Type of Document Dissertation Author Hutzel, Karen Elizabeth URN etd-07082005-132855 Title Learning from Community: A Participatory Action Research Study of Community Art for Social Reconstruction Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Art Education, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Tom Anderson Committee Chair Charles Connerly Committee Member Lisa Waxman Committee Member Marcia Rosal Committee Member Keywords
- Community-Based Art Education
- Sense Of Community
- Community Engagement
- Asset-Based Mapping
- Collective Identity
Date of Defense 2005-06-28 Availability unrestricted Abstract“What does the implementation of an asset-based community art curriculum in the West End neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, reveal about participants’ perceptions of community and how does it contribute to social change?” was the major research question investigated in this study. The strong collective identities of oppressed communities served as the basis for development of the research question and the study itself. Oppressive situations have developed strong social capital, which has the potential to empower communities to participate in improving their neighborhoods. As poor and minority communities suffer from an emphasis on deficiencies, an overabundance of social services, and oppressive educational systems, the use of community art to expose inherent collective identities of minorities can provide a catalyst to change through local community development. The development of asset-based maps of community, in place of more typical needs-based maps, can be effective in changing the perceptions of the community, eliciting participation of local residents, and creating sustainable community improvement. To investigate these issues in light of the use of community art to contribute to social change, a study detailing how community art can reveal participants’ perceptions of community and create social change is of significance for art education and community development agendas.
Adult and youth participants from the West End neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, were included in the study. A participatory action research study, in keeping with the notion of change, was implemented utilizing an ethnographic framework of interviews, observations, and document collection. Participants reported their perceptions of community in general and the West End neighborhood in particular through a drawing exercise and individual interviews. The interview transcripts and drawings were coded according to the prefigured foci. Emergent themes were identified through content analysis.
Results from the study indicated that youth perceived community as a safe, happy place that is clean with greenery. Data revealed that participants perceived the West End as a place with strong social bonds that suffers from trash, violence, and drugs. Data also revealed that the community art curriculum contributed to social change by changing the participants’ perceptions of their ability to affect their environment.
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