Accepted Paper:

Making one's self at home with the unknown. Recovery as a learning process  


Emilia Ferraro (University of St. Andrews)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores recovery as a process of learning, and the role of craft-making in it; the type and nature of "knowledge from recovery"; and the importance of "knowing from the inside" for the Art, Health, and Wellbeing scholarship and research

Paper long abstract:

This paper is based upon my experience of losing one leg in 2016. I suddenly had to deal with a permanent disability and a new identity. My body, my world, and I were radically and forever changed, thus becoming completely unfamiliar to me. I had no references to either navigate this new life or understand this new body. Recovery is for me an ongoing process of learning to make new references on the go; draw new maps to navigate a new world; become acquainted with a new body and a new self.

Here I tell my own story from my triple interrelated "identity" as someone who is undergoing a major life-changing experience of illness and disability; as an amateur craft-maker, and as an academic, i.e. someone who is "in the business of knowledge" and whom in the recent years before illness struck, was researching the relation between craft and well-being widely defined. The interrelationship of these three identities means that in my account, disability and illness are not so much topics of academic discussion about the role that craft-making can play in the recovery process, but rather they are the existential condition from where I tell my story. A story that is less about my specific disability and recovery process, and more a story told through a "wounded body.

Panel P020
Making, Materials and Recovery: Perspectives "from the inside"