FATAG Conference - Call for Abstracts

18 February 2022

Call for Abstracts:

This is a call for abstracts on the subject of ‘asylum’ for the next FATAG conference that will be held in the late spring of 2022 date tbc.

‘No one leaves home unless
Home is the mouth of a shark’.

Warsan Shire, British-Somalian poet.

https://www.facinghistory.org/standing-up-hatred-intolerance/warsan-shire-home whole poem available here.

The original use of the word “asylum” was as a “sanctuary or inviolable place of refuge and protection for criminals and debtors, from which they cannot be forcibly removed without sacrilege,” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary. At one time in Europe, churches and other consecrated places offered a place of safety and sanctuary for those considered, often due to oppression, marginalization or prejudice, on the wrong side of the law.

Asylums originally housed lepers and other people with communicable diseases outside of the city in a bid to protect the general public. These later evolved into “lunatic asylums” intended to separate the well and the “dis-eased”. 

Asylum is now more commonly understood in connection with refugees seeking asylum from war torn countries. However, “asylum seekers” remain vulnerable and continue to be persecuted; taken advantage of, demonised in the popular press and ruled against by government.

These hostile policies criminalise asylum seekers; detaining them, often indefinitely, in immigration removal centres, secure hospitals and prisons. Secure settings are thus inhabited by displaced and excluded people who have come either seeking safety from other countries or whose mental safety has been eroded by traumas often in the place they know as ‘home’. Asylum seekers include a diverse range of people, many of whom may have experienced exclusion in their places of birth due to religious or societal beliefs and identities and who are likely to experience on-going prejudice in their search for safety.

As we navigate our way through the pandemic, many arts therapists have needed to adapt their practice and additionally may have experienced their own isolation and separation to safely manage infection. The FATAG committee invites presentation submissions from groups or individual arts therapists and professionals on the subject of ‘asylum’. We encourage a broad range of presentations that will explore how as therapists, we may attempt to creatively engage and explore inner worlds of those driven to cross boundaries in order to find safety and refuge when we may be part of the system that excluded them in the first place.

Please send all submissions by email to Fatag1@aol.com

Please note deadline for submissions is 6pm on Friday 18th February 2022.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year!


With best wishes,
Heidi Jockelson