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Taking risks; making art: experiential processes of community-based, facilitated arts in mental health.

Stannage, Elanor (2019) Taking risks; making art: experiential processes of community-based, facilitated arts in mental health. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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What are the processes involved in the practice of making art, through different disciplines, with people experiencing mental distress? What happens when we take the risk of making art together? Using action research and narrative interviews, this thesis investigates these questions from the perspective of the people making the art: dancers, writers, theatre makers, artists and facilitators. In doing so it seeks to generate a situated knowledge of arts in mental health, detached from existing constructions based upon practitioner research and impact studies, in order to offer ways to reframe understanding of the field. Part 1 of the thesis sets out the theoretical terrain through examining the discourses of mental health and the discourses of the arts in order to unpick the complex interdisciplinary traditions that construct how we research and work with people in the context of arts in mental health. Part 2 explores the processes of participation that emerged from the research, looking closely at the significance of group dynamics and self-agency. Part 3 examines the processes of personal, relational and creative risk-taking in facilitated arts practice and their relevance in a mental health context. Through articulating the concept of ‘facilitated creativity’, this thesis proposes that what is particular about arts practice in relation to mental health is the potential for creative risk-taking, which offers opportunities to practice living in an age of precarity and help us develop as people. Finally, part 4 brings together the different theoretical strands from part 1, weaving ideas from these broad theoretical contexts with the findings in parts 2 and 3, to discuss the potential significance of a situated knowledge of process in arts in mental health.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: art; mental health; creativity; creative; risk; risk-taking; theatre; writing; dance; agency; process; facilitation; action research; creative methods
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > University of York St. John
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.781318
Depositing User: Dr Elanor Stannage
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2019 08:43
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24473

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