Occupational therapy philosophy is based on the belief that engagement in meaningful occupation has a direct effect on our health and our identity arises directly from what our bodies can do. Pre-ceding the formation of occupational therapy theorists of the industrial revolution believed that the loss of touch with the environment had a negative effect on the soul. The cure was believed to be engagement in 'art and craft' due to the morally uplifting nature and the potential to fill the empty spaces in people’s lives.
Some occupational therapists and occupational scientists have consequently explored the experience of engaging in craft and so called ‘creative activities’ through a range of qualitative studies. Despite research giving rich descriptions of people’s experiences and feelings about various different ‘creative activities’, we still know very little about how specific crafts may relate to health identity.
Occupational Therapy literature suggests that embroidery is restorative, satisfying and transformative. This is an interesting theory; however no research exists to endorse this belief. The current research proposes to explore engagement in embroidery specifically in relation to health identities in order to begin to understand how what we do shapes who we are and who we can become.
How do embroiderers story the relations between their health identities and engagement in their craft?
Methodology: The way we explain and visualise the activities that typify our everyday lives, through necessity, choice or by chance is often more important than their reality. In this way the constructs are personal rather than existing in reality. The research ontology is relativist with constructivist epistemology under a pragmatist paradigm.
Theoretical understanding: The research is currently informed by Deleuzian Theory and specific work on health relations by Dr Nick Fox.
Method: Narrative inquiry
Data: Verbal accounts obtained though interview, observation and visual images of embroidered items.
Data analysis: Narratives to be constructed as an individual story. Each story will be analysed using a technique designed by Dr Nick Fox in order to present an assemblage of the participant’s health/embroidery identity.
The aims of the project are
Project is currently being undertaken- no reported impact at this stage
Heidi von Kurthy
Supervisors: Graham Stew and Kay Aranda