Meet: CLAIR ALDINGTON, our artmaking restorative justice practitioner

Drawing from Clair’s sketchbooks

The magic of co-creation (making with others), design and gifting in situations of transition, harm and conflict…

Clair works as a creative practitioner alongside her profession as an accredited restorative justice practitioner. She is based in Scotland, where she combines her artmaking practice with her Restorative Justice work. From 2001-2007, she worked with Oxfordshire Youth Offending Service, England.

Space2face RJ Arts Oranisation

Currently, Clair channels her skills into the Restorative Arts Organisation, called Space2face in Shetland, Scotland. What is Space2face, you may ask? Well, I’m glad you ask:

Space2face logo

This is how they introduce themselves on their website:

“Space2face is a restorative justice arts charity and a confidential and independent service. We work with those who’ve been harmed (victims) by crime and conflict, those responsible for causing harm (offenders) through crime and conflict, as well as all others affected by what has happened – the families and communities linked to those primarily involved.”

In 2016, Space2face received a Restorative Practice UK Award for their creative approaches to restorative justice (criminal justice category). And the best: Space2face is for EVERYONE! The organisation promises, “You don’t have to be creative or arty to use our service! We’ve just learned that through making, talking about difficult things is sometimes easier.” Definitely look through their page if this interests you: Space2face!

What is Clair going to share with us in her presentation?

Drawing Clair’s sketchbooks

Clair is in the final year of her PhD, which investigates whether a handmade gifted object can enable connections, or moments of convergence and solidarity across the space between people in Restorative Justice. …So basically, that means that she is researching the potential of self-made objects to connect people, in context of Restorative Justice.

In her workshop, she will share with us pieces from her PhD research in Restorative Justice and Design. It will quickly become evident, that Clair is very interested in language. Therefore, she is going to examine some of the words and phrases she has gathered to begin a discussion around language for speaking about the narratives of convergence (from ‘com’ – with, together + ‘vergere’ – to bend, turn, tend toward).

Peerie Boxes. A miniature exhibition curated with artist Kristi Tait, in partnership with Laura, a lady living with dementia

As part of the talk, Clair will show handmade objects gifted between participants in Restorative Justice encounters. Looking at these objects, you will hear through the artwork, the voices of the creators, and the moments of convergence they enabled, in part, through their objects. …”HEARING voices” through OBJECTS? This will truly be a holistic tickle for – at least two of- our senses!

Hungry to learn more about our wonder-full Clair? Click here: This link is the entrance door to her fascinating projects, more pictures of her stunning drawings and you can even get a glimpse into her personal sketchbooks! Oh, and last but not least: Clair also runs her own scientifically-artsy blog!

Unhealthy Victim-offender connections: Responding to trauma

A great number of our speakers will touch on the topic of trauma and its role in restorative approaches. Let me introduce six of the presenters from four different countries, who promise to explicitly and extensively discuss this matter.

Kerri Quinn (with two different presentations in her backpockets) , Lamika Wilson and Leaf Seligman are our pioneers from the US – But learn more about their work here:

Kerri Quinn, from the US, studied extensively the dynamics of interpersonal conflict and the impact of language and trauma in restorative practices. Furthermore, she is an extraordinarily experienced practitioner with over 1000 cases!

Kerri Quinn (picture taken from her website “Restorative Way

And now listen up… Kerri prepared TWO different WORKSHOPS for us!

If you tune into her first workshop, you will leave the conference equipped with trauma-responsive skills, a sharpened understanding of the dynamics of conflict, and specific language tools facilitators can use to de-escalate tension, encourage accountability and enhance listening.

If you come to her second workshop, you will be part of an in-depth exploration of the different stages of trauma experienced by both victims and offenders. Little disclaimer: In this presentation, she will share stories from high risk victim offender dialogues, like murder and vehicular homicide cases, that successfully broke this bond and allowed for restoration and healing.

Kerri is particularly interested in applying the lens of trauma to the undwanted bond created between victim and offender. This bond contributes to anxiety, trauma and impacts other relationships and possibilities for healing… If left unaddressed… On the other hand, this relationship holds great potency. Namely, the possibility for healing and growth – for both parties: VICTIM AND OFFENDER. Althought, achieving this end requires best practice. The kind of practice that leads to SUCCESSFUL cases, and how convenient that Kerri comes with many, many success stories!

And that’s not all: She also brings lots of valuable experience to this conference that lays the grounds for here talks. She is not only the co-creator of the Victim Offender Dialogue Program in Colorado, but she is also currently lecturing at the University of Colorado and the Creighton University Law School. But learn more about Kerri on here: “Restorative Way”!

Two other popular speakers from the US are Leaf Seligman and Lamika Wilson. (You might know Lamika already from our blog post on Restorative Cities “From Restorative Communities … to Restorative Cities … to Restorative States? “) Lamika describes herself as an “advocate for our most vulnerable population and high priority citizens.” Driven by her own experience as someone who has been victimized, her vision is to localize an “office that is accessible for the community”. This office should provide “direct services such as counselling, financial assistance timely and other supplemental resources needed to overcome trauma.” More about Leaf and her work, you can read in our other blog post, here: “Trauma and Restorative Justice: 8 specialists to learn from”