Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

HeART Stories

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Photo | Raymond Holman, Jr. 

HeART Stories: Building Empathy Through the Arts is a two-year collaborative project between Jefferson, Theater of Witness and ARTZ Philadelphia, in which people living with dementia and their care partners become mentors to Jefferson health professions students. All participants engage in a creative process of empathy-building, storytelling and relationship-forming that will culminate in an original theater performance work.

Through ARTZ Philadelphia, approximately 80 people living with dementia and care partners will become mentors to students by engaging in a series of intimate conversations generated by arts-based experiences and punctuated by facilitated learning sessions. The course is designed to engage students in first understanding people as people and only second as patients.

Working with Theater of Witness, which produces testimonial performances, students will practice deep listening and develop autobiographic and partner pieces within the classroom setting. Teya Sepinuck, founder and artistic director, will lead listening circles of students who will engage in sharing their own stories through a variety of creative processes. A select group will work with Sepinuck over an extended period of time to develop a full Theater of Witness production about what it means to become a healer.

HeART Stories: Building Empathy Through the Arts is open to all Jefferson students, but space is limited. To register, view the schedule below and pick the group you would like to join, then email Megan Voeller, Director of Humanities, megan.voeller@jefferson.edu, with your request. 

Note: Sessions take place on Jefferson’s Center City campus unless otherwise indicated.

Group 1

Sat., Feb. 2, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Sat., Feb. 9, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Sat., Feb. 16, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Sat., Feb. 23, 9:30-11:00 a.m.
PICK ONE - Sun., Feb. 24, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 24, 1-4 p.m.; Sat., Mar. 2, 1-4 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 2, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Sat., Mar. 23, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Sat., Apr. 6, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Sun., Apr. 7 , 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Sat., Apr. 13, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Group 2

Sat., Feb. 2, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Woodmere Art Museum
Sat., Feb. 9, 3-4 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 16, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Woodmere Art Museum
Sat., Feb. 23, 12:30-2 p.m.
PICK ONE - Sat., Feb. 23, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 24, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 24, 1-4 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 2, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 23, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Woodmere Art Museum
Sat., Apr. 6, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Sun., Apr. 7, 1-3 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 13, 1-3 p.m.

Group 3

Tues, Feb. 5, 1:30-2:30 p.m. - St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Tues., Feb. 12, 3-4 p.m. - St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Tues, Feb. 19, 1:30-2:30 p.m. - St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
PICK ONE - Sat., Feb. 23, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 24, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 24, 1-4 p.m.; Sat., Mar. 2, 1-4 p.m.
Tues., Mar. 5, 1:30-2:30 p.m. - St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Tues., Mar. 12, 1:30-2:30 p.m. - St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Tues., Mar. 19, 1:30-2:30 p.m. - St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Tues., Apr. 2, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Tues., Apr. 9, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Tues., Apr. 16, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Becoming the Vessel: Intensive Theater of Witness Training
Friday, January 11, 7-9 p.m., BLSB 101
Saturday, January 12, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Eakins Lounge
Sunday, January 13, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Eakins Lounge

Led by Theater of Witness founder and artistic director Teya Sepinuck, this 16-hour experiential workshop focuses on strengthening and expanding participants' ability to bear witness and work creatively with stories of suffering and transformation. Participants will practice deep listening and how to become vessels of steadiness, compassion and wisdom for themselves as well as for others. They will create short autobiographical stories and work closely in creative partnerships.

Free and open to the public; space is limited and a discussion with Teya is required in advance. Contact teya@theaterofwitness.org for more information.

Note: Sessions take place on Jefferson’s Center City campus unless otherwise indicated.

Group 1

Sat., Sept. 8, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Sat., Sept. 15, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Sat., Sept. 29, 9:30-10:30 a.m. -  Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Sat., Oct. 6, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 7, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 
Sat., Oct. 13, 9:30-10:30 a.m. 
Sat., Oct. 20, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Sat., Nov. 3, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 4, 12-2 p.m. **optional
Sat., Nov. 10, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Sat., Nov. 17, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Group 2

Sat., Sept. 8, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Woodmere Art Museum
Sat., Sept. 15, 2:30-3:30 p.m. 
Sat., Sept. 29, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Woodmere Art Museum
Sat., Oct. 6, 1-2:30 p.m. 
Sun., Oct. 7, 1-3 p.m. 
Sat., Oct. 13, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Woodmere Art Museum
Sat., Oct. 20, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m
Sat., Nov. 3, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 4, 12-2 p.m. **optional
Sat., Nov. 10, 12:30-2:30 p.m. 
Sat., Nov. 17, 12:30-2:30 p.m. 

Group 3

Tues., Sept. 11, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. - Fleisher Art Memorial
Tues., Sept. 18, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Tues., Sept. 25, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. - Fleisher Art Memorial
Tuesday, Oct. 2, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 9, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. - Fleisher Art Memorial
Tuesday, Oct. 16, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 23, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 4, 12-2 p.m. **optional
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Group 4

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 1:30-2:30 p.m. - St Stephen’s Church
Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2:30-3:30 p.m. - St Stephen’s Church
Tuesday, Sept. 25, 1:30-2:30 p.m. - St Stephen’s Church
Tuesday, Oct. 2, 1:30-3 p.m. - St Stephen’s Church
Saturday, Oct. 6, 1-3 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 9, 1:30-2:30 p.m. - St Stephen’s Church
Tuesday, Oct. 16, 1:30-2:30 p.m. - St Stephen’s Church
Tuesday, Oct. 23, 1:30-4:30 p.m. - St Stephen’s Church
Sunday, Nov. 4, 12-2 p.m. **optional
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

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