About Us

The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) and the Winnipeg Holistic Expressive Arts Therapy Institute (WHEAT) are collaborating to co-host the IEATA 12th Bi-Annual Conference – “Indigenous Roots Of Expressive Arts Therapy : Transformation, Social Justice and Social Change – Globally and Locally”, September 27th – October 1st, 2017. This conference will allow participants an experiential engagement in the Indigenous Roots of the Expressive Arts. Pre-conference days will feature opportunities to explore local Indigenous cultures, history, and teachings on the land, as well as workshops on arts-based cross-cultural dialogue and healing. As for the initial materials, some of them have been already published at 21clradio.com for easy access.

The conference will feature expert keynote presenters and various plenary workshops highlighting developing knowledge in the area, outstanding initiatives, and innovative programming. This conference will be of particular interest to therapists, teachers, artists, social workers, psychologists, social service agency workers, politicians, social justice advocates, and anyone interested in creating a more ethical, healthy and socially conscious community.

Please join us for this groundbreaking opportunity to dialogue, create, and celebrate our Indigenous roots and move forward collaboratively to promote healing through the arts.

Our Committee

Darci Adam

Conference Co-Chair

Darci Adam, MA, MEd, CCC, RCAT, REAT, is a school counsellor and art and expressive arts therapist with studios at the St. Norbert Arts Centre and in the historic Exchange District. She is the director of the Winnipeg Holistic Expressive Arts Therapy Institute www.wheatinstitute.com, which is offering the first ever Art, Drama and Expressive Arts Therapy Diploma Programs in Manitoba, as well as Post Baccalaureate credits in Expressive Arts with the University of Winnipeg. She is passionate about the use of art as a tool for deepening cross-cultural understanding and facilitating truth telling and peace building. Raised on the prairies, Darci has also worked in Waglisla, BC and Moosonee, Ontario, allowing her meaningful and life altering participation in Indigenous communities, lifestyles and ceremonies. She has taught in Mexico and Quebec and has made it a priority to learn Spanish and French to better understand those cultures. Cree and Anishnaabemowin are next! Darci is thrilled to share the healing power of the arts on the prairies and honored to help to bring this particular conference to fruition in Winnipeg!

M.J. McCarron

Conference Co-Chair

M.J. McCarron is a long time educator currently contracting with the Treaty Education Initiative to support Treaty Education in Manitoba schools.  She has been involved in the writing of Provincial Curriculum and teaching guides and has facilitated many workshops over the course of her career.  M.J. is passionate about social justice issues and is dedicated to supporting the IEATA’s effort to bring this international conference to Winnipeg.

Renée McGurry

Conference Co-Chair

Renée McGurry is presently working as a Treaty Education Support Teacher for the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba. She recently retired from St. James-Assiniboia School Division in Winnipeg. In her 35 years as an educator, she has worked in classrooms ranging from grades 4-9, with the last eight  years as the team leader in Indigenous education for the division. Through professional development, Renée has provided division staff with the knowledge, support and resources to weave Indigenous perspectives into classroom and school-wide programming.  She has been recognized by Manitoba Education as one of their Aboriginal educators of the month and has been the recipient of the Trailblazer and Leadership award from the Aboriginal Circle of Educators.  Renée is presently the conference chair for the Aboriginal Circle of Educators and has worked A.C.E. in various roles over the past several years. As a former colleague stated, “Renée McGurry has been guiding the journey of many, who collectively will have a profound effect on Indigenous youth and educators for years to come.”

Kate Donohue

Conference Advisor

Kate T. Donohue is an adventuresome soul who has traveled to almost all the continents following the muse of her passion for culture , the arts, expressive arts and healing. She has created seminars in Ghana and India that explore the roots of healing through delving into the indigenous arts of these two cultures, the roots of expressive arts therapy. The first healers were artists who understood the psyche, community and healing as well as the power of the arts. She is involved in visual arts and dance, having spent 25 years studying indigenous and ethnic dance forms, in particular West African and Afro-Cuban Dance. Her visual arts work in painting and drawing explores the sacred feminine. A born actor, she has background in drama and poetics, and a great appreciation for music. Kate’s involvement in art, healing and culture has made her own life richer, by allowing her to map and understand my own inner terrain.

Read more about Kate Donohue here >

Joy Ruben

Conference Administrator and Review Team Lead

Joy Ruben, MA, R-DMT, E-RYT 500 is a dance/movement therapist, interfaith minister, birth doula, and yoga teacher. Her passion is researching and teaching the role of embodied spirituality in mental health. She has taught embodied spirituality in professional conferences, psychiatric hospitals, hospital oncology centers, residential treatment settings, outpatient substance abuse recovery programs, community centers, and yoga studios.  She is currently studying in Janet Adler’s Circles of Four program to further investigate the interplay between body and spirit. Additional projects include providing French translation for the National Centre for Dance Therapy in Montreal, and leading small group retreats in North America.

Terri Roberton

Program Committee

Graduating from ISIS Canada in 2009, Terri Roberton, pioneered the practicum sites at Margarets and at Bridgepoint Health Hospital. With a BFA and MLIS (Library Science) she is immersed in the arts from various angles having practiced painting, illustration and animation for 3 decades, managed Canadian Fine Arts Gallery since 2000 and having helped steward OEATA as Vice-President since 2009, and as president since 2015. For several years she has been invited to guest lecture on the topic of Arts-Based Research to Under-grads and Masters level students in Art & Psychology and Research Methods courses at George Brown College and Ryerson University. In 2010 she presented her graphic story research in the poster session at the Health Equity Conference held at Ryerson, and in 2011 was subsequently invited to give a presentation at the Annual Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing Research Symposium.

Nina “Anin” Utigaard

IEATA Executive Committee Chair, Conference Liason

Nina “Anin” Utigaard is a licensed MFT and Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT) who maintains a private practice in San Francisco, CA. She was a founding Co-Chair for the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association. Anin is currently adjunct faculty with JFK University, and was a faculty member of the Person-Centered Expressive Therapy Institute for over ten years. She works with individuals of all ages and offers workshops and training in EXA, including “Authentic VoiceWork”. Anin has a fine arts and professional music background, and believes that the arts are transformative and can change the world we live in.

Tammy Y.C. Leung

Finance Committee Co-Chair

Tammy Y.C. Leung (MSW, RSW) is a dedicated and well-experienced social worker with testified career success and solid commitment to the field for over 20 years with true passion. She has wide exposure to work in different settings of community service centers, family counseling centers, research centers and in family practice center in both Canada, Hong Kong and Mainland China. She has rich experiences in management of NGO in Hong Kong.   She oversaw the operation of the agency to ensure the professional quality of service provision. She formulated the funding strategies to build up the sustainability of the agency’s advancement of its vision and mission.

Mia Guenther

Logistics Committee

Mia Guenther is a seasoned counselor and enthusiastic Play Therapist who works in a school setting and runs her own private practice. She presents on various mental health topics and acts as site supervisor for the Post Baccalaureate Diploma (PBDE) and Master of Education program at the University of Manitoba (U of M). Recently, she has begun teaching position at the U of M as a sessional instructor for the PBDE program. As a Play therapist, she employs Play Therapy and therapeutic art techniques from a child centered focus, through the lens of attachment and within the Play Therapy Dimensions model. She works with children, adolescents, and parents in the areas of attachment, blended families, foster families, separation/divorce, grief and loss, trauma, and depression, and FASD/ARND.

David Eckelkamp

Publicity and Promotions Committee

David Eckelkamp has been a member of the IEATA community for over 11 years, most recently becoming a part of the IEATA Board as the Public Relations Co-Chair where he is excited to bring his background producing multimedia to help improve IEATA’s image and visibility on a global scale.  David lives and works in the Boston Area in the USA.  After 20 years working with children and young adults with trauma David has most recently began his journey in independent practice.  David lectures on the subjects of Explicit content in Media, Social Media and the Expressive Arts and Trauma Informed Expressive Arts Therapy.  He can be found on the web at www.prosocialtherapy.com.

Fiona Chang

Publicity and Promotions Committee

Fiona Chang, REAT, RSW, Ph.D Candidate (CUHK), M. So. Sc (Family Therapy & Health Care) (HKU), Certified Supervisor (ACA).

I am currently the Executive Co-chair of IEATA, Vice-Chairperson of “Art in Hospital” and Founding President of Expressive Arts Therapy Association of Hong Kong. I founded the Person-Centred Expressive Arts (PCEA) Therapy Training Program at the University of Hong Kong. I am the advisor of the Art Therapy Without Borders and the South Western College in Santa Fe. I have integrated PCEA in counseling and group therapy for nearly 25 years in a variety of settings. I am interested in the use of Chinese metaphors to actualize each self-healing potential through the arts.

Susan Aydan Abbott


Susan Aydan Abbott was born in Port Arthur, Ontario in 1962. She attended the University of Manitoba Fine Arts program from 2009-2011 and has since continued exploring varying subject matter and materials in her painting-based studio practice. Working primarily with oils and acrylics on canvas, Susan has recently been expanding her technical vocabulary to include print making, sculpture, and installation. She has been featured in a multitude of exhibitions within the WInnipeg art community including a solo show (entitled ‘Q’) at the Edge Gallery in 2012. Her work was on display in the group exhibition ‘Art + Body: Juried Art Show (ADMN)’ in 2013 at both the St Boniface Library and Winnipeg Art Gallery. Abbott and her son (Josh Roach) had a show together called BUBBLE at the Cspace Gallery in the summer of 2014. She was part of a year long MENTORSHIP program at Martha Street Studio that culminated in a group show ‘CANARY IN THE COALMINE’ this past March 4 thru  to April 16, 2016. Susan is a person with lived experience who shares her life story through her work as an artist and speaker for CMHA and United Way.

Nancy Orlikow

Sponsor Displays and Promotions

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Nancy Orlikow, MA – EXA, Dip-Ath, BFA, BC-ATR, RCC, left Manitoba after completeing a BFA – a double major in psychology and painting to pursue her graduate studies in Art Therapy in Victoria, BC. (BC School of Art Therapy in Victoria, BC & The European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switerland).  Nancy has worked for over 25 years as a therapist and as a team leader  in non-profit and social service agencies throughout BC and in Winnipeg. The majority of her clinical experience has been in the area of trauma, attachment, and sexual abuse trauma, focusing specifically on children and their families. She has worked extensively but not exclusively, with first nations communities in northern BC as well as in urban settings. Nancy is thrilled to combine her  passion for the arts, psychotherapy, community, social justice, and life long learning. She has a keen sense of adventure and an incurable case of wanderlust that keeps Nancy trotting to many corners of the globe. Nancy is a mixed media artist and an aspiring children’s book author/illustrator and is often painting into the wee hours in her studio space in Fort Langley, BC. . A mother to two school-aged children – Nancy is often juggling her children’s lacrosse games and hip hop jazz dance lessons into her busy schedule! Nancy is very excited to be a part of the IEATA conference committee.

Susan O’Connell

Sponsorship Committee

Susan O’Connell, MTP, MTP, REACE serves as faculty member and Creative Expression Certificate Director at Sofia University teaching creative expression and ecopsychology. She is co-chair for IEATA on the REACE professional standards committee. She is an ordained multi-cultural minister and is certified in InterSpiritual Meditation. She mentors contemplative, creative, and earth based practices, and aims to nurture other’s intrinsic creative energy while inviting deepening awareness of our living Earth in a way that furthers heart based, sustainable and respectful relations with the natural world and all beings. Susan also has an extensive background in public service, creative collaboration, and compassionate leadership. She was raised on the Pacific Coast of California and enjoys hiking and creative expression including photography.