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Trust the Difficult
A tribute to the work of Paolo Knill (1932–2020)

33rd Expressive Arts Symposium was organized by Inartes Institute, Helsinki, Finland and the International Network of Expressive Arts Training. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic the previous symposium 2020 had to be cancelled and the year 2021 it was decided to be held online.

So we gathered together as a community on Zoom from Wednesday April 7th to Sunday 11th 2021, Lapinlahti hospital in Finland being our headquarters. Three workshops, community art, a tribute to the work of Paolo Knill, lectures, networking and panel discussion both live and also as recordings on Howspace platform were attended by expressive arts practitioners and students from all around the world.


‘Trust the difficult’, wrote Rainer Maria Rilke, beloved poet of the early 20th century. Rilke survived the Spanish flu pandemic, we are surviving the Covid-19 pandemic. How? And what can the expressive arts contribute to our psychic wellbeing in a time of uncertainty, when nothing is the same as before?

As our rational mind comes to a dead end, the creative mind wakes up and has us imagine. We can tell stories, we can listen to myths. Like the one from the dragon who transformed into a princess. Through the arts we can change roles, change poetically the perspective. As Rilke puts it:

”Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses

who are only waiting to see us act,

just once, with beauty and courage.

Perhaps everything that frightens us is,

in its deepest essence,

something helpless that wants our love.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet.

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