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Community participation as identity and belonging: a case study of Arts Project Australia. “I am an artist”
© 2020, © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Despite three decades of policy to promote community participation of people with intellectual disabilities, many remain socially excluded. There is limited evidence about effective strategies to support community participation and programs seldom make the central proposition or the program logic explicit. This study aimed to describe the program logic and outcomes of a program that aimed to support community participation through increasing participants’ sense of identity and belonging to the Arts community. A case study design was used. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with 5 participants, 6 staff and 5 family members of participants, non-participant observation, review of program documents, and completion of part 1 of the short form Adaptive Behavior Scale. The data were analysed qualitatively using a program logic as the framework. The program created studio space staffed by professional artists who used a hand in glove method to support art practice of people with intellectual disabilities. Individual outcomes for participants were threefold: development of positive identities as working artists; a sense of belonging to an art community, and; connections to a locality and peer friendships. This descriptive case study made explicit the program’s underpinning logic, and the design components that led to outcomes for individual service users. Understanding the logic of effective programs such as this will assist in scaling up and development of similar programs, and help people with intellectual disabilities and their families to assess the programs on offer.