Julie Polvinen
Field Coordinator
In 2003, Julie Polvinen left her job at Emerson College eager to begin working with VIA. It was an opportunity to empower individuals with illness through creative self-expression.

As Field Coordinator for VIA, Julie is the first VIA staffer each participant meets, and she is their primary contact with VIA. She directly facilitates the participants by teaching them to use video cameras to document their everyday lives and conditions so that doctors can learn from them what it is like to live with a chronic condition. Throughout the process, Julie encourages and supports participants with weekly phone calls and home visits and, if necessary, technical support with the equipment. Julie believes one of the most important things for allowing each participant to express themselves is to establish a relationship of trust with them. By seeking this foundation, Julie hopes that each participant will feel able to express the different aspects of their lives and emotions, including those that may be difficult at times. Julie believes that the best way to do this is with patience, understanding, and a great sense of humor. Reflecting on these experiences, she became a contributor for a recent publication – “Visual Narratives of the Pediatric Illness Experience: Children Connecting With Clinicians through Video.”

Previously, Julie taught Expressive Video programs to “at-risk” youth and adults for more than five years. In Northern Ireland she was an Artist-in-Residence, during the time of the Peace Agreement, tackling issues with adults across borders and religions. Working for the Film Foundation from Los Angeles, she contributed to the development and distribution of “Making Movies: A Guide Book for Young Filmmakers”. 50,000 free books were distributed to after school programs throughout the United States.

For many years Julie owned her own production company and produced promotional videos for non-profit organizations such as The Irish Immigration Center, South Boston Neighborhood House, and United South End Settlements.

Recently, she has produced an informational video for The Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH), “Protecting Children in the Information Age”. Julie is presently furthering her studies in Psychology and Art Therapy.

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