Reflection on the labyrinth of the senses and its impact on the medium term


Multi-sensory Labyrinth organized at the Tibanesti Iasi, manor between August 2 and 7, 2016

Artistic interaction – echoes at the level of the village community

During the process of the multi-sensory labyrinth creation at the Petre P. Carp manor (including workshops, a performance, debate time, conclusions), we have continued working on the objective of getting closer to the village community. In agreement with the Pro Patrimonio team this objective has been carried out by means of dialogue and relationships established with the children and their families. We have considered from the very beginning that establishing relationships based on trust and initiating contacts with the parents is of utmost importance.
These relationships have also been supported by a teacher from school. In order to build trust the first atelier has been organized close to a location where other activities were being performed. It is there that the children’s drawings could be admired by the members of the group of voluntary restorers. Our exchange of impressions with the parents (grandparents) accompanying the children took place at the beginning and at the end of the atelier and continued during the entire week. One evening we had the opportunity of meeting some of the parents informally at a party organized in a small village museum.

At the same time we thought it important to support the bond established between the children and the voluntaries. (international participants voluntarily involved in the manor restoration).
In the first place this was enabled by the eating together there (we would like to thank the Association Maria for their help in this respect).
As soon as they got involved in constructing the labyrinth, the children could observe the ateliers closely, including the tools and materials, or the restoration work carried out by the voluntary restorers. We believe that this close proximity to the atelier underway has left strong memories that will most surely engender vocations.

Another idea was to use the interaction between the labyrinth actors (our target group) and the other children their age (that had not been included in the atelier). As we were advancing, different opportunities of this kind arose. During the multi sensorial experiences from the manor park, the children that came only to « watch» interacted naturally with their « labyrinth » colleagues.
In this context we have proposed to organize other ateliers in the park area that have increased the cooperation among children, such as: « costume creation », « theatrical representation », or just playing during spare time. These exchanges have enabled the labyrinth developers to answer several questions asked by the occasional atelier visitors.

Performance, public and impact of this experience

The “echo” of our ateliers has also enabled us to invite a diverse public to the final performance.
The children have invited their parents, relations and friends.
The great majority of the voluntaries included in the « Strike the iron at the manor » Program have chosen to participate in the performance as visitors. For the final performance we have made a list of 50 persons.
The following day the dialogue with the parents and teachers continued and this way we found out details on the participant commitment. Going through the labyrinth, the parents and grandparents told us stories about different events and happenings related to the manor. For example, this «imaginary voyage » unexpectedly reminded them of the existence of a photo archive of some modeling ateliers, etc.
The Pro-Patrimonio team considered opportune to initiate another project based on recording other villagers whose testimonies could resuscitate other aspects relating to the history of the manor, or village crafts that have long been forgotten.

« The labyrinth outside the workshop framework” and the therapeutic effects of art

In order to participate in the « labyrinth ateliers » we have established a registration framework based on the following criteria:  age (7 to 12 years old), regular participation and parents’ consent (especially).
We have decided out of security and deontological reasons, that we will not register children that do not meet these three criteria.  It goes without saying that our approach being an « inclusive » one has not prevented the “labyrinth group“ from interacting with the other children.
In the first place we would like to mention a group of children that have watched the labyrinth ateliers from a distance and have joined the multi-sensorial experiments in the park gradually, or anytime they had the opportunity.
Although these children din not meet the established criteria, especially the latter conditions (regular participation and parents’ written agreement), we noticed their desire to express themselves through the methods within the artistic ateliers.
Eventually, we found a way to solve this by calling it « labyrinth outside the framework », a way to improvise an informal work – atelier with these children, (shortly after the performance).
The children’s determination to continue watching and then efficiently assist us in our actions have convinced us to supply them with materials and offer them a work atelier outside the « labyrinth space” of the manor. This space – « the extra labyrinth space », without the observation of the other participants, became a more intimate one with activities including mask creation and story telling.
By means of this approach we have received information on their family conditions (very difficult ones, or on the difficulties these children encounter at school). Nevertheless, what is important is their desire to participate in an artistic event, an event that has required integration efforts quite easy to notice.
During such a short experience, a complete art-therapeutic approach is difficult to achieve. Anyway, this attempt has been very encouraging and foreshadows a larger range of possibilities in the field.

Ioana VIOLET  ((director of the sensory Labyrinth project, for Artees)


Bibliography for art therapy
Art-thérapie « C’est comme une médecine douce »: Dr Jean Pierre Klein dans  Le Figaro : par Pascale Senk le 16/06/2016 ,
Art-thérapie : la créativité au service des élèves perturbés dans  Le Figaro : par Julie Carballo – le 22/01/2015

Art et Art-thérapie