Social application of the arts: making a difference through art
The arts have been used in the service of individuals, communities and societies for years. While many applications of the arts have been attempted, research into the effectiveness of the arts is limited and what research exists is fragmented and has not been gathered into a cohesive whole. To contribute to the establishment of a newly-created field (Social Application of the Arts), this current research gathers published socially-applied art research and organizes it in a way useful for art-makers and researchers. From the landscape this produces comes direction on where productive areas for further research might be. Findings from the 231 cases of difference-making arts projects examined in this study show that: (1) the arts were used across a broad variety of social needs such as health, education and human rights, (2) the arts were used at all beneficiary levels (individual, community and society), (3) all four arts media under consideration (dance, drama, music and visual arts) were used for intentional difference-making, (4) the "arts elements" found in the literature review, such as emotion, perception, representation and experience, were used in the difference-making arts projects as their "active ingredients," (5) the cases used a wide variety of research methods (primarily the experiment) and (6) a vast majority of the cases were claimed by their authors to have achieved their desired outcome. These outcomes ranged to pain management through music to social protest with drama.This current study also serves to initiate the "body" of the body of knowledge for Social Application of the Arts research.
- Communications