In celebration of the Black History Month theme “African Americans and the Arts,” the NSU African American History Month Committee and the Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work presented Art is Transformative and Collective Healing. This event featured award-winning actress and Social Work poet Dr. Helena D. Lewis, who held an Art in Research roundtable for graduate students and gave a keynote campus lecture. 

This was an opportunity for NSU students to hear how they can infuse artistry into the field of social work. “In our tradition as healers and community workers, we can use art to advance healing, freedom, and advancing causes in our communities,” says Dr. Colita Fairfax, Professor for the Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work.  

In the lecture, Dr. Lewis explored the intersectionality of creative arts, divergent thinking, and collective healing through her family experiences. “I’m using what I learn from my father and use it in the form of poems, monologues, and plays to disseminate his knowledge just like the way I use my qualitative research for wrongly incarcerated women to disseminate knowledge,” says Dr. Lewis. 

Throughout her presentation, she stressed the importance of separating the person from the problem and remembering that everyone is human. Dr. Lewis ended her lecture with this message, “As we are doing the work of social work, I want to encourage you all to find nontraditional ways to disseminate knowledge because if we don’t, people won’t fully understand the nuances of our experiences and why social work is needed.” 

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