Effecting change disability culture and art relationship

Changes in the social meaning of disability artDe la politique identitaire à un nouveau This relation between minority art form and social movement is also suggested . The idea of a disability culture focuses on cultural awareness and .. posavski-obzor.info% posavski-obzor.info Little is known about the extent to which a Disability Arts perspective has extended into It is based upon two sets of data collected in relation to the East Midlands region of “'Effecting Change; Disability, Culture and Art'?. Identity. Culture. Disability. a b s t r a c t. Art has gained an important position in the identity changes in the social field of disability art seem to be structured by . Disability art distinctively differs from other categories that frame the relation between disability .. disability-studies/archiveuk/Barnes/Effecting%20Change. pdf.

I deeply believe that, in the future, human, social, and creative capital will have the greatest impact. And this is where arts and culture are a necessity. There is no discipline that nurtures and sparks the cognitive ability to imagine, and unleashes creativity and innovation, more than arts and culture. There is no approach that breaks barriers, connects across cultural differences, and engages our shared values more than arts and culture.

There is no investment that connects us to each other, moves us to action, and strengthens our ability to make collective choices more than arts and culture. To unlock this lever for change, I believe we must do several things: Focus on strategies that foster real collaboration—finding the best ways to leverage existing structures where they help and work around them where they get in the way, and to change them where they truly impede progress.

Get out of our own way by identifying solutions programs, structures, policies, practices, and financial models that might be outside our comfort zone and require letting go of territory. Learn from ourselves and others—a great deal of thinking and work has been done and has changed the positioning, importance, and funding in many other arenas.

Recognize that it will be hard and will take a long-term commitment—this is not a simple or obvious task. The political challenges, economic constraints, competing interests, priority gaps, and complexities are all real and significant challenges. And ultimately we must: Seize the moment—we are in a time of massive economic challenge, political, and generational change.

Historically, the most significant reforms and investments in social capital and game-changing approaches have been accomplished during similar periods of challenge and transformation. We are in a time when policymakers will have to address significant structural changes and where the body politic is in play with pendulum swings left and right that demonstrate a willingness to risk the status quo.

We need the smarts and the power of the people reading this post to increase access to quality arts for every American.

What we need is shared leadership that engages the political clout and the power of our voices to shift the normative expectations of our community and to demand art as a necessity, not a nicety.

Eight Principles for Effective Multicultural Communication. As part of an evaluation of this program, we reviewed the artists' application essays and artwork. In doing so, we found a wealth of information on their perceptions of what it means to be a person with a disability and an artist, and how these two identities intersect.

The findings provide insights into the role of the arts in identity formation for young people with disabilities, and point to the potential for future research on how arts and disability interact. Introduction Over the past 30 years, there has been a considerable evolution in the ways that disability is conceptualized as a social phenomenon. The social model of disability, which first emerged in the s, introduced the idea that disability is socially created rather than being rooted in the individual Hahn, ; Oliver, The idea that disability was created by social oppressive elements rather than by individuals' impairments was revolutionary and empowering to people with disabilities.

More recently, new models have emerged that seek to more fully encompass individuals' experience of impairment Crow, ; Hughes and Patterson, ; Swain and French, For example, Hughes and Pattersonin calling for a sociology of impairment, argue for an expansion of the social model, and propose "an embodied, rather than a disembodied, notion of disability" p. Disability and Identity With this emerging focus on individual experience comes an emphasis on disability identity as central to disability theory.

Siebers states that "to call disability an identity is to recognize that it is not a biological or natural property but an elastic social category both subject to social control and capable of effecting social change" p. Identity is also central to the affirmative model of disability proposed by Swain and French Rather than situating the "problem" of disability in impaired bodies as in the medical model of disability or a disabling society as in the social model of disabilitythe affirmative model "encompasses positive social identities, both individual and collective, for disabled people grounded in the benefits of life style and life experiences of being impaired and disabled" Swain and French,p.

In a similar vein, Gill describes a process of disability-identity formation that involves a progression from "coming to feel we belong" assertion of the right to inclusion in society to "coming out" developing a proud disability identity. Darlinghowever, argues that while some people with disabilities have adopted disability pride or the affirmation model, others "continue to accept the older views and regard themselves as victims of personal misfortune" p.

She proposes a typology of disability identity encompassing seven types: Normalization acceptance and achievement of the norms of the larger society, with or without acceptance of disability stigma Crusadership involvement in a disability subculture in an attempt to achieve normalization Affirmation involvement in a disability subculture and viewing disability as a primary identity and source of pride; "coming out" Situational Identification adopting multiple identities in different situations, e.

Another example is that exposure to the disability community can lead to a change from another type, such as resignation or normalization, to affirmation. The Role of Disability Arts The arts can play an important role in the progression of the disability identity over time, or the identity "career" Darling, Swain and French describe the importance of the UK disability arts movement in developing and expressing a positive group identity for people with disabilities: Through song lyrics, poetry, writing drama and so on, disabled people have celebrated difference and rejected the ideology of normality in which disabled people are devalued as 'abnormal.

No art? No social change. No innovation economy.

I detected an underlying assertion in this embrace of the term that goes something like, Yes, we have learned something important about life from being disabled that makes us unique yet affirms our common humanity. We refuse any longer to hide our differences. Rather, we will explore, develop and celebrate our distinctness and offer its lessons to the world.

effecting change disability culture and art relationship

Disability Culture is made up of artists who are not trying to pass, artists who don't buy into societies [sic] rule that we should be ashamed of our disabilities, artists who often show in their art a self-acceptance and a pride about who they are, not in spite of a disability, not because of a disability, but including a disability. Research on artists has further explicated the positive role of the arts with respect to disability identity and culture.

Evaluations of arts-based instruction, for example, have found that arts-based teaching and learning among other things enhanced self-esteem and built self-confidence on an individual level for artists Rooney, including those with disabilities Mason, Thormann, and Steedly, ; Mason, Steedly, and Thormann, Taylor explored the role that visual-arts education plays in the transition experience of college students with disabilities from school to work or to higher education.

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Stating that "identity dilemma is at the heart of the transition that all adolescents and young people experience" p. Perhaps more importantly, Taylor found that engaging with the arts could also help with issues of disability and impairment that affect transition and the identity-forming process. Specifically, Taylor found that arts education helped these youth "to engage in a process of self-realization" in which they identify and address "negative and oppressive perceptions of disability via their artwork" p.

As a result, the young artists adopted a more "positive, inclusive and potentially multi-identity perspective" p. Volkswagen Program for program years VSA arts is an international nonprofit organization, established inthat develops programs to increase access to the arts and educational inclusion with and for individuals with disabilities.

The primary goal of the organization is to create opportunities and events that allow artists of all ages to share their voice and message through the arts. Locally and internationally, VSA arts provides educators, parents, family members, and artists with the resources and tools they need to support literacy, school readiness, career development, and arts programming in different school systems and communities.

In particular, the program creates opportunities for artists in the United States and in other areas of the world to showcase their work by promoting increased access to the mainstream arts community. The overarching goal of the competition has been to recognize and encourage young artists with disabilities at an important time in their lives.

The program is intended to boost the participants' professional development so that more people with disabilities will enter art professions. The program targets artists ages 16 to 25 for two reasons. Second, most previously existing VSA arts programs were focused on either adults or younger children, with few opportunities for teenagers or youth.

The exclusive focus on artists with disabilities is intended to address the general under-representation of people with disabilities in the arts. Each year the program selects a theme that reflects its corporate sponsorship. It then uses the theme to announce the arts competition and to invite applications from visual artists with disabilities. Artists are requested to submit up to five pieces of artwork and a personal statement that includes a brief description of each piece of artwork.

Applicants are also encouraged to submit artwork that reflects the program theme for that year. The winning artists are chosen each year by a panel of distinguished jurors.

The authors were contracted by VSA arts in to conduct an evaluation of the program to determine its impact on the finalists' personal and professional development. The overall findings of the evaluation are reported in a previous article Boeltzig, Sulewski, and Hasnain, The present article relies on the same data but examines those data through a different lens, focusing on the young artists' sense of and development of their identities both as artists and as people with disabilities. Three research questions guided this evaluation: What are the implications of the evaluation findings, and what recommendations can be made to further improve the program?

Research staff used a multi-method design to conduct the evaluation.

No art? No social change. No innovation economy.

This included a review of relevant source material and documents described in further detail belowa survey of program finalists who won awards between andand in-depth case studies of five of those finalists. While the original intent of the study was to evaluate the program, some interesting findings emerged from the review of the participants' application materials regarding how they formed identities both as people with disabilities and as artists.

The present paper explores those emerging themes in greater detail than our previous publication. Since the paper is focused only on findings from the source-material review, this method section addresses only that component of the data collection. Description of the Data Between andthe program gave awards to 47 emerging artists.

We reviewed the application information for each of the 47 finalists, which was provided to us by VSA arts. Each application packet included: The 47 finalists had diverse disabilities including physical disabilities, learning disabilities, sensory disabilities, mental illnesses, and chronic illnesses.

They came from 26 states across the country, were evenly split by gender 24 women and 23 menand had an average age of Most finalists had been making art since they were young children.

At the time they applied for the competition, more than half of the young artists at least 28 were attending or had completed college or university; almost all were pursuing a degree in the arts. Finalists were pursuing their studies in a range of fields including painting and drawing, photography, graphic arts, and digital imaging. To analyze the data, we used two techniques: The research team developed operational definitions or codes for each theme, as those themes emerged, so that we could share meanings of the codes as a team.

These definitions described the codes as the themes emerged. Memo-writing further helped to organize themes from the data. These themes were further developed as the research staff interpreted and analyzed the results Creswell, The research team met on a regular basis, first to reconcile codes and then to discuss the emerging categories and themes.

We simultaneously coded and analyzed the data, continually compared specific incidents, refined our concepts, and explored the relationships between various themes, as recommended by Charmaz We also discussed findings with colleagues, inviting their alternative explanations. Drafts of the findings were compiled using the themes organized during the memo-writing process.

In this way, the memos served as an outline for the results that are presented in this paper. Findings This section presents our findings about the participating young artists' sense of identity, both as artists and as people with disabilities. The fact that these young people entered an arts competition for people with disabilities indicates that each of them identified to at least some extent as both an artist and a person with a disability. Our examination of their application materials provided more detailed information on how they developed those identities and how the two identities — disability identity and artist identity — intersected or not for these young artists.

First we describe various participants' experiences of identity formation as artists and factors influencing their identification as an artist.

effecting change disability culture and art relationship

We then explore finalists' descriptions of their identities as people with disabilities. Finally, we examine the intersection of art and disability in finalists' lives, including how finalists described this dual identity, how disability affected their art-making and vice versa, and how they expressed their experiences of impairment and disability in their art.

Artist Identity Exposure to art and art-making, and the circumstances and people that connected finalists with the arts, played an important role in these young people becoming artists. Many of them 35 in total had been making art since early childhood. Although their pathways varied, we discovered a few common themes in the way they discovered art in their early years.

The role and influence of family. About a third of the young finalists came from families where at least one member was an artist e. My uncle and my grandfather are professional artists and have taught me a lot throughout my life. Two of the finalists whose mothers were art teachers said that art materials were always around and that it was inevitable for them to explore the arts.

Several finalists became interested in the arts by observing those family members. One finalist wrote in her application essay, "Drawing was always something I did just for the fun of it.

My older sister is an artist and I always admired her work, but I never thought I could be as good as her and I never had serious thoughts about becoming an artist until recently. For example, one finalist wrote, "My family always has positive and encouraging things to say about my work. Finalists' mothers often served as mentors.

For example, one finalist wrote, "My mother has been the greatest source of motivation. For 20 years, she has encouraged my pursuits and served as a tireless teacher.

Her dedication to helping me live with diabetes and her uncompromising faith that I will be able to accomplish anything artistic or otherwise in spite of its challenges is most amazing. For example, one wrote, "I am blessed to have innate talent for art, apparently inherited from my father, who always nurtured and supported my family.

One of the earliest pieces is a self-portrait I did with my father at age five which still hangs in our den. One finalist, for example, had started creating artwork at age five, motivated by his kindergarten special-education teacher. Many teachers recognized the potential of art in helping students, especially those with learning disabilities, overcome barriers to academic achievement. Five finalists said art professionals such as painters, illustrators, or curators were involved in their lives and uncovered their emerging artistic talent.

One shared her experiences of being diagnosed with a visual impairment while in college. Her mentor relationship with another artist who also had a visual impairment helped her overcome her fears of no longer being able to draw and paint. Another artist described how various local painters had mentored her. Other circumstances and life situations. The finalists also shared a variety of environmental influences that helped them cultivate their artistic skills and talent. A few three were inspired by famous artists, which influenced the way they approached their own art.

One finalist, known for his creativity and imagination in creating his own characters and situations, credited his many hours watching cartoons. For two artists, one whose parents were immigrants and the other one who was born outside of the United States, the immigrant experience had a strong impact. One of them described her journey in the arts despite her parents' strong resistance to her choosing the arts as a profession.

Traveling to different parts of the country or abroad influenced two other young artists to share their experience using art. Gaining practical experiences in the arts through internships, college jobs, or part-time work and public exposure of the artists and the artwork through art exhibitions, competitions, awards, publications also seemed to have helped finalists progress in their development as emerging artists. Meanings and purposes of art and art-making. Almost all of the finalists commented on the importance and purposes of art in their lives.

A number of them used broad statements such as, "Art is a large part of my life," or, "The arts define who I am," while others were more specific.

One wrote, "Art gives me a reason to live.

effecting change disability culture and art relationship

It is an outlet for me to feel good about myself and do something well. It has given me purpose and guidance throughout my life involving education, socialization, and dealing with life's challenges.

Many finalists were drawn to the arts and art-making by the desire to learn and to pursue arts education. For example, one wrote, "I was motivated most by my very first oil painting class and also from being introduced to the history of art.

These included enhanced reading, writing, and math skills, improved critical and creative thinking, and increased commitment to learning and heightened understanding of worldviews and issues. Others had never thought of art as part of their formal education. As one wrote, "It has always been my favorite thing to do, and my future career, not a subject in school. One finalist wrote, "Ever since I was little, I have learned to communicate how I feel by the act of creating.

I felt safe to explore and to be who I am, by being able to work on a piece of art without ever feeling like I was doing or saying something wrong. Some became more cognizant of their artistic talent and skill; others became more aware of their disability and incorporated the body, impairment, and disability more thematically into their artwork. Still others experimented with various art media and techniques. Disability Identity Being an artist with a disability was an important part of most finalists' identity.

Most of them talked about their impairments and disabilities in their application essays 36 finalists and the descriptions of their artwork nine finalists. Several described what it was like for them to live with their impairment. Describing the effect of impairment on her life, one finalist said that a combination of two genetic disorders has "drastically affected my life and caused my disability.

I prefer to live in the mind, to understand the reality of my world from the inside out…I feel that my physical impairment has attuned my senses not toward what can be physically felt, but instead to what can be intuitively understood. Finalists with learning disabilities one of the most common disability types among finalists particularly noted the challenges their impairments posed in their education. For example, one artist described how having a learning disability affected him in his school years: During my childhood, it became evident through testing and obvious problems in the classroom that I had short-term memory loss, dyslexia, and processing difficulties.

Later in my schooling, especially through high school, the academics became much more laborious. Another expressed the frustration of living with a learning disability that was not diagnosed until after high school: I study for hours, I sacrifice my time playing with friends in my childhood just to try to get a passing C. I never did get that C. I could never figure out why I could study days for a test and still turn out getting a F.

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Frustrating as this would be after going through my inter school years with a disability that I didn't even know that I had. Many are not aware of this problem, and I was one of them. To this day I still suffer from a bad low comprehension level and I can't read small books. Several artists described a process of claiming their identity as people with disabilities and learning to take pride in that identity.

One artist wrote, "My disability is a burden I wear with pride. I abandoned the wheelchair.