Monthly Mentor

Sarah Krajewski (June)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Krajewski is a K-5 Art educator in Cambridge, WI, and was awarded the 2019 Wisconsin Art Educator of the Year Award. Join in her art room mantra: “I am positive. I am creative. I am mindful. I am amazing. I am an artist.” Click "GO" to read her full bio.



Join the largest creative community established exclusively for visual arts educators, college professors, researchers, administrators, and museum educators.

Join NAEA Renew Membership

« Arts-Based Research as Pedagogy | Main | My Space »

November 26, 2018

6 Simple Ways to get Started Doing Arts-Based Research

By Patricia Leavy, PhD

If you’re interested in exploring arts-based research (ABR) in your own practice, perhaps inspired by this month’s blog posts or perhaps long interested in merging your creative and scholarly work, the question is: How do I begin? Here are my top suggestions:

Read about ABR. (My book Method Meets Art provides an introduction and overview, but there are other books available)

Consume art in your medium. So, if you’re interested in ethnodrama (playwriting), read many plays, including some on the subject area your research explores, and, if you’re able, go to theatre. Or if you’re interested in collage-making, look at examples in books, and, if you’re able, visit museums, art galleries, or stores.

Consume arts-based research in your medium. So, if you’re interested in writing fiction, read examples of research transformed into fiction (short stories, novellas, and novels). Search online journals and the Social Fictions book series for examples. If you’re not sure how to find examples in your genre, read journal articles and books about ABR. Note the scholars mentioned in the text as well as the reference list.

Take note of what you enjoy. If you’re interested in creating a short film based on your research, and you’ve just watched several short films, here are questions to consider: What stylistic choices did you respond to? What did you like about the writing? What did you notice about the cinematography? Ultimately you will want to develop your own unique style, but learning what you’re drawn to will help.

Read about the craft of art-making in your genre. So, if you’re interested in writing poetry, read books about poetry. If you’re interested in a visual art medium, look at online tutorials.

Start experimenting. Take your research (e.g., interviews, ethnographic observations, literature review) and start dabbling with art-making. Start small. So if you’re interested in writing a novel based on your interview research, begin with an in-depth character profile, perhaps based on a composite of your interviewees. Or, create a writing prompt by taking a key sentence from your data and use it as an opening sentence for free writing. Or if you’re interested in representing your research through visual art, start with sketching out some ideas. This is just about learning, finding your voice, and developing a feeling for integrating your scholarly and arts practices.

- PL

Author’s Note: For a comprehensive introduction to ABR please see my book Method Meets Art Second Edition and for a comprehensive review of the field please see the Handbook of Arts-Based Research. Visit Guilford Press for discount details.


Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.