Homeless adults engagement in art: first steps towards identity, recovery and social inclusion

Thomas, Yvonne, Gray, Marion, McGinty, Sue, and Ebringer, Sally (2011) Homeless adults engagement in art: first steps towards identity, recovery and social inclusion. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58 (6). pp. 429-436.

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Abstract

Background:  The Australian policy on homelessness identifies participation in structured activities as the first step towards social inclusion and increasing the likelihood of permanently leaving a homeless lifestyle. Art interventions increase interpersonal function and social participation and provide a means of expression and transformation with people who are homeless.

Aim:  This study explores the value of an art programme provided by a non-government agency for homeless adults.

Method:  Qualitative methods including participant observation and purposive interviews were analysed inductively and thematically to gain an understanding of the participants’ experience of art and its value. Interviews with stakeholders provided additional information and triangulation of the data.

Results:  The study demonstrates that art occupations provide a starting point for participation in community and a positive experience that encourages the construction of new identities, routines and roles. Furthermore, art provides an alternative from the problems associated with homelessness, mental health and substance abuse and allows for public recognition and social inclusion.

Conclusions:  Health professionals should work towards the social inclusion of homeless people through providing occupational opportunities for participation in safe settings as a first step to community engagement.

Item ID: 20307
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: creative arts, occupational justice, qualitative research
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ISSN: 1440-1630
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2012 06:37
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110321 Rehabilitation and Therapy (excl Physiotherapy) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920201 Allied Health Therapies (excl. Mental Health Services) @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
Downloads: Total: 4
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