Diagnosed artist : what is the understanding of 'artist' held by a person with a mental illness?

Gwinner, Karleen (2011) Diagnosed artist : what is the understanding of 'artist' held by a person with a mental illness? PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


What is the understanding of ‘artist’ held by a person with a mental illness? Being diagnosed with a mental illness often results in social isolation. Art programs are often used to address this isolation, and to expedite positive mental health and wellbeing. In these programs the cultural value of art can be moderated and replaced with therapeutic meanings or used for purposes of community integration. Some individuals develop artistic identities within these programs. These artists personify representative tensions within the art world. Artists with mental illness are symbolically positioned within the history of art as holding special creative providence and, yet are also viewed as having a peripheral position outside the cultural framework of the art world. This research engaged with eight artists to determine the understanding of artist held by a person with a mental illness. Through shared activities around the curatorial aspects of an exhibition entitled "Artist Citizen" the impact of illness, culture and alterity were examined. Overlapping approaches of Community Cultural Development and Participatory Action Research have been used. A perspective of alterity is given which was apparent in transformative processes of the research. This thesis shows that alterity and difference are both important social resources as well as positions of isolation and discrimination. Finally, conclusions are presented that indicated that a more nuanced understanding of alterity offers potential to discussions of the complex experiences of a person with a mental illness to negotiate subjective constructions of an identity for participation in broader political, social, health and cultural contexts.

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ID Code: 49694
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Knox, Marie & Brough, Mark
Keywords: alterity, art, artist, mental illness, outsider art, culture, community, recovery, community cultural development & participatory action research, artist citizen
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Past > Schools > Social Work & Human Services
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 13 Apr 2012 05:52
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2012 05:52

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