By Stephanie Lloyd 

On the “anniversary of lockdown,” we felt it was important to bring our alumni community together for a photo conversation that allowed individuals to reflect, share, alleviate stress, and encourage camaraderie. Photo sharing (one of the steps of the photovoice process) allows individuals to consider a topic and share something meaningful, through pictures and narrative. Alumni participants were asked to bring a photo related to reflection:  

  • How would you capture the entire year in a photo? 
  • What is an interesting discovery you made this year?   
  • What has been the biggest challenge for you during the pandemic? 
  • What has changed in your community over the year? 

In light of our diverse experiences throughout 2020 in various locations around the world, we each brought a photo (or two) to explain and spark discussion. During this group conversation, we explored some feelings and metaphors surrounding living through the pandemic. Here are some of the photos shared and excerpts from the conversation.  

I went back to the office for the first time and saw this apple sitting on my desk. The last day I was in the office for a while, I didn’t know it was the last day. And now, the apple still has its shape, so it survived in a way. Throwing that apple away was a way to do something with the situation. Its old, lost, and wasted so you throw it away…  

It was something that I wouldn’t have experienced without the pandemic. There were so many things that we weren’t able to do because it was a pandemic and we worked from home. This apple might represent the experience, and each line means something.  

When taking the photo I was so focused on the ring, I didn’t notice the shadow. During the pandemic we were working in the shadows and now we are seeing things in a new light. There have been some hidden jewels that have thrived and helped us to see in new ways. In some ways the pandemic has connected us more to family. Spring is finally here, and the grass is green. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The brightness around the shadow makes it stand out even more.  

Working from home the whole year, I’ve gotten good at cooking! I made Indian spring break with my kids special by making Mango Lassi’s the other night. There have been positives from all of this. The pandemic has helped [me] to prioritize. I’ve improved my health by cooking and started online yoga training. By focusing on self-care, I’ve been literally and physically nourished. It is important to take time to pause and celebrate the small things.  “All is within.” 

During this time, I’ve connected with people from around the world – meeting every day doing dance, painting, drawing, sharing, writing, etc. This has been a beautiful experience during a scary time. At the beginning it felt like we were falling out of the sky and don’t know where we are going to land. And, through this experience I’ve met so many people and been opened up to so many other experiences. There are so many ways that the arts can be impactful and powerful. I’ve been on a journey finding my voice through my dissertation. And the “lock down” has been a time of learning and growth, and finding comfort at home. Almost like a cloud! 

Overall, this conversation yielded the themes that this has been a time of transformation – of minds, bodies, inter-spirituality, relationships, etc. At the end of this hour, we left feeling lighter and more empowered by our reflections of the past year.  

In order to continue to build our community, we frequently offer webinars and workshops that are only open to individuals who have taken our courses. If you are interested in joining our community, consider taking a training or reach out to learn more. Wishing everyone a safe and healthy spring!