PhD candidate Rose Benson is a senior nurse anesthetist and researcher at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia and a practicing artist.
The UArts PhD in Creativity is an incredibly versatile program that supports me in my investigation into research questions that rest outside the conventional structures of both nursing practice and studio art-making. I believe that the diversity of knowledge and experience within the infrastructure of this program is uniquely suited to guide me as a dual trained professional in asking how the arts can help to alleviate the challenges affecting women experiencing violence in Philadelphia.
Writing from the lens of both a professional nurse and practicing artist, I investigate the history and technique of printmaking and adapt that knowledge into practical mechanisms that improve wellness among diverse populations affected by physical, mental or spiritual challenges to health. A primary part of my thesis is the development of the Printmaking Art Narrative Project, a collection of twelve printmaking exercises which investigate the use of art as a resiliency tool for women experiencing and adapting to violent events. Each printmaking project maintains the following characteristics. Each project must be “teachable”. “Teachable” means that instructions and techniques must be easily taught to and by art facilitators with varied art experience to cohort group participants with varied art experience. Each project must be “printable”. “Printable” means that the image is easily reproducible in editions of ten, using varied hand-made or ready-made matrixes. Each project must be “doable”. “Doable” means that each project must be completed in one sitting. One sitting is equivalent to a three-hour session of time. Each project must be “sustainable”. “Sustainable” refers to the utilization of available resources with minimal waste. Each project must be visually “narrative”. In this context, “narrative” refers to telling a visual story about the physical, mental and spiritual effects of and recovery from a participant’s experience with violence. Visual content can be realistic, abstract and/or non-representational and all participants will be supported and encouraged to express themselves freely within the generalized constructs of each exercise’s plan. Through a comprehensive discussion of the what, why, when, where and how of making art in a post-Covid era, this thesis thoroughly examines the necessity of creativity to process the challenges of shared human experience and foster connection among populations seeking resilience during times of crisis.
Buzz Spector, Visiting Faculty, The PhD in Creativity at the University of the Arts
Suzanne Hudson, Associate Professor of Art History and Fine Arts, University of Southern California
Simon Kim, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design