Title

Meaning in Stonework as an Occupation:A Phenomenological Study

Start Time

29-10-2005 8:50 AM

End Time

29-10-2005 10:30 AM

Abstract

Occupational therapists are able to provide a unique contribution to health care based on the profession’s guiding understanding of people as occupational beings, for whom access to and participation in meaningful and productive activities is central to health and well-being. The continued development of the knowledge base of understanding of human occupation in the context of everyday life is recognized by leaders in the field of occupational therapy as crucially important to the profession. A craft occupation was chosen for investigation in part because of the rich history of the use of therapeutic crafts in occupational therapy practice, and the paradoxical lack of research documenting their efficacy as treatment modalities.

This paper presents the results of a phenomenological study of the experience and meaning of stonework (stone wall building and stone carving) as a work, leisure or creative occupation. The fundamental characteristics and qualities of the experience, related by three participants, are described. Common qualities include an experience of affinity for the material; life-long participation in related tasks; special knowledge of methods, tools, and materials; a feeling of connection with a tradition; a feeling of connection with the land; integration of values and action; a sense of creative expression; and a sense that their work is at once permanent, and vulnerable to change. The essential meaning of working with stone is presented, including themes of identity, aesthetic experience, and participation in life beyond the individuals’ physical and temporal boundaries. A discussion of how the meanings and experiences of making something from stone may contribute to well-being and engagement in life is included. The paper concludes with some implications of these findings for further study of creative occupations, and for a need for better understanding of the quality and value of aesthetic experience in human occupation, including its potential to contribute “feelings of personal wholeness, a sense of discovery, and sense of human connectedness” (Csikszentmihalyi, M. & Robinson, R. E., 1990, p. 178).

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Oct 29th, 8:50 AM Oct 29th, 10:30 AM

Meaning in Stonework as an Occupation:A Phenomenological Study

Occupational therapists are able to provide a unique contribution to health care based on the profession’s guiding understanding of people as occupational beings, for whom access to and participation in meaningful and productive activities is central to health and well-being. The continued development of the knowledge base of understanding of human occupation in the context of everyday life is recognized by leaders in the field of occupational therapy as crucially important to the profession. A craft occupation was chosen for investigation in part because of the rich history of the use of therapeutic crafts in occupational therapy practice, and the paradoxical lack of research documenting their efficacy as treatment modalities.

This paper presents the results of a phenomenological study of the experience and meaning of stonework (stone wall building and stone carving) as a work, leisure or creative occupation. The fundamental characteristics and qualities of the experience, related by three participants, are described. Common qualities include an experience of affinity for the material; life-long participation in related tasks; special knowledge of methods, tools, and materials; a feeling of connection with a tradition; a feeling of connection with the land; integration of values and action; a sense of creative expression; and a sense that their work is at once permanent, and vulnerable to change. The essential meaning of working with stone is presented, including themes of identity, aesthetic experience, and participation in life beyond the individuals’ physical and temporal boundaries. A discussion of how the meanings and experiences of making something from stone may contribute to well-being and engagement in life is included. The paper concludes with some implications of these findings for further study of creative occupations, and for a need for better understanding of the quality and value of aesthetic experience in human occupation, including its potential to contribute “feelings of personal wholeness, a sense of discovery, and sense of human connectedness” (Csikszentmihalyi, M. & Robinson, R. E., 1990, p. 178).