Acts of Embodiment. 2006 Book Chapter 'Acts of embodiment: explorations in collaborative phototherapy' with Conway, Stephanie: Sherbrooke College, Montreal, Canada in D. Barndt (ed) Wild Fire: Art as Activism, Toronto: Sumach Press, pp205-220, ISBN 1894549554
The collection of essays in Wild Fire brings together artists who share a passion for art as well as politics, community and social change. Together with Montreal-based lecturer Stephanie Conway, Julia wrote about their shared interest in, and personal experience of doing collaborative Phototherapy. In 1995, Deborah Barndt, popular educator, photographer and professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, introduced Stephanie to Julia.
Subsequently, Stephanie and Julia practiced collaborative phototherapy for several years and then decided to share their explorations with phototherapy to encourage others to try this powerful method for themselves. In the first section they define phototherapy as a working method. They situate the practice by presenting the pioneering work of British photographers Jo Spence and Rosy Martin. In the second section, they discuss their own experience with phototherapy including step-by-step guidelines, followed by individual analyses of two recent sessions. In discussions with Jo Spence’s former partner, Terry Dennett, now the curator of the Jo Spence memorial archive, and an eminent writer in the field, they developed their own practice.
The book has been reviewed by the popular education press and has been ordered by university libraries in Canada, the US and Europe. The article is dedicated to the memory of Jo Spence, and to Terry Dennett and Keith Kennedy, who pioneered phototherapy and photography in the community in Britain in the 1970s, and was cited as an inspiration by Spence herself.
Photography as a tool for personal and social change has been important in Julia’s work as a participatory community arts practitioner. In the early 90s, she learned popular education techniques from Deborah Barndt. Through Deborah, Julia had the opportunity to spend a year facilitating and documenting a literacy project at the Canadian Multilingual Literacy Centre, working alongside ESL students from Central America. This project has subsequently led to work in a variety of settings and with community groups from many areas of society, including mental health groups, refugee groups, young people, street drinkers and disability groups in Canada, the UK, West Africa, and Hong Kong.
These enriching and creative experiences are reflected in two courses Julia developed at the University of Brighton: Participatory Media Art Production for Social Change, a Masters course on the MA Creative Media; and the 2nd year BA Photography project: 'Returning the Gaze: Imaging Body, Identity, Community', and have informed her interest in therapeutic uses of photography (also see Research Activities page).
Sumach Press published our essay 'Acts of Embodiment' in 2006 in the book Wild Fire: Art as Activism.
As summarized by a review by the Popular Education news: "each essay demonstrates that a critical artistic vision crosses many boundaries to inspire not only our imaginations but also social and environmental movements."
"This collection spans the globe and exhibits a variety of writing styles, from Petra Kukacka’s stream of consciousness piece 'Mixing Metaphors' to more academic dissertations like Stephanie Conway & Julia Winckler’s 'Acts of Embodiment'… I really enjoyed reading about the act of creating community art in the heart of the struggles that go on every day in our word."
(www.artheals.org/news/news.php Summer 2009).
"The collection of essays in Wild Fire: Art as Activism highlights collaborative, art-based practices used to stimulate a wide range of social and environmental education. The modes of expression profiled in the book are diverse: storytelling, chatting, poetry, zines, street theatre, guerrilla theatre, masks, puppetry, drums, meditational chanting, protest singing, community radio, drawing, painting, murals, homemade postcards, textile art, sewing, weaving, photo stories, photo therapy, adbusting and more. However, more than the art form, it is the context surrounding the stories that holds the reader. We learn of facilitators building group identity, consciousness-raising and addressing issues of social dislocation and environmental fragmentation. Among the 17 essays, numerous stories vibrate with optimism. They provide important examples of transformative education at work. Despite the numerous tensions present in alternative art and popular education practices, the potency of this book lies in the fact that such activities provide different models of how community education can work."
(excerpted from review by Heather MacLeod, Alternatives Journal Vol. 32, No. 4/5 Winter 2006/2007)