Cold Water: The Women of Lira, Uganda

The Global Arts Series presents…
Cold Water: The Women of Lira, Uganda
Professor Julia Byers
University Hall Room 2-078, Porter Campus
Dr. Julia Byers will present her work and recent research, sponsored by a USF foundation grant, which provided psychosocial support for the women and girls of the town of Lira, Uganda.
Once nicknamed “the jewel of the north,” Lira is now struggling to recover from one of Africa’s longest-running civil wars. The near 20-year conflict was led by rebel guerilla and self-proclaimed “spokesperson of God,” Joseph Kony, whose Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) raided villages, burned homes, slaughtered civilians, and recruited child soldiers through abductions from the villages and schools of northern Uganda. Thousands of children were robbed of their childhood and, in many cases, of life itself. Boys and girls were turned into killers who became seared by the atrocities they saw and were forced to commit. Children as young as ten years old were taught to kill, often beginning with their own families. During the height of the war, an estimated 20,000 fled to Lira in search of safety from the threat of the LRA.
Dr. Byers has participated in international relief activities and interventions in humanitarian art therapy in over 16 countries around the world. She will present some of her findings in the voices of women's narratives. These women are leaders in helping local girls, orphans and abductees revive their sense of empowerment and achievement.
About the Presenter
Dr. Julia Byers is the Art Therapy Coordinator, Co-coordinator of the Advanced Certificate in Play Therapy, and Senior Advisor in the PhD Interdisciplinary Studies and Expressive Therapy programs at Lesley University, where she has been for 14 years.  Her research interests include working with many diverse international groups of people on topics of wellness, prevention, organizational consulting, creativity and innovation, and studio arts based inquiry. Julia has published many articles on humanitarian art therapy, excellence in teaching, crisis intervention and other related topics emphasizing the role of the arts for building empathy and hope within our complex global societies.
About the Global Arts Series
The Global Arts Series features arts based approaches initiated by Lesley University faculty and other international experts.  In the global society in which we live, the arts open pathways to understanding and communication between peoples. In addition, the arts are channels for creativity and celebration, mitigate the effects of stress and trauma and are known to facilitate innovative spaces for emotional release. The arts  can provide people a tangible result for their efforts in a relative short time, actions that can take place through individual or collective effort. Join us to circumnavigate the globe using the arts as our compass for exploration!


The Global Arts Series is sponsored by The Creativity Commons, The Global Center, and the Institute for Arts and Health at Lesley University.

Any questions, please contact Beth Chambers at

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