An autoethnological study of art as a tool of empowerment
Empowerment is important for those with mental illness as they are often stigmatized and/or experience self-stigma. This thesis examines the connections between art and empowerment for people with mental illness through a Disability Studies lens. I Adopted a social model perspective and used Crip, Disability and Feminist theories as the theoretical framework; artmaking is explored as a key element in gaining empowerment and reducing stigma. Using autoethnography this thesis examines the author’s experiences with mental illness through memories, personal journals and artwork dating back to childhood. As most research into the lives of those with mental illness is not written by those who have mental illnesses, this thesis differs as it does just that, which is important so that people with disabilities can add their perspective and experiences to the literature available to provide a more accurate and complex description of mental illness.
Autoethnography, Mental illness, Art, Empowerment, Stigmatization