A Journey of Art and Healing: Student’s Div III Explores Grief and the Inner Child

Born in Amherst but raised in a small town in Georgia, Fable is a fourth-year student studying storytelling through studio art and media studies, focusing on grief, trauma, and the inner child. We talked to them about their Division III project, their Hampshire experience, and why they describe the College as a “mirror or blank piece of paper.”

What brought you to Hampshire?

I was excited by the absence of grades and required classes, and how independent the students are encouraged to be. I felt like Hampshire was the only option for me, especially since I wanted to study an array of subjects that other colleges would have pressured me to choose from.

Can you talk a little about your academic experience?

The Div process has expanded my learning and how I create art. It seemed tedious at first, but now I have wonderful portfolios and reflections to look back on as I work on my Div III project. I feel prepared to navigate my final year and leave Hampshire with things to carry with me. If we just had grades and tests, I don’t think I'd feel as confident about my future.

Tell us about your Division III.

The project is an exploration of grief, specifically the five stages of grief, through the lens of the inner child. It’ll be an interactive experience where viewers will be encouraged to engage through a series of activities, such as playing with a dollhouse, placing stickers, dressing up a doll, and indulging in an auditory experience. Some moments will be awkward or silly and others will be quiet and isolated.

This project is extremely close to my heart, as this past year I experienced the loss of not only two family members, but also three pets. I also watched my parents grieve the same losses and either retreat into themselves or reach out to their community. While grief can be about more than death, I found myself finding comfort in the emotional recovery that comes with coping with that type of loss. 

The inner child comes into play as that part of ourselves that holds grief in its unique way. Some topics may be too intense for someone to process outwardly, but by engaging in childlike activities, their inner child can play and heal, thus creating a safe and softer engagement with grief and trauma. I have been studying inner child work and the use of art to express and engage with trauma, so this project ties all of those elements together. 

My goal is for people to interact with my art and find comfort, space for reflection, and space for inner child play.

How would you describe Hampshire to future students?

Hampshire is like a mirror or a blank piece of paper. It will reflect what you put into it. This can be daunting, but also empowering. Aside from the strong and welcoming community, Hampshire is a place to develop your voice. No matter the passion or project, if you can be brave enough to ask for it, you’ll get the support you need. 

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