Online Talk 'Exploring Diverse Minds and Expressions Through the Music and Spirit Inspiration Program.' 

Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT) will hold an online talk event on January 25, 2024, titled “Exploring Diverse Minds and Expressions Through the Music and Spirit Inspiration Program.”

Since 2016, AIT has initiated the dearMe Project, providing programs where diverse children and youth engage in shared experiences and learning through art. In recent years, dearMe have expanded the focus through collaborations with organizations and experts both domestically and internationally, evolving into programs that explore the intersection of art, mental health, and neurodiversity.

In 2022, dearMe have launched the collaborative program “Collective Amazements Troupe (CAT)*1” with organizations from Japan and the Netherlands. This program involves visiting museums with neurodiverse members, engaging in art appreciation (Inspiration Tours), and creating opportunities for artistic expression based on those experiences.

This talk serves as a reporting event for this year’s program, following last year’s “Art and Mental Health” talk. We are pleased to invite collaborative organizations from the Netherlands and Japan as guest speakers: Jolien Posthumus, Mental Health Program Manager at the Museum of the Mind in the Netherlands, and Tetsu Akaogi from the collaborative group “atelier A” in Japan.

In the first half of the talk, Jolien Posthumus will share her insights from her work in the healthcare field in the Netherlands, highlighting how her expertise has been applied to the creation of museum programs. She will introduce the philosophy behind art workshops incorporating meditation, and thethe workshop with various members of “atelier A” in Tokyo, reflecting on the insights and discoveries gained from them, together with Tetsu Akaogi from “atelier A” and AIT.

The latter part of the talk will involve discussions on keywords such as the potential of new art criticism expanded by diverse artistic experiences and the importance of “prevention” in art and mental health programs.

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of art prescription programs in museums worldwide. However, how does art affect our minds, brains, and bodies? For those who wish to explore the possibilities of new learning experiences arising from artistic encounters, please join us in this discussion, where various experts will contribute their insights.

*1 “Neurodiversity” is a term combining “Neuro” (brain, nerve) and “Diversity.” It represents an initiative to expand the idea of respecting different characteristics in individuals and harnessing the diversity differences bring to society.

*2″Collective Amazements” refers to the astonishment experienced collectively, and “Troupe” signifies a gathering of individual independent performers.


Online Talk: ‘useful art (Arte Util) and contemplative experiences’ 
-Art experiences with a diverse range of people, starting from curiosity

Date: January 25, 2024 (Thursday)
Time: 19:00-21:00 JPT (Zoom open at 18:50)     *NL Time 11am-1:00pm 

Online (Zoom)

Admission; Free (reservation required)
Language: Japanese, English *Japanese-English interpretation available


Guest Speakers: Jolien Posthumus (Museum of the Mind), Tetsu Akaogi (atelier A)
Introduction and CAT activity report: Rika Fujii (AIT)
Moderator: Naoko Horiuchi (AIT)

Simultaneous Interpretation (Japanese-English): Satoshi Ikeda

Organized by: Agency for Cultural Affairs, Arts Initiative Tokyo NPO.
In collaboration with: atelier A, Museum of the Mind

Cooperation: Shiseido Camellia Fund, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Japan, Roland Corporation

*This event has textual information support using ‘UD Talk’ (Language: Japanese).

Speakers and Collaborators

Drawing by Ryunosuke (atelierA)

Tetsu Akaogi (Director, atelier A)

Since 2002, Tetsu Akaogi has been coaching ABLE FC, a football team for children with Down syndrome, and since 2003 he has started ‘atelier A’, a painting class mainly for children with Down syndrome and autism.
In 2006 he edited and published the magazine ‘←→special’ featuring Art Brut. He is also the editor of ATELIER INCURVE art book.

Research curator for the Museum of Together exhibition (2017, organised by the Nippon Foundation DIVERSITY IN THE ARTS); participated in talk sessions for Museum of Together Circus (2018) and TURN Fest 5 (2019, organised by Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Arts Council Tokyo and others).

Jolien Posthumus(Mental Health Program Manager, Museum of the Mind)

Jolien Posthumus is a professional neuro-sensitive mindfulness trainer and Program Manager for Mental Health at the EMYA Award-winning Museum van de Geest in 2022.

With 15 years of experience in arts and health, Jolien curates programs that explore the relationship between culture, mindfulness, and well-being.

She introduced mindfulness practice in the cultural sector in the Netherlands and collaborates with other museums and galleries across Europe, delivering talks and training on integrating mindfulness into learning and engagement programs.

She specializes in working with trauma and neurodiversity skillfully and has developed customized training and meditation videos for institutions like the Van Gogh Museum and Museum van de Geest.

Naoko Horiuchi(AIT Curator, dear Me director)

Works as a curator and lecturer at Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT). After completing an MSc in Contemporary Art and Art Theory at Edinburgh College of Art in 2005, she worked as an independent curator in Edinburgh, curating Aiko Miyanaga’s solo exhibition  (2007, Sleeper Gallery, Edinburgh), and was an assistant curator of Metronome Think Tank Tokyo in collaboration with Documenta 12 magazines (2006). At AIT, she has curated and coordinated several art education programs and corporate art projects, and residency programme-related exhibitions in Japan, Thailand, Scotland, and New Zealand. She was a guest curator of Kyoto Re-Search in Maizuru (2017), PARADISE AIR (2015/2016), and ARCUS Project (2013). Since 2016, she has been organizing AIT’s new program called ‘dear Me,’ an alternative art learning platform directed towards children in various living situations.

Rika Fujii (AIT Project manager, dear Me management and coordination)

Born in Chiba. After working for a publishing IT company, she has been in her current position since 2011, mainly coordinating and planning exhibitions, events and workshops at AIT. For the Go-Betweens: The World Seen Through Children/Children’s Caption Project (2014, organized by Mori Art Museum), the planning of which was supported by AIT, she was involved in the school program and workshop for children.
She was in charge of Gina Buenfeld’s ‘At the Still Point of a Turning World’ (2014), a joint project between AIT and Camden Arts Centre, and ‘The BAR vol. 8 Today of Yesterday’ exhibition (2015, Yamamoto Gendai). Member of AIT’s dear Me project. Organises programmes that proactively engage diverse children. Her personal activities include cultural activities with children, atelier with children with disabilities, participation in beekeeping groups, and co-ordination of art activities at welfare institutions.

Collective Amazements Troupe [CAT]

Collective Amazements Troupe [CAT] is a new project launched in 2022, as a collaboration between Museum of the Mind, atelier A and dear Me (by AIT). ‘Collective Amusements’ mean surprises (in an extremely positive sense) experienced collectively, and ‘Troupe’ means a group of independent expressionists. The aim of the project is to enable diverse people to meet through their curiosity for each other, and together, create a space in which each can express themselves.

atelier A

Painting classes mainly for children with Down’s syndrome and autism. Started by Tetsu and Yoko Akaogi, it has been held once a month in Shibuya, Tokyo, since 2003. Staff members involved in design and art work together to create an environment where children can have fun and create together. The aim is to provide a place where children and staff can inspire each other, develop friendships and make new discoveries in their own way, in an open environment where they can experience encounters with many people, regardless of age or disability.

Museum of the Mind
The Museum of the Mind in the Netherlands is straddling the boundaries between healthcare, art and science. The museum is recognised for the recent redevelopment  which represents a breakthrough in humanising not just medical museums, but museums in general. The institution also offers a social model of museums. The message of the Museum of the Mind is that museums can go beyond mental health programmes for small groups and contribute much more. They can help create a healthier society, through embodying a humane, caring and respectful attitude to humanity in every aspect of their work. The Museum of the Mind stands out as a centre of excellence in this field, in terms of its governance scheme, with links to national mental health foundations and agencies, its content and conceptual exhibition making, its contemporary relevance both for its personnel and its diverse audiences. The Museum of the Mind is a uniquely humane, interactive, empowering, activist museum based on a ground-breaking project that develops the museum concept as school of life with a very open mind, and does so within a building that carries a heavy past with multiple layers of memory of illness but also of great resilience.” (jury EMYA).

dear Me (by AIT)

dear Me is a project initiated by AIT in 2016 to connect children and young people from different backgrounds with the idea of art and the expression of artists to imagine a better future.
It organises and implements workshops and events to share a free world and diverse values. The programme includes an ‘Art Appreciation Programme’ in which children and young people encounter live expression, ‘Creative Workshops’ with national and international artists and experts, lectures that cross art and care, and a programme in which the voices of those involved are transmitted through expression. The programme also creates opportunities to experience the expansion of the world and the connection with society.

About Arts Initiative Tokyo [AIT]
AIT is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by six art curators and managers with the aim of creating a platform for learning, dialogue, and thinking open to anyone interested in contemporary art.