Bank of Ideas: Towards an Economy of Caring

By Genevieve Gagnon

This thesis presents the Bank of Ideas, a socially engaged art project that explored concepts of self-care and community well-being through a series of fourteen workshops. Hosted in diverse settings in Nelson, British Columbia, the workshops invited community members to share ideas through art and writing, and resulted in a collection of two hundred idea cards.

This thesis strives to illustrate the project’s thematic trends, and to better understand its function and impact both at the individual level and within the community. A literature review of relevant frameworks is provided, encompassing theories of social constructionism, postmodernism, narrative therapy, community and collaborative art, social action art therapy, and sociology. Data was collected through an arts-based methodology that strived to adhere to critical research approaches, and utilized phenomenological inquiry in the distillation of themes.

The research findings are discussed in terms of their community impact and ramifications on the ethics of cultural production, followed by a discussion of social action art therapy’s potential in bridging individuals and communities, the present and future, and the fields of art and art therapy.