Spaces of social inclusion and belonging for people with intellectual disabilities


Dr Edward Hall, Geography, School of Social and Environmental Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee DD2 4HN, UK (e-mail:


People with intellectual disabilities (IDs) have been defined as ‘socially excluded’ and policies of ‘social inclusion’ invoked to counter this through a focus on paid work and independent living. For many people with IDs this is either not desired or not possible, and as a result many have sought out alternative spaces and activities of inclusion. The paper provides a critique of social exclusion and inclusion, and then goes onto examine (using two case studies) the ways in which people with IDs develop feelings of attachment and belonging within artistic spaces. The paper concludes that not only do these spaces provide mostly positive outcomes for individual people, but also have a potential role in ‘reinscribing’ the social and cultural understanding of people with IDs.