Empowerment through art : non-governmental organisations’ art projects’ contribution to empowerment ofmarginalised groups in Mexico City and San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico

University essay from Ersta Sköndal Bräcke högskola/Institutionen för socialvetenskap

Abstract: This study explores the ways marginalised groups can be supported in their empowerment process, and specifically how art projects organised by non-governmental organisations can contribute in the process. The focus is on prisoners and indigenous children and adults in Mexico City and San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico who are involved in the organisations’ projects. Results from qualitative interviews with organisations’ staff are presented and discussed covering organisations characteristics and relationship with the clients as factors in supporting the clients in their empowerment. Involvement in art projects influenced participants’ self-awareness, self-confidence, sense of achievement, gender roles and the way they cooperate with each other. The findings also show art projects as a possibility for marginalised groups to tell about their own lives and by doing so change stereotypes about themselves. The discussion focuses on interpreting these effects of working with art projects as empowering factors. It is suggested that working with art and in the non-governmental sector can complement the welfare system and serve as an inspiration to finding other ways of achieving empowerment. A closer look at how the non-governmental organisations work and relate to their clients, shows a more equal relationship than the one within the welfare systems, which opens up for more options of supporting marginalised individuals through their empowerment processes. The results of this research are based on the perception of the organisation’s employees, not the users themselves.Therefore it would be interesting to continue research on this topic, interviewing the users in order to get the marginalized people’s perspective on the issue.

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