Adapting Fair Trade and Artisan Cooperative Strategies to Social Action Art Therapy

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Ayotte, Melissa
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
This paper explores the potential of adapting concepts applied in Fair Trade and artisan cooperatives in the developing world for social action art therapy. Impoverished regions of the United States, such as Appalachia, experience extreme poverty, but also encounter several barriers to accessing individual therapy. Additionally, poverty impacts women uniquely and research shows high need and low resources are a consistent pattern for women in these underdeveloped areas. The researcher highlights similarities between Appalachia and Bolivia, a region in the developing world where artisan cooperatives have been successful, as well as the economic growth of the Fair Trade and handmade markets to make a case for the application of similar methods to address similar issues. Furthermore, the researcher discusses the therapeutic benefits of artisan cooperative participation demonstrating these strategies are appropriate for adaptation into a therapeutic modality such as social action art therapy.