‘You don't take things too seriously or un-seriously’: Beyond recovery to liminal and liminoid possibility in a community arts and mental health project

Laver, Cassie; McGrath, Laura; Liebert, Rachel Jane; Noorani, Tehseen; Barnes, Nick; Chase, Mike; Hall, Jon and Wakeling, Ben (2021). ‘You don't take things too seriously or un-seriously’: Beyond recovery to liminal and liminoid possibility in a community arts and mental health project. Community and Applied Social Psychology (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2583

Abstract

Recent years have seen a renewed interest in integrating creative activities into statutory mental health practice in high-income countries. In this article, we offer an exploratory analysis of an arts project delivered within UK mental health services, Creativity for Enablement and Wellbeing (CREW). Drawing on data collected for a process evaluation of the project, we suggest that conceptualising CREW as liminal and liminoid provides a helpful way to articulate the processes, atmospheres, relationships, and practices of the project. Through this theoretical lens, we identify CREW as a mode of engagement comprising looseness, possibility and collectivity, all brought together through a unique community event, the showcase. We explore CREW's mode of engagement through three themes: ‘carving out a liminal space’, ‘looseness and experimentation,’ and ‘from liminal to liminoid’. Implications for service delivery are discussed, focussing on how CREW managed to create a transformative space of liminoid possibility rather than a recovery journey delineated by service-defined imperatives.

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