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Keywords:

  • art;
  • creativity;
  • discourse analysis;
  • mental health;
  • narrative

A narrative-discourse analysis was conducted to study the narratives of mental health service users talking about their engagement with art. The sample was drawn from a group of people who had attended arts workshops organized by a mental health service provider. Eleven people were interviewed and were asked to tell the story of their involvement in art and its significance to their lives. The data were analysed using a discourse analysis approach. Art is constructed as therapeutic within an illness repertoire. Emotions are inseparable from creative expression and identity claims are made in relation to being an artist.