‘It’s like exercise for your soul’: how participation in youth arts activities contributes to young people’s wellbeing

Gretchen Marie Ennis, Jane Tonkin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    Abstract

    Active participation in organised youth arts activities is generally considered ‘good’ for young peoples’ social and emotional wellbeing. There is, however, less known about how youth arts participation helps to create wellbeing benefits. This paper details a retrospective narrative study that sought to understand not only what wellbeing benefits 17 participants attributed to youth arts activity, but more specifically, how these outcomes occurred. The concept of liminality, within a spaces of wellbeing approach, is used as a framework to explore and understand participant’s stories of their time at Corrugated Iron Youth Arts, in Darwin, Australia. A pattern of transformation involving three phases emerged through an analysis of participant stories. This involved (1) joining in, (2) developing skills and gaining experience, and (3) becoming a ‘real’ performer. These stages have strong resonance with contemporary conceptualisations of liminal experiences, and provide further evidence for the value of youth arts activity as a space for the development of social and emotional wellbeing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)340-359
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Youth Studies
    Volume21
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2018

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