Title

Doing Art as a Means of Creating Community and Transforming the Self

Presenter Information

Valerie Howells

Start Time

16-10-2002 12:00 AM

End Time

18-10-2002 12:00 AM

Abstract

In response to concerns expressed by individuals with mental illness and other stakeholders, a community arts studio and gallery was established. The initiative for the development of the studio came about because of limited opportunities for individuals with mental illness to participate in meaningful occupations in the context of the larger community. Stakeholders envisioned an integrated space where all community members, including people with mental illness, could come together to engage in the occupation of creating art. This paper presents partial results from a year long participatory action research (PAR) study that was conducted at this site with 20 art studio participants, 10 individuals with and 10 individuals without mental illness. Methods included: in-depth interviews with participants before their involvement in classes and at the conclusion of the study, participant observation, journals, field notes, and analysis of documents. The research study followed the tenets of PAR in actively involving those affected by the study in all phases of the project from design through dissemination. The research team consisted of two occupational therapists, a consumer researcher, and a psychiatrist. Among key findings, one important theme that was discovered was "doing art". Involvement in the occupation of creating art led to both personal and cultural shifts. Participants' stories suggest art acted as a bridge to the larger community and created a means of reconstructing oneself and one's beliefs. This paper will explore the effects of involvement in the occupation of making art at the personal and community level. Implications for using occupation as a means of community building and as a bridge for social participation for individuals in their communities will be discussed.

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Oct 16th, 12:00 AM Oct 18th, 12:00 AM

Doing Art as a Means of Creating Community and Transforming the Self

In response to concerns expressed by individuals with mental illness and other stakeholders, a community arts studio and gallery was established. The initiative for the development of the studio came about because of limited opportunities for individuals with mental illness to participate in meaningful occupations in the context of the larger community. Stakeholders envisioned an integrated space where all community members, including people with mental illness, could come together to engage in the occupation of creating art. This paper presents partial results from a year long participatory action research (PAR) study that was conducted at this site with 20 art studio participants, 10 individuals with and 10 individuals without mental illness. Methods included: in-depth interviews with participants before their involvement in classes and at the conclusion of the study, participant observation, journals, field notes, and analysis of documents. The research study followed the tenets of PAR in actively involving those affected by the study in all phases of the project from design through dissemination. The research team consisted of two occupational therapists, a consumer researcher, and a psychiatrist. Among key findings, one important theme that was discovered was "doing art". Involvement in the occupation of creating art led to both personal and cultural shifts. Participants' stories suggest art acted as a bridge to the larger community and created a means of reconstructing oneself and one's beliefs. This paper will explore the effects of involvement in the occupation of making art at the personal and community level. Implications for using occupation as a means of community building and as a bridge for social participation for individuals in their communities will be discussed.