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Making Sense

Beauty, Creativity, and Healing

Edited By Bandy Lee, Nancy Olson and Thomas Duffy

Regardless of field, from the art world to healthcare delivery, there is a growing need for practically useful theory and theoretically informed practice. The time is ripe for a collaborative, creative conversation among thinkers and doers who are concerned about the larger world and our role in it. Making Sense: Beauty, Creativity, and Healing is a collection of essays and creative expressions written and produced in relation to a colloquium that tried to address these matters at the Whitney Humanities Center of Yale University. Beginning with a powerful essay on the individually and globally therapeutic qualities of art and beauty by Elaine Scarry of Harvard University, this volume brings together a diversity of theoretically minded scholars, scientists, artists, and healers. In the form of critical and reflective essays, alongside images, poetry, and fiction, this book allows the reader to experience the bursts of ideas and sensory triggers that respond to and extend the artistic installations and performances of the colloquium – and welcomes the reader into the conversation.
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Making Sense of Making Sense: Healing Hands


by Janice Perry

As an artist-in-residence at Making Sense 3, my self-imposed mandate was to create site-responsive work based on the Colloquium’s theme of “Beauty, Creativity, and Healing.” For me, the site is always physical, intellectual, emotional, sensual, and spiritual; bound in notions of gender, race, class, ability, sexuality, language, and other covert and overt constructions.

Creating new work at the Colloquium challenges me in a way that very few other situations do. I arrive at an unfamiliar site in the morning, notice what is taking place, immediately begin to create a new work that reflects the activities around me—and then present the work in the afternoon of the same day. I am challenged to create a “product” from start to finish in less than 6 hours pulling together and assembling my experience into a coherent narrative.

The pressure to produce something that will be shown, in whatever state it might be, at the end of the day could be paralyzing. Or (as has happened for me in the three Making Sense Colloquia in which I’ve participated) terrifying, energizing, and invigorating.

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