Biography and Social Art Certificate Program is returning to a Three-Year Format
We have found that the magic of three is the rhythm best suited to developing a deep relationship to this way of working. Over the course of three years we explore first what it is to be Human through gender, the four temperaments, the seven soul types and the twelve senses. In the second year we bring ever more attention to our interface with others as we research together the phases of human development, practice facilitating experiences for others and guide biographical conversations. In the third year we take a look at the big picture of human evolution through art and the theme of thresholds as individuals are preparing to present their projects for completion. Each year we meet as a group three times; two weeks in the summer and one week each in the fall and in late winter or early spring.
WEST Coast Group forming NOW. Block 1-June 28-July 8, 2018. Location: Waldorf School of San Diego, California. Block 2- October 20-24, 2018 at the Waldorf School of Orange County, California. Block 3- February 16-20, 2019 at the Waldorf School of San Diego. Year 2 and 3 dates TBD.
EAST Coast Group forming NOW. Start date: 2019.
First year East Coast students share thoughts about the Biography and Social Art Program. Video by Dana Jenks, Physics and Art Teacher at George Washington Carver School of Arts and Science.
Biography and Social Art Certificate Program
Life Gestures and Human Development
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The Biography and Social Art Program is a unique, part-time training for individuals interested in a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. Practicing the art of human encounter, along with inner work, is preparation for leading others toward new possibilities of connecting with life in richer and more meaningful ways.
THE BIOGRAPHY AND SOCIAL ART TRAINING PROGRAM is for people who wish to become biography and social art facilitators or to enhance their current work with a deeper attention to biographical themes. The training involves engaging more deeply with one’s own and other’s life stories, with the world around us, and with ideas of an evolving universe. We take up nature observation, inner work, journaling, artistic media, communication skills and the social artistry of becoming human with the goal of awakening new capacities. The comprehensive nature of this way of working provides an experiential foundation for the picture of human development outlined by Rudolf Steiner. Whether you are new to anthroposophy ‐ “wisdom of the human being” ‐ or have been studying for years, this way of working brings new life and meaning to the idea and practice of an evolving path of consciousness.
It is fundamental to this work that we come together in person, as our emphasis is on finding and cultivating the creative human spirit through the mystery of human encounter. Although we use modern technology to stay in touch, we find there is still no substitute for working together in real time and space.
The Biography and Social Art Program is a member of the International Trainer’s Forum, which is made up of representatives from biographical training programs around the world. Participants are awarded a certificate, recognized by the School of Spiritual Science in Dornach, Switzerland upon completion of all phases of the training.
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An Overview of Biography and Social Art
What is Biography Work, this new approach to human life which is being developed more and more around the world? Rather than merely focusing on the details of an individual life, it expands our human perspective to include an exploration of the larger world within which we live. Learning to read biography–“life-writing” as the word suggests–encourages an appreciation for the cosmic rhythms that sustain life. Discovering the growth process of a rose or drawing the seasons of a tree can bring a sense of order and lawfulness as we look at human life. The Biography and Social Art Certificate Program takes us into the complexities of human becoming and sheds light on questions of meaning.
Social Art describes a way of working in which discoveries and insights are enhanced by entering artistically, with others, into the exploration of a theme. Quiet work with pastels, paint or clay can open us to a new way of seeing; and then sharing in small groups can encourage further openings.
The Biography and Social Art Certificate Program provides a laboratory in which participants are trained through their own activity. Working together with stories–our own and also fairy tales and myths–awakens new imaginations that can break the spell that has enchanted the world and bewitched us into believing only what can be weighed and measured. Working artistically with others, participants cultivate a living understanding of nature, biography, the story of humanity, and the cosmos. Learning to trust process, while lessening the focus on product, encourages a sense of play, risk and adventure.
There is a great need in our present culture for people who can guide explorations into the nature of the human being in ways that reveal wholeness and connection. This program offers professional development for a variety of fields, or it can be a preparation to provide learning opportunities for others seeking personal transformation, healing and a more conscious understanding of life. Former students have brought their learning into a variety of professions: biographical counseling, art therapy, elder care, parent education, health work, death care, adult education and many other avenues of working with personal and community development.
This is an exciting time in the biography of this course. We are always training ourselves to look at life as a continuous process of development and becoming, and this is a time when biography work itself is becoming more recognized and sought after in this country. There are a number of trainings and many ‘biography workers’ in most European countries, as well as in Israel, Japan and Brazil; there has been a slower growth in the United States with this being the only certificate training.Of course, there have always been those pioneers who brought biography work from the Centre for Social Development in England and their own longstanding relationship to Anthroposophy, who have been active in the U.S. and helped to spread an understanding of what an objective look at life could offer. This training, which was founded in 1997 by Signe Schaefer, came with an impulse to bring a unique character to biography work that has a strong component of working socially with both artistic media and the art of conversation. Both of these have a countering and balancing effect on the anti-social forces that predominate today. Maria deZwaan, an art therapist from Holland, was a wonderful and strong influence in the first cycles and helped to realize this impulse. The program continues to evolve with each new group being part of its on-going development. It has never been limited to looking only at the phases of a human life but includes observing and studying the processes of unfolding, transformation and metamorphosis, which occur in all of life. Be it a seed or planet or person, we can trust that we are seeing something that is in process and as we train ourselves to see life as being in process, then the meaning inherent in what we are seeing may be revealed. Recently we have begun to explore what we have termed the ‘biographical conversation’ as something different from coaching or counseling, although it may serve some of the same goals. Since the beginning of the program Margli Matthews, long-time director of the biographical counseling program in England, offered a block on the ‘Helping Conversation’ that has been foundational to the evolving of a one-to-one approach. It is also a time of transition as Signe steps back from directing the program and will be supporting the work from her role as President of the Board for the Center for Biography and Social Art, the umbrella organization of the program. She will, of course, be available as guide and consultant and will also be active in seeking and setting up Master Classes for graduates of the course and others engaged in Biography Work. As sad and even difficult as it is to say goodbye to a founder in a leading role, it is also an opening (as Signe is fond of saying) for next steps to emerge that will take this work into the future. Part of that future is a collaboration of four lead faculty, all of whom have been participants in the course. They are Patricia Rubano, who has been co-director of the course and involved since the beginning; Leah Walker, who was part of the first cycle has incorporated this work into her counseling-psychotheraputic practice; Kathleen Bowen, who after graduating from the program, was an intern through another cycle and is the coordinator for the Center for Biography and Social Art; and Joseph Rubano, who was part of the first cycle and who also did the Biographical Counseling Course in England with Margli Matthews and Anita Charton will take this work into the future.