This was my research question at the end of Unit One ;
HOW CAN SELF-AWARENESS, AND ALSO RAISING AWARENESS OF, MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA, BE USED TO CHALLENGE AMD MAKE CHANGES TOWARDS ERADICATING IT IN SOCIETY ?
I never felt comfortable with the absolute term of “eradicate”. As it is impossible to do and it is the way politicians operate (everything is either black or white!}. eg Sadiq Khan latest 6 point plan for London includes “A zero suicide city”. Though I suppose if you aim high it has more impact. rather than “nearly” or “about” and so on.
I was aware of the pitfalls of putting “Mental Health” and “Art” together. I knew I would have to resist the “boxes” of Outsider Art and Art Therapy. Neither of which relate to my interests or areas of expertise,
What I am interested in is fighting mental health stigma and continuing to push making my art as far as I will keep doing,
And amazingly, both feed powerfully into each other, And increasingly so since I started this MAAI course,
As part of my MA Question, initially, I had included “photography” .. But at an early stage I removed it when challenged by tutors, I could not really verbally justify why that had been in my Question then.
I replaced it with the more general term “Art”. But this did not work for me as it is not what I am about . Thinking further I concluded that my photography had always been the Intervention of my research proposal. I have been testing over the months to make them powerful and appropriate and specifically well “designed” enough to be a successful tool of change,
I now feel fully confident putting it back into my Question. But only after a long journey of activity and reflection, Basically my photos are the tools of my Intervention for change..
This has been consolidated during Unit Two by feedback from my Events, and also talking about what I am upto to the public at large.
Another part of my Question I struggled with was whether to keep ” mental health” in it as a specific stigma area, I have no interest in researching mental health. I communicate as an artist and an educator. So I took “mental health” out and left “stigma” to stand alone.
However that did not work for me as 1) it is much too broad a subject and 2) to have a chance of a successful outcome I need to start from what I know. That is to start small and from some point of knowledge.
In the last 18 months or so, I seem to become an Expert (?) in, what became apparent to me as an artist in the community. And that is the stigma of mental health and mental illness. Way before this MA course was a twinkle in anyone’s eye! I began thinking and being curious about this very damaging stigma.
Thus it made sense to keep “mental health” as the specified stigma in my Question.
Finally, did I need both “self-awareness” and “awareness” in my Question ? The way I have now worded my most recent version of my Question I feel it only needs “awareness” to put across my intentions.
HOW CAN MY PHOTOGRAPHY ENCOURAGE SELF-EXPLORATION OF PEOPLE’S PERCEPTIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS, SO LEADING TO RAISING AWARENESS OF DETRIMENTAL THINKING AND BEHAVIOURS, AS A WAY TOWARDS DE-STIGMATIZING MENTAL HEALTH IN OUR SOCIETY ?