Using Arts-Informed Inquiry as a Research Approach

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Arts-informed inquiry blends the systematic and rigorous qualities of social science inquiry with the creative and imaginative qualities of the arts but with a greater capacity to reach audiences beyond the academy. Arts-informed researchers set out to honour the diverse forms of knowing that are part of everyday experience. Our goals are related to relevance, accessibility and engagement in research projects. The intention that arts-informed inquiry reach a wide audience is an explicit endeavor to make a difference not only in the lives of ordinary citizens but also in the thinking of policy makers, politicians, legislators and other key decision makers (Cole & Knowles, 2008). The purpose of arts-informed inquiry is for art (be it literary, visual or performance) to inform processes and representations of scholarly inquiry. As such, the relationship between the purpose of the research (related to knowledge advancement) and the developing competence of the chosen art form is crucial. In arts-informed inquiry we see ‘form to inform’ (Eisner, 1981) becoming the central defining element.


Keywords: Arts-Informed Inquiry, Research Approach, Art Form, Theory, Methodology
Stream: Arts Theory and Criticism
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Using Arts-Informed Inquiry as a Research Approach


Dr. Denise Stanley

Associate Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW, Australia

My research approach has been arts-informed inquiry. I have grounded my studies in the lived experiences of self-proclaimed artists, including myself, who have turned to careers in teaching at varying stages of our lives. The stories of our transitions and evolving identities as both artists and teachers have provided the investigative focus for my research. I am a bricoleur who integrates narrative text and visual imagery to transcend linguistic description within my postmodern, constructivist work. Moreover, my personal research aims to inform novice teachers of the transitions they may experience as they enter the teaching profession. Possible challenges, including the recognition that idealised beliefs might be traded in for more realistic representations, are acknowledged within my work, along with the notions of teaching as an art and the concept of resilience.

Ref: A09P0240