Art-based research in a nutshell

Art-based research in a nutshell

Although I am employing bricolage (i.e., a combination of methodologies for a customized application; Kincheloe, 2001), there is one main methodology that I draw most heavily from: Arts-informed Research (AIR). Based upon another post I wrote located at rebeccazak.com, this post will discuss AIR succinctly, for easy reference.

I have synthesized the following key tenets of AIR from Knowles, Promislow, and Cole (2008):
.    1. the work must validate multiple truths over conclusive facts;
.    2. the work must be accessible, meaning that it is both understandable and within reach for …….
.        the average person;
.    3. the work should seek to produce a transformative outcome; and
.    4. the researcher’s presence can/will be recognized throughout the process and in the final product.
Emphasizing Multiple Truths Through Exploration and Interpretation
.    Art-based research is by nature less rigid in structure, often nonsequential, and offers multiple points of entry (Loi, 2008; McDermott, 2008) that can “empower [viewers] rather than alienate them with one-way choices” (Loi, 2008, p. 90). A standard codex style (i.e., sequential, linear book) dissertation would be ill suited and inappropriate to my topic of creativity and to my background as a “scholartist” (Knowles et al, 2008) because it stifles the audience’s ability to approach it uniquely and it limits interpretive exploration. With respect to pluralism, I require a format that can be visually rich, flexible, dynamic, and nonlinear so that viewers can engage easily with the material and decide for themselves how they will navigate it. At the same time, my format must be conducive to the openness of illumination as an outcome as opposed to the narrowness of conclusive findings. I’ve chosen a five-part multimodal video series and blog website as the best way to meet these needs. This way, the research will unfold uniquely for every viewer as he or she so chooses.
Ensuring Accessibility, and Working Towards Transformation
.    Twenty-first century information technologies are offering researchers new advantages and affordances in their scholarship. Online participatory websites provide an ideal platform for art-based research in particular because they support dynamic visual and multimodal applications, which have become part of everyday life for many people and are shifting the way people think and come to know (Robertson, 2010). The reality of technological evolution and its effects on society is something that academia cannot ignore: New epistemology going forward will incorporate technological innovation. Furthermore, Sameshima and Knowles (2008) assert, “[as part of arts-informed inquiry,] there must be a commitment to making the work accessible to the audiences beyond academe” (p. 116). In uploading my videos and posting my blogs to the internet, I am making it possible for all members of the public here and around the world—indeed, everyone with access to the internet—to view, read, and digest my work. Ultimately, I hope that by planning and allowing for an extended viewership beyond the limited scope of my committee members (in both my portfolio and my doctoral research), my work will somehow (in ways I will undoubtedly not be aware of or be able to measure) serve others, as greater visibility helps to have a greater transformative outcome (Wells, 2008).
Recognizing Researcher Presence
.    Conducting research through artistic means points to inherent subjectivity in the work. No artist can ever create something without infusing his or her biases, beliefs, values, et cetera into his or her piece. Therefore, to acknowledge the presence of the researcher in AIER is to admit openly that the research came from a particular person and is therefore tainted characteristically in the likeness of that person. In AIER, this is not a deficiency but rather an advantage because it helps contextualize the points made. In Raising Creativity, I chose to narrate and appear in the videos because what brought me to this position of researching creativity in education was my own unique lived experience. Raising Creativity is my story, but I hope to write and edit it in such as way that the audience can relate to it as well.
.    In essence, AIER is completely untraditional, a “methodless method” (McDermott, 2008). It is a total reconceptualization of how knowledge is arrived at and therefore what research can be. It needed to exist before I would ever have identified as a scholar.

 

References

Irwin, R., & de Cosson, A. (2004). A/R/Tography: Rendering self through arts based
.
.     
living inquiry. 
Vancouver, Canada: Pacific Education Press.
.
Kincheloe, J. L. (2001). Describing the bricolage: Conceptualizing a new rigor in
    .
.      qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 7(6), 679–692.
.
.      doi: 10.1177/107780040100700601
.
Knowles, J. G., Promislow, S., & Cole, A. L. (2008). Creating scholartistry: Imagining
.
.
      the arts-informed thesis or dissertation. 
Halifax, Canada: Backalong Books.

Loi, D. (2008). A thought per day: Travelling inside a suitcase. In J. G. Knowles,
.  .
.      S. Promislow, & A. L. Cole (Eds.), Creating scholartistry: Imagining the
.
.      arts-informed thesis or dissertation
 (pp. 84–106)Halifax, Canada: Backalong Books.
.
McDermott, M. (2008). Created worlds and crumbled universes. In J. G. Knowles,
.  .
.      S. Promislow, & A. L. Cole (Eds.), Creating scholartistry: Imagining the
.
     arts-informed thesis or dissertation
 (pp. 135–150)Halifax, Canada: Backalong Books.
.
Robertson, M. (2010). YouTube continues search engine domination – up 31% YOY.
.
     ReelSEO. Retrieved November 12, 2011, from
.
     http://www.reelseo.com/youtube-search-engine-domination/
.
..Sameshima, P., & Knowles, J. G. (2008). Into artfulness: Being grounded but not
.
.     
bounded. In J. G. Knowles, S. Promislow, & A. L. Cole (Eds.), Creating scholartistry:
.
.      Imagining the arts-informed thesis or dissertation
 (pp. 107–120)Halifax,
.  .
.      Canada: Backalong Books.
.
Wells, K. (2008). Researching queer: Showing, telling, and theorizing. In J. G. Knowles,
.
    S. Promislow, & A. L. Cole (Eds.), Creating scholartistry: Imagining the arts-
.
     informed thesis or dissertation
 (pp. 121–134)Halifax, Canada: Backalong Books.

Posted by Rebecca Zak

Categorised under creative work, methodology
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