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This piece was part of a banner made by various artists working with Insider Art Ltd in the context of an Arts & Health exhibit at Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum. The banner itself is approximately 4' x 8'.

Who owns ‘Outsider Art’? New research at the crossroads of Law, Disability and the Arts

The use of art-making to improve mental health has a long-standing history. Within the art world, creations by artists with mental health conditions or disabilities have developed into a well-established art movement known as Outsider Art, for which the public appetite grows steadily each year. But who gets to decide whether an artwork is displayed to the public or kept within the confines of medical confidentiality?

What at first appears to be a simple question of legal ownership has, in fact, deep implications for the representation of disability and mental health in our culture.

Dr Mathilde Pavis and Ms Karen Huckvale have received £10,000 from the Exeter Wellcome Center to undertake research on the relationship between ethics, arts and health. The research will explore ethical guidelines in the use and exhibition of artworks made in the context of arts and health programmes. The project will collect new evidence to inform policy-making in by working with artist-clients, arts and health practitioners and lawyers.

The research team composed of Dr Mathilde Pavis (Exeter Law Researcher & Lecturer), Ms Karen Huckvale (Accredited Art Therapist) and Ms Tania Barton (Exeter Law researcher & PhD candidate) will pilot the design of ethical guidelines regarding the preservation, use and exhibition of artworks made by clients or patients in the context of arts and health programmes. They will collaborate closely with professionals and former participants in arts and health initiatives through workshops and interviews. 

Date: 6 November 2018