Title

The Meaning of Teaching in an Inclusive Art Studio: Exploring the Artist's Experience

Presenter Information

Abbey Marterella

Start Time

24-10-2008 2:00 PM

End Time

24-10-2008 2:30 PM

Abstract

In the last half of the 20th century, the mental health system in the United States changed as a result of legislation designed to move people with psychiatric disabilities out of restrictive hospital settings and into the community. Although support programs exist (e.g., clubhouses, drop-in centers), many people with mental illness are still not fully integrated in their communities due, in part, to financial hardships and stigmatizing societal attitudes limiting participation. In response to these issues, a nonprofit organization in southeastern Michigan created a space where community members with and without mental illness could come together around a common occupation: art-making. The studio was not conceived of as a therapy program, but rather as a place to do art with others. This paper will describe a phenomenological study that explored the meaning of the teaching experience for artists providing instruction in this community art program. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews with four teachers emphasized reflections on the occupation of teaching. While the power of occupation and its effects on health and well-being were affirmed in this study, the findings also revealed how social complexities shape the meaning of occupation. For the teachers, the meaning of their experience was strongly influenced by their understanding of the studio's purpose and the beliefs that they held about people with mental illness. Discussion questions include: 1. What is the distinction between occupation as therapy and occupation as therapeutic? 2. How do the findings from this study affirm or shift our current understanding of occupation and occupational science? 3. In what ways can occupational science contribute to community building?

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Oct 24th, 2:00 PM Oct 24th, 2:30 PM

The Meaning of Teaching in an Inclusive Art Studio: Exploring the Artist's Experience

In the last half of the 20th century, the mental health system in the United States changed as a result of legislation designed to move people with psychiatric disabilities out of restrictive hospital settings and into the community. Although support programs exist (e.g., clubhouses, drop-in centers), many people with mental illness are still not fully integrated in their communities due, in part, to financial hardships and stigmatizing societal attitudes limiting participation. In response to these issues, a nonprofit organization in southeastern Michigan created a space where community members with and without mental illness could come together around a common occupation: art-making. The studio was not conceived of as a therapy program, but rather as a place to do art with others. This paper will describe a phenomenological study that explored the meaning of the teaching experience for artists providing instruction in this community art program. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews with four teachers emphasized reflections on the occupation of teaching. While the power of occupation and its effects on health and well-being were affirmed in this study, the findings also revealed how social complexities shape the meaning of occupation. For the teachers, the meaning of their experience was strongly influenced by their understanding of the studio's purpose and the beliefs that they held about people with mental illness. Discussion questions include: 1. What is the distinction between occupation as therapy and occupation as therapeutic? 2. How do the findings from this study affirm or shift our current understanding of occupation and occupational science? 3. In what ways can occupational science contribute to community building?