Grant received for community action research project partnership
'Perform for Life' is a unique initiative from Down Syndrome NSW in partnership with Australian Catholic University.
Dr Miriam Stevenson from the School of Social Work is the Chief Investigator of the action research partnership project, which aims to engage a group of 8 – 10 adults who have an intellectual disability, and live in a rural location, in the performing arts.
Funds of $150,000 have been received from the Pratt Foundation towards the project that will span three years culminating in the production of a unique play and performance featuring acting, poetry, song and dance.
The project will investigate what health and social benefits engagement in the performing arts can bring to individuals with an intellectual disability, their families and communities in a regional location.
Participants will be given the opportunity to develop a range of 'person-centred' performing arts skills."The project work and research approach will develop a theoretical framework drawing on human rights, the social model of disability, assets based community development principles and will use the tenets of emancipatory disability research paradigm which fosters high levels of participation," said Dr Stevenson.
Dr Stevenson has worked both as a practitioner and researcher in the social work field for over 25 years. As a qualified social worker in the UK she practised in a broad number of fields including all aspects of statutory Children and Families work and Disability Services (Transition). During the last seven years in Australia, she has managed a number of community-based projects concerning diverse client groups.
Dr Stevenson commented that: " As well as being of benefit to adults who have an intellectual disability in the short term, our aim is to produce a well-researched and transferrable model of engagement in the performing arts together with materials to promote its adaptation and implementation in similar communities. It's a really exciting project as it combines research with community partnership and action to bring about positive social change."