House Life

House Life

Arts and Well Being

This is a program community that is focused on how the arts work to promote human well being for individuals, groups, and communities. It is tied into a larger community engagement project in Philadelphia that Dr. Carol Muller has recently initiated. The idea is that sometimes “talk therapy” doesn’t adequately address particular kinds of emotional distress and trauma that are felt in the human body but not easily articulated verbally or cognitively. We will come to understand medical models of well being, and ways in which communities around the world address trauma and distress through collective rituals, performance, and various forms of art making. We will practice our own well being through a variety of forms of self expression that don’t require any kind of ‘talent’ or ‘skill’ just a willingness to express deeply felt emotion through the arts and performance.

Offers Participants

Penn recently appointed a Chief Wellness Officer and is striving to make the campus a more supportive place for students to learn and thrive. We recognize that coming to Penn as a first year has its own stresses and can feel quite overwhelming. Our residential community will provide a core sense of a safe and caring place for students to acquire strategies and practices that promote self-care. Students will also reach beyond themselves into the city of Philadelphia, to learn a variety of strategies for self care in the world at large. In the spring semester we will extend our learning into a community project in the city of Philadelphia, sharing our knowledge and resources with those in need of such knowledge and resources.

Philosophy/Other Pertinent Information

This is an inherently interdisciplinary and cross-cultural community, one that requires students to engage in thinking about lived practice, about different ways of being and forms of healing on campus and in the world at large. Students will have to be willing to engage the arts as a strategy of personal well being, and then be willing to share that knowledge and experience with others off campus.

Amanda Atkinson, Ware House Dean

Program Members: 18