Easel news

VTS Facilitator Training – Winter 2022

Thanks to the generous support of the Lithuanian Culture Council this training was FREE!

Trainer: Karen Vanhercke

Facilitators in a 10-week training hosted online from Vilnius, February – May 2022.

Enjoying a sense of diversity

Seeing all the ways in which the recent graduates of the Facilitator Training, are applying their new skills in their diverse communities, makes me realise exactly why I love art-based dialogue so much! Clearly, there are as many ways to look at art as there are people looking! Reading some of the participants’ bios below will give you an idea of the diversity of our training group – and may inspire you to take a training yourself!

Through art-based dialogue people can engage about a wide range of topics, such as: wellbeing, freedom, identity, community, environment and many more. We started our sessions shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the anxiety related to this was tangible amongst the participants from day one. Some people opted out fairly soon, needing to find calm away from social media, for others however, the weekly image discussions became a haven of rest.

The need to stay connected and to talk about what was going on was what drove me during those weeks. I invested great care in creating a safe and positive atmosphere in the zoom sessions and in our closed facebook group. Less people graduated than I anticipated, nevertheless a new generation of facilitators and dialogue enthusiast was established and art-based dialogue gained visibility. Inspiring questions came up: How to sustain the empathy that people harvest from dialogue and how to invest it back into the community? I’m confident that the thought process will continue to resonate.

Meet our learning Community

Andželika is a Lithuanian teacher in the Sofijos Kovalevskajos gimnazija in Vilnius (Lithuania). As an amateur photographer she knows very well the power of images, and she actively integrates art-based dialogue in her  school curriculum.
Anne is a lecturer at UCLL (Belgium) specialising in labour and social security law - and in mediation. She is sure that image discussions can help people to become aware of their biases in conflict situations and that the will develop a more tolerant view of diverging opinions in the process.

“I understood myself and others better through the art. This mutual understanding is exactly what is needed in mediation”

– Anne Van Langendonck –
Aušrinė is a climbing instructor at Montis Magia and a facilitator at Susirainkimai in Vilnius (Lithuania). She inspires people to use Visual Thinking to create images themselves! Not art, per se, but story boards and drawings that support innovative thought processes.
Karen Vanhercke, Slide from VTS Training – “Art-based dialogue connects people on a deeper level”, 2022
Elexis is a senior auditor at the AmInvestment Bank Berhad (Malaysia). Despite the time difference she joins our live sessions a few times and stays connected throughout the course via the Facebook group. Her presence infuses our dialogue with refreshing perspectives from a totally different part of the world!

“I know I need to sleep now, but I want to share one more picture in response to the clown we discussed – maybe he is an Underworld Messenger like in the Goblin ?!”

– Elexis Yap –
Still image from the popular Korean Drama, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, 2016-2017.
Indre is a graphic designer who coaches methods of individual psychology at Žmogaus Dizainas. She thinks reflection about art can help people to connect to a more authentic version of themselves. She intends to practice “one on one" art conversation, and inviting her client's inner child to take part! Sign me up, Indre!
Ernesta and Kamilė are educational curators at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius. Their approach to education is radically innovative and in comparison to the programs they run, our methodologies seem only mildly experimental. We look forward to a continued exchange of ideas with them!
Ieva is a lecturer at the Vilnius University, specialising in Adaptive Leadership. What sets her apart in academia is her deep spirituality and caring engagement. She uses art-based dialogue not only to observe what is going on in the pictures, but also what is going on in her own inner reality. Amazing!

This VTS training is full of treasures. It was a joy to be in the group and to experience the support and knowledge needed to develop facilitation skills. Karen is a perfect role model to follow.”

Ieve Sližienė
Janice owns a family real estate business in Washington (USA) and is a life long learner. Her amazing sense of community helps solidify our learning group and strengthens connections amongst the participants.  Ultimately, her goal with art-based dialogue is to raise social justice awareness.
Katrijn is a heritage advisor working to support diversity and cultural awareness in Flanders. She thinks image discussions are the best way to create dialogue. Being listened-to, she says, is a great catalyst for listening to others.  With that firmly plants art-based dialogue into the soil of cultural activism!

“My first image discussion was in my daughter’s class and it was a success.  Next, I think my colleagues at FARO will want to integrate art-based dialogue in their work as well.”

Katrijn D’hamers
Lina is the co-founder of Europos Parkas, an open air sculpture museum near Vilnius. On Slow Art Day, she hosted two image discussions in this wonderful location. She is one of the pioneers of slow looking in Lithuania, a perfect match for art-based dialogue! 
Slow Art Day 2022 at Europos Parkas with Lina Karosienė (photo: Gintarė Užtupytė)

“One of the most interesting courses in which I participated these last three years. Already I use some of the elements with children groups” 

Lina Karosienė
Laurette is an emeritus professor at Loyola College in Maryland (USA). She enjoys traveling and meeting people from all around world. The pandemic put a stop to that, but through her online art community she reconnected with many of her dearest friends! 
Oleksandra is a Ukrainian screenwriter, currently studying art in Vilnius. She applies the theory of art-based dialogue in her MFA project - “Land warmed by Alien Sun”. She also hosts image discussions for Ukrainian people at MO Museum.
Oleksandra Mazurenko, Land warmed by Alien Sun, 2022
Tania is a Mexican art historian, living in Belgium.  Right now her family and her PhD demand her full attention, but I expect her to run with art-based dialogue as soon as she presents - in June! Did I say run? I meant: dance, leap, fly! Tania, we can't wait to have you on board!
Rosa Rolanda, Self-portrait, 1952

“Pure solid knowledge on theory and practice! This course makes it crystal clear how important art is to develop observation and verbal expression. Highly recommended!” 

Tania Gamez de Leon
Yuliya is from Belarus. Her background is in finances, however she often visits galleries, for inspiration. She says that the facilitator training boosted her enjoyment of art and also primed her for more effective communication with her business clients! She speaks four languages fluently and tops that off with excellent visual literacy!
Live training session at MO Museum with Yuliya Batura (Photo: Juste Vanhercke)

“I learnt about impartiality and about being comfortable with disagreement in a discussion. Just the other day I walked into a gallery and was surprised by how much more I SEE! Overall I feel changed by this training and I 100% recommend it to my colleagues and friends!”

Yulija Batura