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Making Sense

Beauty, Creativity, and Healing

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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Creativity and Innovation in the Fight to Restore Justice to All


by Sunny Schwartz

My waking hours are filled with bars, yelling, and concrete. The subtle and not so subtle violence of America’s correctional system envelops my mind and heart.

Half of my life, I worked with criminals and deputies. Behind the bars, the prisoners are like that mob of needy, grasping limbs, but their want is almost mindboggling after what they’ve done to others. What do they deserve? Sometimes, especially after I have heard from their victims, I think they deserve all the horror our system can dole out, and more….But those are my worst moments (as cynicism is the biggest occupational hazard): that’s not the reason I go to the jails every day. But it does beg the question, one I’ve confronted again and again, and want to try to answer here. Why? Why have I sought out the violent and the thieves, the castaways, the embarrassments, the liars, the dealers, the wife beaters, and old school gangsters?

I will never forget the first time walking down mainline, which is a maximum-security jail. Here I was, 26 years old, never been to a jail or prison, my first year in law school, thinking to myself, “What the hell did I get myself into?” Walking down there was worse than anything that I had imagined. The reeling, the jeering, one too many catcalls—I don’t know what gave me the chutzpah. I walked right over to the guy and jammed him,...

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