• The lived experience of postgraduate craft students with dyspraxia

Öhlund, Emily, 2024, Thesis, The lived experience of postgraduate craft students with dyspraxia PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

Little is known about how the learning difficulty dyspraxia (also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder) impacts craftspeople. This research helps to identify the struggles of adults undertaking postgraduate craft education, whilst recognising when sensory and perceptual divergences can be advantageous. It contributes to the knowledge of dyspraxia within the context of craft practice and education, informing the study of art education, practice led research and neurodivergence in higher education.

The strength of the research lies in the clear and sensitive insights into the experience of living with dyspraxia. It is a mixed-method qualitative study combining autoethnography and in-depth case studies of six craftswomen. Their narratives reveal truths that are often at odds with common assumptions and general beliefs about dyspraxia. As a dyspraxic maker myself I share the interviewees’ experiences and take a sensitive approach throughout the writing. This empathetic attitude derives from lived experience and is a vital component in the authentic re-telling of their stories. It also helps to counteract the narrative of scientific evidence surrounding dyspraxia, which present it as purely a deficit. Instead, I encourage a more considered unpacking of the complex dynamics of the dyspraxic experience: the significant role that sensory experience plays – the strengths, the weaknesses and how all these issues are intertwined. I focus on both academic work in the art education context and embodied knowledge, addressing both the motor and cognitive aspects of dyspraxia.

Research material is analysed using experiential thematic analysis. The themes are organised into categories: Diagnosis, Personal History and Shared Experience, the Creative Process, Sensory Experience, and Environment. Motor difficulties were revealed to have a negligible impact on manual practices, while difficulties with executive function are of serious concern, with far-reaching influence on both personal and professional lives. This knowledge can be used to better understand the dyspraxic experience and strengthen support strategies for dyspraxic students in higher education.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts
Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts > W720 Metal Crafts
Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dyspraxia; Developmental Coordination Disorder; neurodiversity; craft theory; art pedagogy
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2024 10:24
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2024 10:24
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5865
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