November 2020 – April 2021
Saturdays, 1pm–3pm
Open to: BIPOC Queen's students and community members
Free + virtual program + art packages provided

Beyond Words was created by BIPOC for BIPOC. Beyond Words aims to foster a safe and creative space centred in art healing for Queen’s University students and members of the Katarokwi-Kingston community who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour. This program invites participants to explore and engage in discussions around the impacts of racism at Queen’s and within Kingston, while utilizing art therapy to work through heavy topics in a safe and expressive way. Art as healing is a growing movement that has a lot to offer to people working through emotions that are difficult to put into words. By creating this program, we hope to mutually support a connected community of individuals with unique and shared experiences.

Image: Beyond Words art materials, including deer leather from Randy's Leather by Cheryle (Tyononhra) Maracle

Art therapy is the use of the creative process partnered with psychotherapy which offers a chance for self-exploration and understanding. Art allows us to explore things we may not have words to explain. While art therapy can be a deep and intense form of counselling, this group will focus on a lighter form of art therapy—“art as healing.” We will be using art as a tool for expression and discussion in order to help facilitate healing within our mind, body and spirit. Beyond Words 2020–2021 is led by registered art therapist Melanie Gray. The program is designed and coordinated by Fatou Tounkara, Program Assistant at Union Gallery.

Please feel free to refer to our Wellness Package during Beyond Words, or anytime on your art healing and wellness journey. From therapists to wellness organizations, this wellness package provides resources and safe spaces for your wellbeing. Recommended therapists are listed based on direct or indirect relationships between UG staff.

Melanie Gray

Melanie graduated from Queen’s University in 2016 with a BAH in Art History and Indigenous Studies. She went on to complete her graduate program at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute where she graduated in 2018. Her thesis was titled The Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen Project: Introducing Art Therapy to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory using the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. As an Indigenous Art Therapist, Melanie continues to be grounded in her Haudenosaunee culture and uses this understanding in her art healing practice.

Fatou Tounkara

Fatou is a fourth-year international student at Queen’s University and Program Assistant at the Union Gallery. She is currently pursuing her BA in Politics with a minor in Philosophy. Fatou is passionate about the arts and aims at exploring how advocacy and the arts can complement each other. Fatou is the current co-president of Queen’s Student Diversity Project, and has previously worked as the Outreach Coordinator for the Queen’s Black Academic Society, for which she helped coordinate events such as The Soul of the Black Artist.

NOVEMBER 7, 2020, 1pm–3pm

In this session, participants will be invited to reflect on who they are in relation to the world through art making. The session will open up with the Thanksgiving Address and an introduction of self/others, and will close with encouraging words and the opportunity for participants to share.

NOVEMBER 21, 2020, 1pm–3pm

Through art making, participants will be invited to reflect on how they feel in relation to the spaces they are in—Queen’s, Kingston, Canada, and the world. The aim of this session is to spark conversation around what is happening right now in terms of racism, oppression, BLM movement, Indigenous Sovereignty, climate activism, resilience and pride.

DECEMBER 5, 2020, 1pm–3pm

In this session, participants will reflect on how to create and maintain a safe space in their daily lives. Through art making, we explore questions such as: How can we keep ourselves safe? What strengths do I have? How do I maintain resilience? How do I take care of myself? What gifts do I have?

FEBRUARY 6, 2021, 1pm–3pm

Participants will be invited to explore how they view themselves. With the help of intrinsic discussions, participants will have the chance to reflect on their inner and outer self through art making.

MARCH 6, 2021, 1pm–3pm

Participants will be invited to explore what Allyship means to them, including their experiences with and expectations of allies. Participants will have the chance to reflect and create an art piece surrounding their relationship to Allyship.

APRIL 3, 2021, 1pm–3pm

Participants will be invited to look into the future. They will be asked to envision the future of the world and society, express what they hope and hope not to see, and describe a better world and society.