Chapter 8: The Give-Back of the Giving

  • Kelley Aitken


Aitken reviews a decade of teaching art to women in the shelter system. “The Give-Back of the Giving” refers to the reciprocal nature of the student-teacher relationship in a program where women facing significant financial and mental and physical health issues were able to attend to their desire for creative expression. Out of that weekly exploration, a slow sense of belonging and identity could manifest. A particular kind of communication was forged, through often challenging exchanges, and alternately angry or insightful observations by the women of each other, their situation and the author’s own behavior. Aitken recognizes teaching as a pillar in her own creative practice and reflects on the way creativity and a sense of contribution can, to some degree, allay suffering.


  1. Oz, Amos. Interview with Eleanor Wachtel. Writers and Company. CBC Radio. September 19, 2010.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelley Aitken
    • 1
  1. 1.TorontoCanada

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