#COT2017. S84 Occupational Science

Two research studies focussing on engagement in leisure activities.

Angela Gregory  and Heidi von Kurthy  “An exploratory study of skilled participation in embroidering”. 

This was a presentation of a masters study carried out to understand the experience of skilled participation in embroidery.  Qualitative methods were used to understand the topic from the perspective of the participants. Findings suggested embroidery provided an emotional release for participants, also that participants described meaningful occupations existing within the meaningful occupation of embroidery as shopping for material could bring as much pleasure as the actual embroidery.  A powerful relationship between participants and embroidering existed and participants appreciated the sensory qualities of embroidery.

Angela and Heidi described the “power of crafts” and suggested we need to reconsider the term “creative activities” to acknowledge the complexity and gradability of craft. As craft enjoys a resurgence within society maybe it’s time it gained more focus within occupational therapy research?

Helena Rampley “Exploring the meaning of creative writing as a meaningful occupation and its influence on wellbeing and identity”.

Helena had focussed her masters research on the use of creative writing as a leisure activity, distinct from a therapeutic or work activity. Helena interviewed individuals who wrote regularly and she used IPA to focus on the meaning of writing for individuals. She let her participants choose their own pseudonyms, which was a nice touch. Her analysis identified the themes of “writing as an escape from reality”, “creative and communicative freedom”, “writing as intrinsic to sense and self”, “vulnerable identity of writer” and “strategies for coping with vulnerability”.  Helena concluded that writing was a “serious leisure activity” because it had the potential for negative experiences and these were common with participants despite them choosing to continue to pursue creative writing in their leisure time. It had resonance for me with academic writing – I continue to do it, despite often not enjoying it and finding it detrimental to my mental health until it’s all finished and in print!

The two presentations fitted very well together and were both informative and engaging. As I sign off my final blog, I just want to say thanks #COT2017 for a great conference.

By Laura Di Bona @SheffOTCA

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