Design for the Margins: Artists and Designers in Prisons, Hospitals and Homeless Accommodation Shaping their Environments

By Lindsay Farrell.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper reports on five art research projects (2005 – 2010) with socially marginalised groups in Australia. These include art and design programs within men and women’s prisons, three large hospitals and a program of university art and design education to homeless and marginalised groups in Brisbane, Australia. The programs and studies drew on understandings of Bourdieu’s (1996) notions of Social and Cultural Capital. The various art experiences helped shape the design of the immediate environment as well as the experiences of the students. The studies demonstrated that art and design can change lives, promote social inclusion. The programs used higher education in art and design, delivered in community settings, to engage with people who are disadvantaged. The studies found that participants gained new understandings of art and design, social interactions, relationships, art and design practice, community participation and futures. The studies found that art and design was a powerful way for individuals and groups of marginalised people to make meanings through engagement with art and design practice and frame their interpretive personal and social experience as well as impact their immediate environments. This project received an Australian Teaching and Learning Citation in 2009.

Keywords: Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.107-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 773.663KB).

Lindsay Farrell

Head of School, School of Arts and Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Dr. Lindsay Farrell is the Head of the School of Arts and Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia. He researches art and design in health and community contexts. His research projects in the Mater Children’s Hospital, the Wesley Hospital and the Holy Spirit North-side Hospital involved a number of art agencies including State Art Galleries.


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