Trauma and Memory: Healing Through Art


  • Shirley Hayes Buffalo State


psychology, healing and art, simple trauma, memory, performance art, visual art, art education



Life’s traumas, whether major or simple traumas, create traces in the mind. These trauma traces, as physiological imprints or memories of past experiences, often dictate how we think, feel, and cope with life. Artists, including performance artists, often scrutinize memory and trauma as a means to psychologically deal with those experiences in their art and life. Their works are often cathartic, as in the accompanying script for a performative action monologue. With this text I hope to stir personal memories and provide a fertile playground for ideas that lead to creating rich works of art, hopefully with some catharsis for the creator.

Author Biography

Shirley Hayes, Buffalo State

Shirley Hayes holds a PhD from The Pennsylvania State University. Her teaching and professional experience include 20 years in higher education, 6 years as Art Consultant with the Tennessee Department of Education, and 11 years as an art specialist in grades K-12 in East Tennessee public schools. Dr. Hayes's professional interests include curriculum planning and instructional approaches in contemporary art education for elementary and secondary preservice teacher education. Specific interests include critical and social theory in art education and semiotic interpretation of works of art. Her refereed publications and presentations can be found at international, national, and regional levels.



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Trauma and Memory: Healing Through Art