The arts and social well-being in rural communities: a qualitative and quantitative assessment in the mid west region of Western Australia

Julia Anwar McHenry

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    [Truncated abstract] There has been growing interest in the social conditions of Australian rural communities and the importance of social factors in enabling communities to adapt to change resulting from economic and political restructuring in sustainable ways (Gray and Lawrence, 2001; Fraser et al., 2002; Alston, 2007). While it is widely recognised that social and civic participation can build community capacity (Keleher and Armstrong, 2005), the arts are thought to have an important role in the social well-being of these communities (Coalter, 2001). There is growing evidence for the use of the arts in rural revitalisation, economic stimulation, and capacity building (Adams and Goldbard, 2002; Boon and Plastow, 2004; Mills and Brown, 2004; Brennan-Horley et al., 2007). However, research in this field is rarely quantitative (Reeves, 2002), and has been criticised over the use of ambiguous terminology and ill-defined concepts. This research, therefore, aimed to determine why some communities adapt to change better than others through clarification of the influence of the arts on social well-being for Australian rural communities. A mixed-method approach, with both qualitative and quantitative data, was used to achieve this within the case-study region, the rural Mid West of Western Australia. The methodological approach enabled a deeper understanding of the context in which engagement with the arts occurs, along with a statistical analysis to show how the variables under scrutiny, that some commentators deemed as unmeasurable, could be quantified using established well-being and social capital indicators.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2011

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