Title

Panel Session: Tools, Materials, and Occupation

Start Time

31-10-2004 10:20 AM

End Time

31-10-2004 11:50 AM

Abstract

Tools and materials play an important role in many human occupations. They are a source of meaning in their own right, a means to do or accomplish, and a link between individual doing and societal activities across time. This panel will focus on the ways that changes in tools affect the organization and meaning of occupations for individuals and society. Valerie Howells will describe how tools and materials became a focus in the follow-up interviews of participants in an inclusive arts studio. Classes at the studio were taught by artists, and high quality tools and materials were provided for all participants. Participants reported that the quality of the tools and materials validated them as real artists doing real art. The availability and abundance of the objects provided an opportunity to experience multiple sensory experiences, and led to a sense of competence as participants accomplished making successful products. Virginia Dickie’s focus is on the rotary cutter as an example of how a small technological innovation reverberated globally throughout quilt making occupations -- altering practice, increasing productivity, changing design, and affecting culture. Clare Hocking will discuss tools as specialized objects from an historical and theoretical perspective. She will outline four levels of interaction with objects and show how human tool use distinguishes us from other animals. Theoretical perspectives will include the notion of tools as conductors of human activity, which change our relationship with our surroundings by enabling us to do things that we could not otherwise do and transform the goals that we can formulate. The objective of this panel is to initiate a dialogue about the role of tools and materials in occupation and possible ways to study and describe this relationship. We argue that a tendency to focus occupational science research on the person may fail to explicate the contribution of tools and materials to occupational engagement. Discussion will include a focus on research methods that allow us to grasp the extent and nature of this contribution (e.g., historical research, participant observation, observation, & researcher reflexivity).

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Oct 31st, 10:20 AM Oct 31st, 11:50 AM

Panel Session: Tools, Materials, and Occupation

Tools and materials play an important role in many human occupations. They are a source of meaning in their own right, a means to do or accomplish, and a link between individual doing and societal activities across time. This panel will focus on the ways that changes in tools affect the organization and meaning of occupations for individuals and society. Valerie Howells will describe how tools and materials became a focus in the follow-up interviews of participants in an inclusive arts studio. Classes at the studio were taught by artists, and high quality tools and materials were provided for all participants. Participants reported that the quality of the tools and materials validated them as real artists doing real art. The availability and abundance of the objects provided an opportunity to experience multiple sensory experiences, and led to a sense of competence as participants accomplished making successful products. Virginia Dickie’s focus is on the rotary cutter as an example of how a small technological innovation reverberated globally throughout quilt making occupations -- altering practice, increasing productivity, changing design, and affecting culture. Clare Hocking will discuss tools as specialized objects from an historical and theoretical perspective. She will outline four levels of interaction with objects and show how human tool use distinguishes us from other animals. Theoretical perspectives will include the notion of tools as conductors of human activity, which change our relationship with our surroundings by enabling us to do things that we could not otherwise do and transform the goals that we can formulate. The objective of this panel is to initiate a dialogue about the role of tools and materials in occupation and possible ways to study and describe this relationship. We argue that a tendency to focus occupational science research on the person may fail to explicate the contribution of tools and materials to occupational engagement. Discussion will include a focus on research methods that allow us to grasp the extent and nature of this contribution (e.g., historical research, participant observation, observation, & researcher reflexivity).