Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Social Work

Abstract

Aims: the primary aim of this dissertation was to use the Photovoice methodology to discuss the impact of art and cultural exposure and engagement programing on program participants experiencing housing instability or homleessness. the secondary aim was to contribute to the sparse body of literature on the impact of art and cultural exposure programing on program participants experience housing instability or homelessness. Research Questions: the three research questions were: What is the impact of art and cultural exposure and engagement on program participants experiencing housing instability? What are program participants experiences with disseminating their art, and what meaning did they attach to these experiences? What were the staff, volunteer, and administrators' perceptions of the impact of art and cultural exposure programing on participants experiencing housing instability? Methods: Within the Photoethnographic tradition, nine program participants (N=9) were provided with with cameras and asked to take photos that would help them answer the research questions. During the first focus group, they contextualized their photographs to describe the impact of art and cultural exposure programing on their lives. Before the second focus group, the principle investigator, the program participants, and agency staff, volunteer, and administrative participants co-constructed a narrative for dissemination before policy makers. After their work was disseminated to policy makers, another focus group was done to better understand the impact of dissemination on program participants. Last, Individuals interviews were conducted with six staff, volunteer, and administrative participants (N=6) that facilitated the art and cultural exposure program in order to triangulate data through a second perspective. Finally, all data were analyzed and organized using open coding in NVivo. Results: Educational growth was cited as being the most important aspect of art and cultural exposure programing. Program participants also demonstrated that art exposure enhanced social growth. Other benefits of being exposed to art and cultural programing were art appreciation, a change of perspective, and the accumulation of social capital. Data regarding dissemination to policy makers indicated that Photovoice was a hopeful means of feeling heard. Staff, volunteer, and administrative data triangulated findings and revealed the importance of comprehensive access and ambient capital. Conclusions & Implications: Art exposure programming can offers practical and therapeutic tools for addressing psychological frailties associated with homelessness and housing instability. Additionally, program participants utilized art and cultural exposure programming to accumulate social capital and access a number of other benefits. These benefits helped alleviate psychological frailties associated with homelessness and social isolation. Finally, this study explores how social workers can use Photovoice and art and cultural exposure programing to help program participant experiencing housing instability or homelessness disseminate their photography and narrative work to policy makers for social advocacy. Two new concepts, comprehensive access and ambient capital, offer areas for continued research and exploration.

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