Mapping the health promotion benefits of Art Centres on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands: An Ethnographic Account

Author: Maree Meredith

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 17 Dec 2021.

Meredith, Maree, 2018 Mapping the health promotion benefits of Art Centres on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands: An Ethnographic Account, Flinders University, College of Nursing and Health Sciences

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the health promotion benefits of Art Centres of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, South Australia. There is a growing body of evidence that establishes the social, economic and cultural importance of remote Art Centres in Indigenous communities of Australia, with an increasing emphasis on economic sustainability, including but not limited to employment and income generation. However, few studies have focused on the health benefits of Art Centres from an Indigenous perspective. In the remote context, the Indigenous health narrative is presented through a social determinants framework that suggests that poor health is shaped by a set of social, economic and political conditions across the life course. To date, this has maintained the status quo of ‘Indigenous disadvantage’ and continues to reflect a ‘deficit’ discourse that often overlooks ‘strength-based approaches’ of Indigenous-led health promotion.

This research challenges the western discourses of health promotion and advocates for a new approach, highlighting the importance of community control principles and Indigenous governance in health promotion. In considering Anangu health promotion, the research firstly shifts the lens towards a non-medical setting by suggesting that the APY Art Centre is an emerging site of health promotion. Secondly, this argument is supported by a theoretical framework emphasising the principles of community control and culture as two key components of Anangu health promotion. Furthermore, the research defines an Anangu health perspective, whereby ‘art as practice’ co-creates Anangu collective wellbeing through painting country, culture and kin. These three pillars of cultural health extend an Indigenous health promotion agenda beyond the social determinants of health framework to one that combines community control, the cultural determinants of health and the Anangu concepts of pulkulpa and kanyini. Methodologically, the research process is health-promoting. It positions Anangu knowledge and culture front and centre, alongside and within the borderlands of an Indigenous mixed methodology. Mapping the Health Promotion Benefits of Art Centres seeks to extend Indigenous scholarship by promoting Anangu health promotion through the lens of art as practice.

Keywords: Indigenous, Health Promotion, APY Lands, Ethnography

Subject: Health Sciences thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2018
School: College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Supervisor: Eileen Willis