Original Research

Creating inclusive Performing Arts practices for development of youth with disabilities: A critical ethnographic study

Marlene le Roux, Harsha Kathard, Theresa Lorenzo
African Journal of Disability | Vol 10 | a753 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v10i0.753 | © 2021 Marlene le Roux, Harsha Kathard, Theresa Lorenzo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2020 | Published: 30 June 2021

About the author(s)

Marlene le Roux, Inclusive Practices Africa, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; and, Division of Disability Studies, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Harsha Kathard, Inclusive Practices Africa, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; and, Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Theresa Lorenzo, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Youth with disabilities are a marginalised group in society. This marginalisation traps them and prevents their full participation in social and economic development.

Objective: This study sought to understand how exposure to the Performing Arts facilitates the inclusion of youth with disabilities.

Methods: The study adopted a qualitative research approach, utilising critical ethnography. Primary data consisted of three focus group discussions with youth with disabilities, and an in-depth interview with a performer with disability. Thematic data analysis was conducted.

Results: Four themes emerged. Theme 1, Blown away, shares the experiences of youth who attended Artscape Theatre. Theme 2, I can do it, you can do it, describes their career aspirations. Theme 3, Embracing hope, identifies the social and life skills learned through visited Artscape. Theme 4, Long way to go, presents the factors that influence the participation of youth with disabilities in the Performing Arts. While their experiences are diverse, and their impairments are unique, contact with the Performing Arts supported social and economic inclusion, and triggered empowerment of youth with disabilities. Insufficient accessible and available transportation is the most notable barrier to accessing development opportunities.

Conclusion: Exposure to the Performing Arts provides important skills development and social opportunities for disabled youth. It is up to the ‘keepers’ of the Performing Arts – those in administration and management – to realign the Performing Arts in a way that can best benefit everyone.


Keywords

Performing Arts; social inclusion; livelihoods; community-based rehabilitation; inclusive development; disability; youth development

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