KASVATUSTIETEIDEN TIEDEKUNTA Kasvatustieteiden ja opettajankoulutuksen yksikkö - PDF

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Mikkonen, Sini It's you experiencing yourself An ethnographic study of an arts project promoting participation among young people with mental health issues Kasvatustieteen pro gradu-tutkielma KASVATUSTIETEIDEN

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Mikkonen, Sini It's you experiencing yourself An ethnographic study of an arts project promoting participation among young people with mental health issues Kasvatustieteen pro gradu-tutkielma KASVATUSTIETEIDEN TIEDEKUNTA Kasvatustieteiden ja opettajankoulutuksen yksikkö Intercultural Teacher Education 2013 Kasvatustieteiden tiedekunta Luokanopettajankoulutus Tiivistelmä opinnäytetyöstä Tekijä Mikkonen Sini Työn nimi It s you experiencing yourself An ethnographic study of an arts project promoting participation among young people with mental health issues Pääaine Kasvatustiede Työn laji Pro gradu -tutkielma Aika Syyskuu 2013 Sivumäärä 67 Tämän etnografisen tutkimuksen tarkoitus on kuvailla syrjäytymässä oleville nuorille suunnattua taideprojektia ja selvittää mikä merkitys tällaisella projektilla on näille nuorille. Osa nuorista ei pysty vastaamaan yhteiskunnan heille asettamiin haasteisiin luvun lama rikkoi yhteiskuntarakenteita vaikuttaen nuorten elinoloihin. Tämän hetkisen (2013) tilastotiedon mukaan vuotiaista ei ole työelämässä tai suorittamassa minkäänlaista peruskoulunjälkeistä tutkintoa; he eivät ylipäätään osallistu juuri mihinkään toimintaan. Myös nuorten mielenterveys on herättänyt paljon keskustelua viime aikoina. Teoriataustassa käsitellään sekä syrjäytymistä että taiteen olemusta ja merkitystä yksilölle. Syrjäytymistä on vaikea määritellä vain tilastotietojen perusteella. Syrjäytymisprosessi merkitsee muutosta, johon vaikuttavat sekä yksilö itse että ympäröivä yhteiskunta. Tässä tutkimuksessa olennaisin syy syrjäytymiseen oli mielenterveydellinen. Halusin nähdä, pystyykö taide olemaan väline, jonka avulla nuoret pystyisivät kommunikoimaan ja kokemaan osallistumisen tunnetta. Keräsin aineistoa kahden kuukauden ajan Myrskyn järjestämässä taideprojektissa. Myrsky on valtakunnallinen nuorisoprojekti, joka pyrkii estämään syrjäytymistä kohentamalla taiteen avulla nuorten hyvinvointia. Frances Kaplan (2006) jakaa taiteen vaikutukset kolmeen luokkaan: taide muuttaa tunteita, taide on kommunikoinnin väline ja taiteen tekeminen on erityinen prosessi. Taiteen ainutlaatuisuus piilee mielen voiman ja sensomotoristen taitojen yhteisvaikutuksessa. Taiteen tekeminen on kokonaisvaltainen ja vaistonvarainen prosessi, jossa materiaalinen todellisuus yhdistyy tunteisiin. Tämä mahdollistaa yksilön sisäisen ja ulkoisen maailman yhdistymisen. Aineistotriangulaatiota käytettiin kokoamalla aineistoksi havaintopäiväkirja, joka sisälsi epävirallisia keskusteluja osallistujien kanssa, yhteishaastattelu kahdelta ohjaajalta sekä osallistujien palautelomakkeet, joissa tiedusteltiin heidän projektiin liittyviä odotuksiaan ja niiden täyttymistä projektin aikana. Toimintaa veti kaksi ohjaajaa ja projektiin osallistui kuusi nuorta. Aineistoon perustuen loin osallistujaprofiilit, jotka paljastivat mielenterveydellisten ongelmien hyvinkin voivan syrjäyttää nuoren. Analysoimalla ohjaajien haastattelun sain selville, että kommunikaation vaikeus ja itseilmaisu olivat projektin olennaisimmat haasteet. Taidetoiminnan päärooli oli luoda osallisuutta vastaamalla juuri näihin haasteisiin. Taide mahdollisti kommunikaation ja loi metaforia, joiden avulla nuoret pystyivät puhumaan vaikeistakin asioista. Taiteella oli myös terapeuttinen vaikutus nuorten terveydentilaan. Palautelomakkeiden mukaan taideprojekti vaikutti myönteisesti varsinkin uusien ihmissuhteiden, hyvän ryhmähengen ja projektin aikana saadun tuen kautta. Vaikka osallistujilla oli vaikeuksia keskustella ja ilmaista itseään, he olivat palautteiden mukaan kokeneet projektissa myönteisiä asioita. Keskustelujen ja kuuntelemisen tärkeys mainittiin eniten. Tämä projekti osoitti, että taide pystyy tukemaan nuorten osallisuutta ja antamaan heille myönteisen kuvan tulevaisuudesta; taiteen avulla pystytään muuttamaan sekä yksilöä että yhteiskuntaa. Asiasanat henkinen hyvinvointi, itseilmaisu, nuoret, osallistuminen, projektityö, syrjäytyminen, taide, taiteellinen työ Kasvatustieteiden tiedekunta Luokanopettajankoulutus Tiivistelmä opinnäytetyöstä Tekijä Mikkonen Sini Työn nimi It s you experiencing yourself An ethnographic study of an arts project promoting participation among young people with mental health issues Pääaine Kasvatustiede Työn laji Pro gradu -tutkielma Aika Syyskuu 2013 Sivumäärä 67 The purpose of this ethnographic study is to describe and understand the meaning of an art project aimed for young people facing the risk of exclusion. Some young people cannot adapt to the expectations the society has towards them. According to the statistics, there are at the moment youth between years who are not taking part in any meaningful activities, i.e. they are not working or studying further after finishing the compulsory education. The recess years in the 1990 s broke many social structures which had an influence on the conditions the young generation have to live in today. Young people s mental health has been discussed widely during the past years. The theoretical background of the study consists mainly of two concepts: exclusion and the essence of art. Exclusion is hard to define solely on the basis of statistics. Nevertheless exclusion is always a change in being which means exclusion is a process with different conditions. It might result from individual s own actions or from the surrounding society. In the project discussed in the present study, the main reason for exclusion was mental health issues. I wanted to see if art can be a tool in enabling the participants of the project to interact and open up. The data collection in an art project organized by Myrsky took two months. Myrsky is a nationwide youth project aiming at preventing social exclusion by improving young people s wellbeing through art. According to Frances Kaplan (2006) art has three major effects on us: art transforms our emotions, art is a tool for communication, and making of art is a special kind of a process. What makes art process so unique is the simultaneous combination of mental intensity and sensorimotor skills. It is a holistic and intuitive process where material reality and feelings are connected. This enables art to connect individual s inner and outer worlds. Triangulation of data was used by collecting a field diary including informal conversation quotes from the participants, a joint interview with the two instructors, and feedback questionnaires from the participants asking about their expectations concerning the project. Six young people took part in the art project that was led by two instructors. I created participant profiles which revealed that mental health issues can very well trigger young persons exclusion. By analyzing the instructors interview I found out the main challenges in the project: communication and selfexpression. The main role of artistic activities in promoting participation was to help facing these challenges. Art enabled communication and created metaphors in dealing with difficult matters; hence art carried a therapeutic value. By summing up the feedback questionnaires I found out about the positive effects of an art project: meeting new people, experiencing good group spirit and getting support during the project. Despite the difficulties in communication and in self-expression, the youth had gained some positive experiences from the project; in feedback, discussing and listening were mentioned the most. This art project gave the participants hope for a better future which shows that art can indeed make a difference by creating participation and contributing to social change. Asiasanat art, artistic activities, exclusion, mental wellbeing, participation, project work, self-expression, youth Table of Contents 1. INTRODUCTION Background of the study The purpose of the study and the research questions THE POSSIBILITIES OF ART Defining art How does art affect one? Art transforming our emotions Making art Art as a tool for communication Why is art needed? Therapeutic aspect of art From formal to informal art therapy Art works unconsciously THE RISK OF EXCLUSION Defining exclusion Conditions of exclusion Societal reasons for exclusion Exclusion is relational Statistics on drop-out rates and degrees Political rhetorics of youth exclusion The nationwide youth arts programme Myrsky aiming to prevent exclusion METHODOLOGY Previous research Distinguishing qualitative from quantitative approach Ontological and epistemological assumptions Ethnography Ethical concerns THE ANALYSIS OF THE DATA AND THE RESULTS Research strategy Data collection The participants profiles based on the ethnographic data The instructors views of the challenges of the project... 41 Psychological challenges: communication and self-expression The role of artistic activities in promoting participation Art creating metaphors Art enabling communication The analysis of the questionnaires The participants expectations The participants feedback Summing up: how did the project meet the participants expectations? DISCUSSION SOURCES... 62 1 1. INTRODUCTION Something for everyone is nothing for no one. Ruger Hauer ( Jokaiselle jotakin on ei mitään kellekään ) 1.1. Background of the study Someone told me once that you cannot understand yourself unless you feel connected to the community you live in. You need to be a part of it. Being part gives meaning to your existence. What if you are not able to take part; you have difficulties to communicate and interact? One crucial way to take part in the society is education. Thousands of young Finnish people face daily not being part. In fact at the moment to 29-year-olds are not taking part in anything meaning they are not working or studying further after finishing compulsory education. This is about 5% of the youngsters in that age group. (Myrskylä, 2012, 1-3) This 5% cannot live up to the expectations Finland has towards them. Individuals ought to get an education followed by a decent job and start paying taxes for the common good. Social norms tell citizens how to fulfill these expectations. What if somewhere on the way life routines get side-tracked or an individual cannot adapt to the speed that norms would require to? Once that individual drops out s/he becomes excluded. One is part of the statistics and if lucky one gets help from people telling what to do to get on the track again. But has anyone ever asked these young people how they see the situation? Do they understand what is going on? Rather than fixing the problem from the outside, young people 2 should be helped to discover their issues by themselves. These underlying factors might not be easy to find though. To be able to give meaning to one s existence again one needs to realize the core issues and find out what is uniquely one s own. This uniqueness is one s biggest strength. It gives meaning. But it also requires creativity. One s personal creative resources challenge the social norms. By finding personal norms might be a way to understand oneself better. The mental wellbeing of young people raises discussion widely at the moment. A research done by the National Institute for Health and Welfare suggests that twenty per cent of young people born in 1987 have needed psychiatric treatment or medication for mental problems. Eighteen per cent of that age group does not have a degree after elementary school and forty per cent of this latter group suffers from mental health problems. These figures are fairly alarming. (Paananen, Ristikari, Merikukka, Rämö, Gissler, 2012, 3) Ritva Kaukonen, a researcher in Statistics Finland, has confronted the issue of exclusion being hard to define solely on the basis of statistics. She emphasizes that when looking at statistics on youngsters who have become school drop-outs or unemployed one needs to be critical. Statistics say that even young people are now in either of those groups and perhaps facing exclusion but nowhere is mentioned that thousands of young people are often unattainable. Other statistics say youngsters are facing exclusion on these areas. The difference is huge. Reasons for these differences might be various measuring methods and especially use of different terms and definitions of for example these unemployed and school drop-outs. (Kaukonen, 2007) In 2010 statistics there are Finnish citizens aged from 15 to 29 without any record or mention on the statistics. This means they were not listed as unemployed, employed, students, on maternity leave, on military service or anything. These youngsters might be facing the risk of exclusion, more easily than the others. Of course it needs to be kept in mind that these statistics change and the groups reform, some youngsters may get a job, some might lose one, roles change. (Myrskylä, 2012) Something for everyone is nothing for no one is an excerpt from a song presented by Ruger Hauer. This song sums up for me the dominant atmosphere in Finland. It must be fair if everyone has the same starting points, gets similar possibilities and faces similar expectations. This kind of thinking rules out those who need something different. These people are easily left aside. It might result from individual s own actions or the society. Nevertheless 3 if individuals never really figure out what is challenging them, one might be part of the nothing for no one group. This research project has two main aims: to find out who are these people left aside and could art be a tool in enabling them to interact The purpose of the study and the research questions The purpose of this ethnographic study is to describe and understand an art project aimed for young people facing the risk of exclusion. The central focus being studied is those young people, the participants of the project. The theory part includes two main aspects, exclusion and art. These two are linked together in the empirical part when looking into the project I took part in. I wrote my bachelor s thesis on the possibilities of music being a tool to prevent exclusion. I have linked some parts of my bachelor s thesis theory relating to exclusion in my master s thesis as well. Nevertheless these theories have been updated and mostly this thesis is completely new research material. Now I look more deeply into arts as a whole. In this master s thesis I wish to answer the following research questions. The first two will be covered in the theoretical part of the study. 1) What is exclusion? What causes it? What is the current exclusion situation like? 2) What is art and how does it affect one? The next two will be looked at in the empirical part, the data analysis. 3) Linking art and excluded youth: Who were the participants of the project? What challenged the project the most? What was the role of art in the project? 4) How did the participants find the project? After the results based on the analysis, I shall discuss my findings in the final chapter. 4 2. THE POSSIBILITIES OF ART The saying art for art s sake states that the intrinsic value of art is in itself (Oxford English Dictionary). Susanne Langer states that this value is not created by art itself though. She suggests that works of art are objects expressing the artist s views resembling feelings of human experience (Eisner 2008, 7). I will next look into how art affects individuals and what kind of a therapeutic value it carries Defining art A work of art is a concept, a unique object that an era has decided to call such; before the modern era art was more of a way of life. It reached the whole community through for example bodily ornamentation, tattoos or dancing. Art was not just for artists. Before the late 18 th century a work of art did not even exist as a concept in the sense we understand it now, until the idea of modern aesthetics was created. For example Kant used aesthetics when defining norms whether something is beautiful. He acknowledged that art relates to individual s personal experiences but only some things fulfill the standards of beauty. Only geniuses can create works of art. (Carey, 2005, 3-12, read also Townsend, 2001, 1-4) These sorts of ideas still influence today. The idea that a work of art has to be aesthetically beautiful is still strong, even though the definition of what is art has changed. From modernism onwards through postmodernism many previous assumptions were criticized and art as a concept was liberated. Works of art do not necessarily need to have any special aesthetic value anymore. Some say anything can be a work of art. Some say art re- 5 quires to be theoretically justified and follow a certain pattern in art history. Some think art is divine or sacred. There are as many definitions as there are people because the way we see art comes from our consciousness. It is the sum of us as individuals. (Carey, 2005, 15-31) On the other hand Wolff reminds us that when defining a work of art we must acknowledge the prevailing social ideologies, that art in fact is a collective cultural production instead of only a personal one. (Wolff, 1993, 27-34) One might argue that today the so called art-world has lost its credibility because anything can be art. Mass media is full of all sorts of art works that have even become political tools. People die because of works of art. In September 2012 violent protests erupted over a film made of the Prophet Muhammad. The film was seen as offensive to the Prophet and Islam as a religion. Religious anger led to public anger, ending up in serious anti-western violence. The anger originating from the film brought out discussion on far more serious controversies than the film itself such as frustration between claimed imperialism and Muslim fundamentalism. (BBC, September 2012) Of course, many might argue whether the film can be seen as art at all. Nevertheless this shows what sort of social effects art might have. These sorts of social effects have triggered criticism on art as a political tool strengthening social power relations. Some claim the western concept of art is coordinated by only a fraction of the society. Artworks have even been criticized becoming pieces of merchandise that need to meet the requirements of marketability. (Addison, 2010, 9-10, read also Tuomikoski 1987, 43-44) 2.2 How does art affect one? Art has always been a significant part of human history. It has affected human evolution and still does by influencing our behavior. As concluded earlier there is no universal definition of what art actually is. John Carey and John Dewey both state that anything can be art if someone thinks it is. The concept of art has exploded beyond our control. This is why Carey suggests that instead of wasting time trying to find out what art is we should look 6 into how art has affected and transformed people s lives. What do the arts actually do to people? (Carey 2005, ; Dewey 2010, ) However let us shortly have a look at one definition of what art is according to modern beliefs because it also reveals some meanings of what art does to people: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power (Oxford English Dictionary) This definition states that art is a process brought together by creativity and imagination. It acknowledges art s ability of having an emotional power, affecting our emotions. Art is often linked with ornamental connotations, referred to as beauty in this definition. Some definitions state art even being a way to get a natural high. Already Plato acknowledged hundreds of years ago that art is a threat to rationality. He stated that senses and emotions differ from rational thinking and that art affects exactly those two. This connection between art and emotion is often brought out in literature. Art is even defined being a way to reveal emotions a
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