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The Light Inside: A Reflection on an Art Program, Traumatised Women and Thriving during the 2020 Pandemic


COVID-19 and the lockdown are not the worst things to have been imposed upon the people with whom I work. In fact, their lives marinated in childhood sexual trauma, abuse, neglect, family violence, severe mental ill health, and/or disability, have prepared them well for isolation, self-reliance, and uncertainty. Deep wells of resilience, coping skills and an outlook on life formed in the shadow of trauma has enabled these women to manage the impact of the virus much better than they or I expected at the start of the pandemic lockdown. However, that is not to say it has been all smooth sailing. 

This study reflects on some of the inner and external resources that supported women through this. As users of this service receive National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding, it is valuable to reflect upon how its continued active support of users assists them and helps minimise the multiple losses and effects of the lockdown and virus.

This is a case study of one small art service being provided to women in Melbourne, Australia. It explores how COVID-19 has impacted them, some of their losses, and their desires for the future post-lockdown. Its focus is on the threads that have woven a sense of community through this service and how women who have never met each other have provided practical and emotional support to each other to alleviate some of the adverse effects of the virus. It speaks to the artist's contributions, the NDIS, and the service provided in enabling those who could have expected to be overwhelmed and severely impacted by this situation, if not to flourish during this time, at least not sink into despair and depression.


Art, Trauma, Kindness, Community, COVID-19, Pandemic



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