Register for Trauma and Arts-Centered Healing Workshops

Headshot of Renée Watson of left, and headshot of Dr. Tasha Golden on the right
Renée Watson, left, (Photo: Shawnte Sims) and Dr. Tasha Golden, right.

An international World Health Organization study found that 70% of respondents had experienced at least one type of trauma in their lifetime (Magruder et al., 2016). Over the last year, trauma in the cultural community has become even more prevalent due to the long-term toxic stress of the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and the injustices of racial inequality.

Trauma disproportionately impacts communities of color and young people, who are often already living with inadequate resources and access to power. Given these impacts, Mass Cultural Council is offering two workshops focused on understanding trauma and supporting healing in our community. Led by Dr. Tasha Golden and Renée Watson, these sessions will focus on how the arts can support healing, share and amplify the experiences of trauma and healing, and help transform policies and structures that perpetuate inequities.

An Introduction to Trauma-Informed Approaches:  Considering trauma responsiveness, healing, and “do no harm” in arts-based programs and activities.

March 26, 2021 10am-12pm

This workshop will lay groundwork to help artists and arts organizations be more aware and confident creating programming that draws upon art’s ability to 1) engage with difficult experiences, and 2) support healing for participants, attendees, and audiences.

Learn what trauma is, how to recognize related symptoms and needs, and how to design activities to avoid harm while cultivating resilience and connection. Through direct examples from various programs for girls in detention, as well as lessons from similar initiatives, Dr. Golden will share how the arts can respond to needs for voice, choice, and autonomy, while also providing the direction and connection that can be so important in the healing process.

[Note: While art is therapeutic, not all artists are therapists, and some experiences/situations are best referred for professional help. Based on art’s broad ability to support health, this session is designed to help artists and arts organizations integrate information about trauma and responsive practices.]

Register for March 26 workshop


Trauma, Social Justice, the Arts, and Healing: Discussion on the role of the arts in addressing trauma and supporting health through advocacy, storytelling, narrative change, and social connection.

April 9, 2021 10am-12pm

By focusing both on individual and community-level healing, we will explore how the arts can address root causes associated with trauma and begin to change the narrative.  Dr. Tasha Golden’s important research in Creating Healthy Communities, her work as a musician, and her direct work with young people in Project Uncaged, will inform a rich dialogue on how the arts can address trauma through community and policy change. Renée Watson’s award-winning novels such as Piecing Me Together, This Side of Home, A Place Where Hurricane’s Happen, and her most recent book Love is a Revolution address the complexity of traumas in many ways, including how focusing on self-care and joy are important ingredients of healing.

Join us for a dialogue with these two prominent creatives as we discover ways to address trauma and well-being through storytelling and social advocacy work.

Register for April 9 workshop



Dr. Tasha Golden, Ph.D., artist, senior Arts in Health Research Scientist, International Arts + Mind Lab, Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Renée Watson, New York Times bestselling author, educator, and community activist.


Dr. Tasha Golden is Director of Research and Senior Arts in Health Research Scientist at the International Arts + Mind Lab in the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University. As a public health researcher and innovator, Dr. Golden studies impacts of arts, culture, environments, and rhetorics on health, health equity, research, and clinical practice. Her visionary work is bolstered by her career as an artist and entrepreneur. She is a published poet, and toured full time for ten years as singer/songwriter for the critically acclaimed band Ellery.  She is also the founder of Project Uncaged: a trauma-informed, arts-based health intervention designed to support the well-being of incarcerated girls while elevating their voices in community and political discourses. Dr. Golden serves as an advisor on several national arts and health initiatives, and as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Florida’s Center for Arts in Medicine.

Renée Watson, is a New York Times bestselling author, educator, and activist. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. Her poetry and fiction often center around the experiences of black girls and women, and explore themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. Using storytelling and artmaking, Renée works with youth who are healing from trauma, specifically racial injustice, sexual assault, grief, and natural disasters, Renée served as Founder and Executive Director of I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts, from 2016-2019. Renée splits her time between Portland, Oregon, and New York City.

Related Resources

Dr. Tasha Golden: Creating Healthy Communities through Cross-sector Collaboration, Arts, Culture, and Community Mental Health

Renée Watson: Renée Watson: Award-winning Author and Activist , A Peek Inside Her Agenda: Renée Watson

Mass Cultural Council/Youth Arts Impact Network:
CYD Trauma Resources and CYD Practical Resources for Trauma

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