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Remembering Michael Edwards

Blog March 12, 2020

It is fitting that today, March 13th, the tenth anniversary of his death, the Champernowne community should remember and celebrate the life and contribution of Michael Edwards. 

You are invited to share your recollections of Michael, whether from Champernowne events or otherwise. As we celebrate our 50th year, let us also celebrate one of our most significant contributors.

Michael was involved with the Trust from its inception, having been a part of Irene Champernowne’s pioneering arts-based therapeutic community, Withymead.  He attended every course from the first gathering in 1972 until he retired after twenty years as Course Director in 2005.

Many will remember him with appreciation, and affection, for his engaging, playful, and penetrating talks* on the first evening of each course, his light-touch guidance through the week, his immersive Group Drawing workshops, his joyous trumpet joining in with the jazz band at the final evening’s dancing, and for the gentle admonition with which he sent us on our way: “remember you have been in a different time and space, the world out there moves faster, and may not be so interested in what you have experienced here as you expect.”

In the wider field field of Art Therapy, his Influence has been recognised:

He was a founding member, chair, fellow and honorary life member of the British Association of Art Therapists.

In 1969 he set up one of the first art therapy training courses in the world, located in Birmingham.

 Around 1981 he established the first university-based art therapy training program in Canada, at Concordia University in Montreal, ”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Edwards_(art_therapist)

His perspective on the role of the Image and of creativity has helped to form the hard-to-define ethos of Champernowne, represented in the title of this short article, and the appended quote from Jung.

THE IMAGE AS ITS OWN BEST EXPLANATION

‘Concepts are coined and negotiable values; images are life’

Wikipedia continues:

 “As a Jungian teacher and practitioner, [he] influenced the field of art therapy internationally to appreciate the potential of symbols and images to carry multiple and ambiguous meanings. 

He taught that approaching a painting or a drawing as if it were “independent and semi-autonomous”[would amplify rather than reduce its meanings and allow imaginative dialogue, to the end of deepening understanding of the art for both the patient and the therapist.”

End note

You may be interested to know that Michael’s daughter Tamsin Edwards, a noted climate scientist in her own right, serves a member of the Board of Trustees, and so is carrying on the tradition.

This talk explores the continuity between Michael’s Jungian perspective and her contemporary scientific explorations : https://www.discoverthebluedot.com/video/tamsin-edwards:-polar-thinking

Send us your recollections of Michael Edwards: email, facebook, linkedin or comment below.

* Many of Michael’s talks (along with some other writings) have been collected in the book:

A Jungian Circumambulation of Art & Therapy: Ornithology for the Birds

Written by: Michael Gavin

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