychologist in private practice in Portland, Oregon. Her writing on women's issues presents an interdisciplinary framework for understanding the dynamics of trauma-telling. In Pillar of Salt: Gender, Memory, and the Perils of Looking Back she investigates the highly contested phenomenon of recovered memories, sometimes labelled "false memory syndrome." A central metaphor for this account of women's recollection of traumatic events is that of the biblical Iris, who was punished for looking back upon the destruction of Sodom by being transformed into a pillar of salt.



Suzanne Lacy editor of Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art, is an internationally known artist whose work since 1970 has addressed a broad range of social and political themes, including violence against women, racism, incarceration, homelessness, poverty, medical care and inner-city youths. Her practice includes art installations, social process, writing, photography, and individual and collaborative community performances. Lacy was a founding faculty member at the California State University at Monterey Bay and is presently a Director of the Center for Community Based Learning and the Arts at California College of Arts and Crafts.



symposium events that are open to the public


5:30-6:40 PM Hall Building, 7th floor, Concordia Faculty Club
Light buffet dinner
6:40-7:00 PM Welcome and opening remarks: Loren Lerner, pk langshaw
and Devora Neumark
7:00-8:30 PM

Introduction Round table discussion with Stephanie Golden,
Jan Haaken and Suzanne Lacy
Moderator: Loren Lerner.

We will be exploring public art as social intervention specifically in relation to women and violence. How, with regard to personal and collective experiences of violence and trauma, do women's cultural, religious, economic, educational and personal histories interact with their recourse and access to public expressions of creative agency?

pk langshaw

a compilation/collaborative production 1998-2000.
Performative readings and projections as presentation
9:00-9:30 PM Question and answer period  

8:30-9:15 AM

Hall Building, 7th floor, Concordia Faculty Club
Light buffet breakfast

9:15-10:15 AM

Round table discussion with Alexandra Daszkowski,
Karen Spencer and Susan Sinkinson
Moderator: Gail Bourgeois

10:30-11:30 AM Hall Building, H-110
Keynote address by Suzanne Lacy
Moderator: Kim Sawchuk

One of the first American feminists to frame violence against women as a public concern, Lacy is a key figure in the history of women's artistic responses to this issue. Framed by a consciousness of creative transformations of grief and anger, Lacy reviews early themes that have informed today's art practices, and traverses her more recent collaborative projects with incarcerated women and inner-city youths, to illuminate the need for socially engaged artist-activism.
11:30-12:00 PM BACK PAIN, readings with Devora Neumark
12:00-12:30 PM Question and answer period
12:30-2:00 PM Lunch break
2:00-4:30 PM

Hall Building, 7th floor, Concordia Faculty Club
workshop with Suzanne Lacy

Given the variety of creative practices and formal means available to socially engaged public artists, what are some of the issues to keep in mind when choosing methodologies? What is important to communicate and to whom? At which stage of the healing process and for what reasons do women seek out opportunities to give voice and activate public space? This workshop is designed to assist the participants in developing their own art interventions.

7:00-8:00 PM

Hall Building, H110
Keynote address by Jan Haaken
Moderator: Barbara Crow

This presentation looks back on the history of feminist struggle in giving collective voice to sexual trauma, including some of the problems that have emerged in narrating and representing women's experiences. The social symbolic meanings and richly textured fabric of women's trauma stories are explored, and how speaker and listener participate in the co-construction of the story.

8:00-8:30 PM Rachel Echenberg
A performance will be staged throughout the
audience based on the "one minute monument" street intervention and in
collaboration with some of its participants.
8:30-9:00 PM Question and answer period  


Hall Building, 7th floor, Concordia Faculty Club
Light buffet breakfast


Round table discussion with Lucia Cipriano and
Colette Sparkes
Moderator: Nicole Saltiel

10:30-11:30 AM

Hall Building, H-110
Keynote address by Stephanie Golden
Moderator: Denise Tanguay

This talk traces parallels between the internal loss of self that is inherent in excessive self-sacrifice and the external historical marginalization of women. Both the alienation of individual women from their selves and the separation of (usually) poor and single women from society through mechanisms of scapegoating are rooted in structural social forces, cultural, economic and political.

11:30 - 12:00 PM

Caroline Stevens

12:00 - 12:30 PM

Question and answer period

12:30 - 2:00 PM

Lunch break

2:00 - 4:30 PM

Hall Building, 7th floor, Concordia Faculty Club
Pre-selected choice of workshops with either Jan Haaken or Stephanie Golden

In the feminist struggle to enlarge cultural space for women's accounts of violence, abuse and trauma, the role of the translator or interpreter of the story has been neglected. This workshop introduces a framework for understanding the emotional labour involved in representing distressing experiences, and how fragmentary images are reworked through cultural narratives, tropes, or symbolic forms.

This workshop explores our potential to be compassionate while maintaining a sense of power and agency. It combines group discussion on the meaning of self-sacrifice, the presentation of relevant historical and cultural information, and experiential exercises. The goal is to create a new perspective that changes how we as women perceive situations that seem to demand self-sacrifice, thus empowering us to reflect and make appropriate choices.

4:30 - 5:00 PM coffee/tea break
5:00 - 5:30 PM Cynthia Hammond and Katja Macleod FLIGHT
5:30 - 7:00 PM

Calls for action and round table closing reflections with Barbara Crow, Rachel Echenberg, Stephanie Golden, Jan Haaken, Cynthia Hammond, Katja MacLeod Kessin, pk langshaw, Loren Lerner, Devora Neumark, Claude Schryer and Caroline Stevens.
Moderator: to be confirmed


7:00 PM

VA 114, Concordia University, 1395 René-Levesque Blvd West.

Susan Sinkinson
Our Daily Bread: women making film and video making stories
is a screening devoted to women film makers who have used and transformed personal experience through the medium of film to create objects of beauty, power and pain. Featured film-makers are Alex Grimanis, Eisha Marjara, Lisa Sfriso and Susan Sinkinson.

VAV Gallery, Concordia University, 1395 René-Levesque Blvd West.

Bonnie Baxter with Print Media students
Out from behind the screen: an installation and video series about women
Installation and week long video event.


Art Interventions: collaborations within Montreal communities


Rachel Echenberg
thursday november 4, 1999, 12 - 1 pm

Ste. Catherine St. (between Guy and de la Montagne)
One-Minute-Monument is a series of ephemeral living monuments, in which approximately 30-50 people, spread on the streets of downtown Montréal, simultaneously hold one minute poses. Multiplied throughout several blocks, these simple and seemingly random individual gestures can begin to be read by the unknowing audience as a structured action, pointing towards questions of public space and public trust.
Katja MacLeod Kessin and Cynthia Hammond in
collaboration with ex-residents of Auberge Transition



Katja MacLeod Kessin and Cynthia Hammond in
collaboration with ex-residents of Auberge Transition
Exhibition October 28 - December 5, 1999
La Maison de la Culture Notre-Dame de Grace (Montréal)
Vernissage: Sunday, November 14, 1999, 2 pm

As a painting and sculpture exhibition, Flight displays the results of a series of workshops organized and facilitated by Cynthia Hammond and Katja MacLeod Kessin from March to May, 1999, with former residents of a home for battered women. The women, in agreeing to participate in Flight, have collaborated with the artists seeking to demonstrate the possibilities of art for acknowledging and empowering oneself in the aftermath of traumatic experience. The facilitating artists thank them for their enthusiasm, courage and creativity.

Special thanks to Studio Lux, Gemst, Productions Jeux d'Ombres, and Concordia GSA.



pk langshaw
Performative readings and projections in the Concordia Faculty Club,
Hall Building, 7th floor
Friday, November 5, 1999, 8:30 - 9:00 pm (closed session)

the interventionist work, entitled pharmaKon - stress art productions from a woman's perspective on depression; mediates, meditates, and medicates on the [ab]normal patterns of behaviour in women. it scripts the ways in which we can swallow the text pill as an object[ive] of reflection. to take the prescribed daily dose is to inscribe the side effects back to the self with the soul in attendance and to repeat the dosage is to set up an act of informed defiance. this production builds community by the collaborative nature of the work in process, by the memory that keeps it in mind and by the miniatures that en[cap]sulate the experience.



Devora Neumark

an on-going life process
postcard distribution in Montréal, Val David and elsewhere

back pain is a postcard intervention concerned with the relationship between back pain and the inter-generational trauma of family violence, in particular child abuse, as a consequence of cultural and ethnic oppression. This work will be a set of five functional postcards that activate public space in an anti-monumental way as they change hands and take their own specific journeys. Speaking is impossible in a house full of whispers and screams. The work is a personal testimony, a pledge to act as witness, a verbal and visual action of resistance, and an intervention in the repetitious cycle – not merely a confirmation of child abuse, but a participant in its cessation. Financial support from Transcontinental Distribution and the Canada Council's Interdisciplinary Work & Performance Art Creation Grant Program has made this work possible. back pain is the focus of her artist-in-residence project at the Atelier de l'Île in Val David, Québec.



Caroline Stevens
January 1998 - January 2000

Le Centre Artisanal des Femmes (CAF), located at 207 Duluth Ave. East, Montréal, is a non-profit community artisanal workshop that provides a transitional and healing space for women. Their membership is diverse, but specifically targets women from economically marginalized groups, recent immigrants, and women who are homeless, mentally or emotionally challenged. Women learn artisanal crafts such as weaving, book binding, stain-glass, sewing, fabric printing and through the acquisition of such skills, gain self-confidence, a sense of purpose, artistic training and a feeling of belonging. Caroline Stevens has been working with CAF to assist in the growth of the organization. This project is about the process of working with a community based group over a substantial period of time to create change within the organization which will continue beyond her own involvement.


The Satellite Projects

Lucia Cipriano
Wider Circles

a shared gesture; two thousand globe shaped images will be passed on between people.
Monday, November 1, 1999 - in commemoration with the largest women's peace action of the twentieth century.


Alexandra Daszkowski,
Body Image Disorders in Women: the effects of private and public imagery
An interdisciplinary project on gender and body image emphasizing the role of cultural body images and art therapeutic interventions within the treatment of body dysmorphic disorders in women.
Saturday, November 6, 1999, 9:15 - 10:15 am (closed session) Hall Building, 7th floor,
Concordia Faculty Club, round table


Susan Sinkinson
Our Daily Bread: women making film and video making stories
is a screening devoted to women film makers who have used and transformed personal experience through the medium of film to create objects of beauty, power and pain. Featured film-makers are Alex Grimanis, Eisha Marjara, Lisa Sfriso and Susan Sinkinson.
Sunday, November 7, 1999, 7:30 pm
VA 114 and the VAV Gallery, Concordia University, 1395 René-Levesque Blvd West.

Shown in conjunction with the VAV Gallery installation and week long video event OUT FROM BEHIND THE SCREEN: AN INSTALLATION AND VIDEO SERIES ABOUT WOMEN organized by Bonnie Baxter.

  Colette Sparkes
seeks to enliven spaces of silence in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Worldwide Church of God cult. Any women who might be interested in collaborating in a Creative Coalition of Cult-Cleansing by transforming their specific sect-stories through either visual or audio means, should contact

  Karen Spencer

rocking: in a common/public area of a Montreal hospital - exact location and time be determined.
sucking: in the metro, on the street, etc. circulating freely.


The Website

public art as social intervention: a fine arts teaching tool is a website that has been developed as an art [net]work, complementary to the events of this collective project on women and trauma. the site includes the art interventions, the symposium, related teaching/research practices, and cross-referenced bibliography/library resource sections. this web construction has been initiated as a communication structure for students, educators, and communities. pk langshaw is principal investigator and coordinator of this website teaching tool; other members of the team are Bonnie Baxter, Loren Lerner, Devora Neumark, Caroline Stevens and Denise Tanguay.

the designers are Pata Macedo and Adri Miranda [
brazen]. a grant from the Concordia Centre for Research and Learning Services funded the website. Special thanks to Judith Cezar (Fine Arts Mac Lab).

PataMacedo/AdriMiranda and PKLangshaw
design & conception





No registration is necessary for the three keynote addresses which are open
to the public
in room H-110

All other events including the workshops and round table discussions are
closed sessions are for registrants only.

All events are subject to change and modification.



Contact information

For further information please contact either:

Dr. Loren Lerner at: or

Devora Neumark at: