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Formerly the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP)

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Psychosocial Dialogues: Southern Stories of Struggle, Injustice & Healing

Apr 22, 2017 09:30am -
Apr 22, 2017 04:30pm

Event Description

The Psychosocial Work Group and the Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health, William James College


Psychosocial Dialogues:

Southern Stories of Struggle, Injustice and Healing

Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

University Hall Amphitheater (Room 2-150), Porter Campus, Lesley University

As part of the emerging field of Psychosocial Studies that challenges the disciplinary division between psychology and the social, this conference extends the crossing of disciplinary boundaries through dialogues among filmmakers, theorists and social activists. In today's polarized America it is even more urgent to try to connect with people whose lives might be shaped by very different cultural, geographical and historical experiences from our own.  This one day conference will feature presentations by filmmakers, writers and psychosocial researchers about their work in four locations in the American South: Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.  Short films and ethnographic material will vividly portray stories of addiction, poverty, and racial injustice, as well as resilience, creativity and courage.  Each presentation will be followed by dialogue and discussion with audience members and presenters.


Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

9:00 – 9:30                           Registration

9:30 – 9.45                           Welcome

9.45 – 10.45                         Film: Class of 27

                                             Discussion: James Rutenbeck, (director/executive producer)

10.45 - 12:15                        Film: Slow Drag in the Big Uneasy

                                             Discussion: Llewellyn Smith, (director/producer), Annie Stopford, PhD, (co-director/producer), &

                                             Daniel Tapia

12 .15 – 1:15                        Lunch

1:15 – 2:15                           Photographic Exhibit: The Murder of James Byrd, Jr., Jasper Texas

                                             Discussion, Ricardo Ainslie, PhD

2:15 – 2:30                           Break

2:30 – 4:00                           Film: Bound by Blood: The Elaine Massacre, Arkansas  

  Discussion: Robert Whitaker, Franziska Blome, (producer/editor) & Llewellyn Smith, (director)

4:00-4:30                              Closing discussion with presenters and audience



Ricardo Ainslie’s photographic exhibit is a description of the community of Jasper Texas, and the 1998 murder of James Byrd, Jr. – a hate crime in which this African American man was dragged to his death by three white supremacists in a remote, deep East Texas community near the Louisiana border. Ainslie’s ethnographic work explores the impact of the murder on the community, which eventually led to the creation of a photographic exhibit, in collaboration with photographer Sarah Wilson. The exhibit, which opened in Jasper Texas, was conceived as serving an important narrative function. Many in the community came to see the exhibit, including members of James Byrd’s family. The exhibit travelled to Texas’ main cities and to New York City. It was the longest standing exhibit in the history of the George Washington Carver Museum in Austin. The exhibit addresses one of Ainslie’s underlying questions in the work: How is it that the town of 8,000 did not fall into extended conflict, and are there things we can learn from Jasper’s experience as a community.


This presentation includes a twenty-minute film, followed by discussion with James Rutenbeck, Executive Producer/Director.

The obstacles of poverty and the harrowing domestic consequences of a growing drug epidemic come into stark relief in this close-up documentary film portrayal of the lives of young Appalachian children. Class of ‘27 follows preschoolers in Booneville, Kentucky, living in difficult circumstances but who are fortunate to have caring and competent adults preparing them for better futures. The stories demonstrate that children from struggling rural communities, despite their circumstances, are more likely to grow into productive and civically engaged adults if they receive support in their earliest years.


"The most incarcerated city in the most incarcerated state in the most incarcerated country in the world". Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans

This presentation will include a 30-minute film extract and a panel consisting of the film’s co-directors and producers Llew Smith and Annie Stopford, and Daniel Tapia, one of the central characters in the film.

Universally loved for its extraordinary culture and history, New Orleans is also infamous for its dysfunctional criminal justice system.  Astronomical incarceration rates (especially of black men), poor policing, draconian sentencing, violent jails, a lack of re-entry programs, a seriously underfunded public defenders' office and an often unholy alliance of bail bondsmen, sheriff and judges - the list goes on. But there are many dedicated people working to change the system, including people who have been incarcerated themselves.  Our film will follow the lives and work of some of these men and women, as well as some other key players in New Orleans, including a retired chief justice now leading efforts to reduce incarceration rates and gun violence in the city, and a bail bondsman who also supports re-entry projects for men.  Our characters’ stories will show how meaningful criminal justice reform cannot be achieved without a deeper examination of the way institutions and practices outside the formal criminal justice apparatus create inequality, exploit the poor and make them fodder for the courts. 


This presentation includes a talk by author Robert Whitaker, a film trailer, and panel discussion with filmmakers Llewellyn Smith and Franziska Blome, and Robert Whitaker. 

The Elaine Massacre: The Struggle for Justice that Remade a Nation.  A talk by Robert Whitaker

The Elaine Massacre gave rise to a legal struggle that led to a Supreme Court Decision that provided a foundation for the Civil Rights movement. The NAACP hailed the legal victory as the “greatest struggle for justice ever waged.”

Bound by Blood: The Elaine Massacre, Then & Now (working title)

This fifteen minute trailer is for a one-hour public television documentary produced by BlueSpark Collaborative. The film exhumes a tragedy - the massacre of hundreds of black sharecroppers by white posses near the town of Elaine, Arkansas, in 1919 – and explores reverberations lingering nearly 100 years later in the lives of descendants, and in the lives of residents of Phillips County. Taking a non-linear “Rashomon” approach, our film will explore the stories descendants and townspeople tell about the Elaine Massacre in their own families and communities, but rarely share across racial divides. It will become clear that these narratives about the events tell us as much about contemporary race relations and socioeconomic realities in America as they do about historical events. 

Director Llewellyn Smith and Producer/Editor Franziska Blome will join Robert Whitaker for a panel discussion.

PWG6 | 6 CE/PDP Credits for psychologists, social workers, LMHCs, nurses and educators.

$120 for Professionals with CE Credits

$60 for Professionals without CE Credits

$25 for students and community mental health workers without CE Credits


Ricardo Ainslie, Ph.D. is a native of Mexico City. He is a psychoanalyst who uses books, documentary films, and photographic exhibits to capture and depict subjects of social and cultural interest.  He holds the M.K. Hage Centennial Professorship in Education at the University of Texas at Austin and is the director of the university’s Mexico Center. His books include No Dancin’ In Anson: An American Story of Race and Social Change (1995), The Psychology of Twinship (1997), Long Dark Road: Bill King and Murder In Jasper, Texas (2004), and The Fight to Save Juárez: Life in the Heart of Mexico’s Drug War (2013). His films include Crossover: A Story of Desegregation (1999); Looking North: Mexican Images of Immigration (2006); and Ya Basta! Kidnapped in Mexico (2007), The Mystery of Consciousness (2010), and The Mark of War (2017). He is a Guggenheim Fellow and has also been the recipient of numerous other honors and awards, including the Rockefeller’s Bellagio Residency and the American Psychological Association’s Division of Psychoanalysis Science Award. He is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the Texas Philosophical Society.

Franziska Blome is an Emmy and DuPont-Columbia Award-winning filmmaker and researcher. Together with BlueSpark Collaborative, she is producing and editing Bound by Blood, a feature documentary about the Elaine Race Massacre. The idea for the film came to her after reading Robert Whitaker’s book On the Laps of Gods and the realization that members of her husband’s family were victims of the Elaine Massacre. Most recently, she was coordinating producer for An Unexpected History – The Story of Hennessy and African Americans. Prior to this, Franziska performed the roles of co-producer, associate producer and director of research on many highly-acclaimed PBS documentaries, including The Wall and After The Wall, about the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, and Unnatural Causes, about health disparities in the United States. During her nine years at WGBH, she worked on documentaries for American ExperienceNOVA and on Africans in America, a four-part mini-series on slavery. At the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, Franziska organized international conferences and helped research, write and copyedit an online guide for journalists. She received her B.A. from the University of Stirling, Scotland and her M.A. from Emerson College, Boston.

James Rutenbeck is an independent producer and editor. His films have been screened internationally at museums and festivals, including Museum of Modern Art, Cinema du Reel, Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, National Gallery and Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival. In 2009 his feature-length film Scenes from a Parish premiered to critical acclaim at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and was broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens. James was recipient of the DuPont Columbia Journalism Award for his work as producer on the PBS series Unnatural Causes and has been awarded grants from Sundance Documentary Fund, Latino Public Broadcasting and Southern Humanities Media Fund.  Editorial credits include over 50 films for PBS, BBC, Channel Four (UK), Discovery Channel and Showtime. They include Zoot Suit Riots and the 2008 ALMA award-winning Roberto Clemente for American Experience, Peabody Award-winning City of Promise for the Blackside, Llewellyn Smith's Herskovits at the Heart of Darkness and American Denial for the PBS strand Independent Lens and People of the Shining Path for Britain's Channel Four.

Llewellyn Smith: For thirty years, the documentaries of Peabody and du Pont award-winner Llewellyn Smith have explored a range of social justice topics, including race relations and racial identity, American slavery, Reconstruction, health inequities, civil rights, community organizing and childhood trauma in impoverished neighborhoods. Llew was an executive producer for the PBS series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? (2008)— a look at how social and economic conditions determine determining health and longevity. He directed the film Herskovits At The Heart Of Blackness (2010), examining the consequences of race identity politics. In 2012 Llew directed and produced Gaining Ground: Building Community on Dudley Street. He was Series Editor for the PBS’s American Experience from 1987-1995 and an associate producer for the groundbreaking series Eyes On The Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years.  Other credits include Africans in America: America’s Journey Through Slavery (1997), Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory (1999), Race: The Power of An Illusion (2003)and Wounded Places: Confronting Childhood PTSD in America’s Shell-Shocked Cities (2015).  He directed the Emmy-nominated American Denial (ITVS, 2015), a look at the historical impact of unconscious bias in American history and life.  Llew’s recent work includes WNET’s 2-hour special The Talk (2017)a look at the volatile intersection of race relations and American policing, and he is currently working on a documentary about the Flint water crisis for the PBS science series NOVA.

Annie Stopford, Ph.D. (Co-director/producer) is co-founder and director of BlueSpark Collaborative: A Film and Research Company, based in New Orleans.   She is also a psychosocial researcher, psychoanalytic psychotherapist in part time private practice, research fellow at the Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health, William James College, and a contributing editor to Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. She was director of research for Wounded Places: Confronting Childhood PTSD in America’s Shell-Shocked Cities (2015), and a producer for Slavery in Effect: What is the lifetime of mass incarceration?  (2016). Current film projects include co-producer and co-director for Slow Drag, about criminal justice reform efforts in New Orleans, and a producer for Bound by Blood, about the 1919 massacre of black sharecroppers near Elaine, Arkansas.  Annie’s writing about her psychosocial research has been published in the fields of psychoanalytic studies, African studies, critical mixed race studies, critical psychology and trauma studies. Her most recent publication (with Gardnel Carter, site director for East Baltimore Safe Streets) is “Baltimore Past and Present: The Violent State of Segregation”, in Violent States and Creative States: From the Individual to the Global. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (forthcoming). 

Daniel Tapia is a life-long resident of Uptown New Orleans. When he was 11 he started working to support himself and his family selling drugs, one of the few opportunities he had to make money. In 2005, he was wrongfully convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. As is the case for many people in prison serving life without parole sentences Daniel did not have access to educational programming, but he never gave up. Finally, the opportunity presented itself and he began studying business management through independent and long distance studies at Louisiana State University where he maintained a 3.0 grade point average. After years of appeals, Daniel was finally offered a new trial, and after 12 years in prison was finally released. When he first came home two years ago, he was rejected from numerous jobs and housing opportunities because of his felony record. However, he never gave up and in the year after his release Daniel secured gainful employment, a stable place to live, and became a father. He is Lead Mentor at Rising Foundations, a community based organization that provides pathways to self-sufficiency for formerly incarcerated people, and recently started working as Case Manager for Orleans Parish Criminal Court re-entry program.

Robert Whitaker is a journalist and the author of five books. His book on the Elaine Massacre, On the Laps of Gods: The Red Summer of 1919 and the Struggle for Justice that Remade a Nation, won the Anthony J. Lucas work-in-progress award, and was named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best non-fiction books of 2008. He is a former Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a former fellow of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.  Prior to writing books, Robert Whitaker worked as the science and medical reporter at the Albany Times Union newspaper in New York for a number of years. His journalism articles won several national awards, including a George Polk award for medical writing, and a National Association of Science Writers’ award for best magazine article. A series he co-wrote for The Boston Globe was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998.

Event Type:Continuing Education Program
Category:Counseling & Psychotherapy
Early registration ends on Feb 13, 2017.
Regular registration starts on Feb 14, 2017 and ends on Apr 11, 2017.
Late registration starts on Apr 12, 2017.


Registration Fees
Fee TypeEarlyRegularLate
  NO CE Credits - Psychosocial Dialogues - Professionals
Member Fee: $60.00$60.00$60.00
Non-Member Fee: $60.00$60.00$60.00
 NO CE Credits - Students & Community MH Workers
Member Fee: $25.00$25.00$25.00
Non-Member Fee: $25.00$25.00$25.00
 Psychosocial Dialogues - CE Credits for Professionals
Member Fee: $120.00$120.00$120.00
Non-Member Fee: $120.00$120.00$120.00

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