Providing arts students with the tools to work with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups will increase their employability and relevance in society. This is important in today’s professional environment, where traditional jobs for artists are decreasing and they are faced with the challenge of finding new contexts for their projects. Having the right mindset and skill-set to work with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, will lead to enhanced awareness of the multi-faceted possibilities and roles of artists in a modern society. Using art as a tool for social inclusion has not been considered an integral part of arts studies, but can rather be found in specialized Art Therapy programmes.
This is why the aim of the project is to develop curricula for a study programme on a master level, which will train artists and health workers with an arts background to work with social inclusion in their artistic projects. The programme will offer a collaborative learning community for all art disciplines, focusing on enhancement of personal skills, self-confidence, community engagement, collaboration skills and reflective practice, aiming at collaborative professionalism (Hargreaves, A. and O’Connor, M.T., (2017). Collaborative Professionalism. WISE).
Focus will be on a hybrid of art forms and their working methods, a cross-sectoral conversation, as well as the foundations of art therapy methods and theories, in terms of how they can be applied within conventional and unconventional learning spaces when working with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. Applying the expertise and knowledge from these different disciplines will provide insight and deeper understanding of positions and feelings of students and participants when working with these groups.
The activities in this project will support the goals to:
- Develop new and sustainable curricula for a study programme on a master level for artists and healthcare workers with an arts background.
- Develop tools that provide students with opportunities to train and work in a professional environment.
- Provide students with a cross-art and cross-sectoral learning space, working with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, in order to facilitate well-being, empowerment and social inclusion.
- Explore opportunities of working through participatory art when working with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.
- Utilizing international dialogue and cross-fertilization to enhance curriculum development and create new interdisciplinary approaches.
- Spreading the ideology of the cross-art and cross-sectoral approach to working with social inclusion, in the partner institutions, and other higher arts education institutions in Europe.
The activities set forth in this project have been limited to working with people suffering the Alzheimer disease, and youth with behavioural, social, learning and/or emotional difficulties and are at risk of dropping out of school. However, we believe that the foundation set in this project can later be broadened to other groups facing health or social problems, such as refugees and people with disabilities.
Laura Huhtinen-Hilden, Project Manager
Laura.Huhtinen-Hilden [at] metropolia.fi