Grant Activation: Healing through Collaboration

What does healing look like at an individual or even community level? How might creativity and collaboration be a key to unlocking the answer to that question?

Heal Her is a participatory and expressive arts initiative for the collective healing and prevention of sexual/gender-based violence. Meeting in talking circles worldwide, this project creates rituals for transformative storytelling, consciousness-raising, and empathetic listening.

A 2018 Burning Man Global Arts Grant recipient, Heal Her works with artistic facilitators, therapists, and healers to provide creative, holistic methods for addressing sexual trauma, exploring how to take back power over our personal mythology, and building grassroots networks to support survivors. The project has held events and festivals around the world and most recently online.

Burning Man’s Global Activation Call Series highlights community-led projects and provokes conversations to inspire activation. In this call, we will explore how a diverse group of leaders leveraged their skills to develop a platform for healing through collaboration. This call may include content that is sensitive for some participants. The speakers will share how Covid-19 has influenced the program’s offerings, and how the work might evolve.

Speaker Bios:
Zarahlena is a Mexican-German artist who explores identity through photography, performance, and yoga. 
Being raised in a bi-cultural family and on two continents has allowed her to create an eclectic vision represented in her images. Both her yoga and artistic practice operate under the principle of honoring the darkness as something sacred.

Her art plays with a dualistic vision, using it as a tool for self-recognition. She has performed body suspensions, created self-portraits, and modeled extensively. She currently specializes in artistic photography, ritual art and cultural documentation.

Suzan Lemont is originally from the U.S. but has lived in Europe since 1995, where she came to finish her Masters in Expressive Arts Therapy and stayed to work and raise a family with her Dutch partner. Suzan survived severe childhood trauma and being neuro divergent through the artistic disciplines of creative writing, theater, and dance/movement practices – which are three of the five recognized forms of expression within the discipline of Intermodal Expressive Arts.

Suzan has built a life philosophy and practice based on the concept of ‘service’; using one’s capacities, whatever they may be to help create a decent and meaningful life not just for oneself and immediate circles, but for the whole human collective. This has primarily taken the form of avid knowledge gathering and passing it on to those who wish to use it in service of their own particular pathways of serving.

Suzan is the founder of the Netherlands Expressive Arts Association, the creatrix of a creative expressive arts studio called Pandora’s Playspace in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and the Director of Facilitator Training for the Heal Her Project using storytelling as a means of creating potentially healing spaces of relief, transformation, and resilience-building for survivors of violence. The core of her educational philosophy is one of sharing and utilizing community resources towards equitable and accessible means of knowledge sharing for anyone who needs it (but may not be in a position to acquire it through “normal” channels of academia and dominant-player-occupied arenas).

Contact is welcome via website:; LinkedIn, FB, and email: or or following on Instagram @pandoras_pearls

Lena Chen (San Francisco, 1987) is a Chinese American writer and artist working across performance and social practice. Named “Best Emerging Talent” at the B3 Biennial of the Moving Image (Frankfurt), she has exhibited and performed at Transmediale (Berlin), Färgfabriken (Stockholm), Baltimore Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art (Antwerp), and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin). She has been awarded grants and residencies from the Office of Public Art (Pittsburgh), INVERSE Performance Art Festival (Bentonville), Burning Man Global Arts Fund (San Francisco), Civic Media Lab (Dnipro, Ukraine), Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry (Pittsburgh), and Women’s Media Center (Washington, D.C.). Chen has given talks at Oxford, Yale, Stanford, and SXSW. As a member of Maternal Fantasies, she is a recipient of the Arthur Boskamp Foundation Advancement Award 2019/2020.

Using mythology to create alternative networks of care and platforms for self-representation, Chen has produced participatory projects with trauma survivors, sex workers, and abortion providers. Her work frequently references spatial histories and has taken place in former butcher shops, prisons, nightclubs, harbors, and cemeteries.

She earned a B.A. in sociology from Harvard University and is currently pursuing a MFA at Carnegie Mellon School of Art, where she holds the Lea Simonds Fellowship.

New to the Series? Check out the videos of previous calls.

The event is finished.


Mar 16, 2021

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Mar 16, 2021
  • Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Virtual Live Experience (other)