6: Mixed arts-based methods as a platform for expressing lived experience

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‘A joint fate’ was the topic chosen by the co-researchers, young adults with disabilities, as one of the topics of the research that they wanted to study in-depth. In the preparatory meeting concerning collection of data on the topic they discussed that many songs, some of which are protest songs, were written by people who shared a joint fate and the desire to change their situation in society, like Bob Marley. Therefore, they decided that this would be the topic they would study by writing poems. In the research meeting, they invited the co-researchers to work in groups and to find people among them who shared a fate and to express this in a song/poem that they would present. The data that were collected included the poems, the discussion about them, and the ways in which people participated in the discourse. We used poems, stories, plays, photographs, cards, and other methods in the participatory action research (PAR) that we undertook together with young adults with disabilities. The study explored their lives in preparatory programmes for independent living that were run by the NGO, Gvanim. In our research, we explored together the meaning participation in Gvanim’s programmes had for the young adults. By employing different artistic instruments, we had a varied platform, which allowed the young adults to connect and to express their meaningful knowledge – their knowledge from experience, expressed through arts. Turning life experiences into expert and meaningful knowledge from which theoretical insights could be formulated, and actions that can have social impacts designed, was made possible via art.

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