This chapter explores how the teaching and learning of arts and crafts not only stimulated men’s personal creativity at a time of suffering, but enabled safe reckoning with, and release from, traumatic memories, calm self- restoration, and even a degree of soft resistance to the military system, all of which supported a degree of veteran resilience. However, it is also evident that sustained resilience could not come from art therapy alone, but rather as a part of personal, emotional, and financial support, as well as an element of wider cultural appreciation of the ex-servicemen’s creativity and artisanship. To that extent cultural education about the potential impact of creativity requires wider understanding in society as a whole to destigmatise the image of the damaged veteran, in turn strengthening veterans’ resolve to actualize change in their own lives. Over-emphasizing the veteran’s agency, however, does not fully recognize structural (social, political, financial) issues regarding trauma and disability, which could also have a negative effect on the resilience of pa- tients in achieving longer-term recovery. Art therapy could be adapted to tailor to individual needs. The danger of seeing resilience as a point in time when ‘inner strength’ is accessed and mobilised is part of a historic conundrum; in the two world wars it was erroneously understood as ‘will power’.
|Title of host publication||The First World War and Health|
|Subtitle of host publication|| Rethinking Resilience|
|Editors||Leo van Bergen, Eric Vermetten|
|Place of Publication||Leiden|
|Number of pages||32|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Apr 2020|
|Name||History of Warfare130|