Session: Creating Visual Narratives of Justice and Resistance: A Participatory Workshop on Applied Arts Methodologies (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

172 Creating Visual Narratives of Justice and Resistance: A Participatory Workshop on Applied Arts Methodologies

Friday, January 14, 2022: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Capitol, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Erin Harrop, PhD, LICSW, University of Denver, Greer Hamilton, MSW, Boston University, Jason Sawyer, PhD, Old Dominion University and Paula Gerstenblatt, PhD, University of Southern Maine
Arts-based research methods (ABMs) encompass multiple methodologies, ranging from photovoice, narrative arts, poetry, dance, applied theatre, digital storytelling, collage, and puppetry. Such creative opportunities often involve co-development of data generation alongside research participants to foster community building and sustainable community-researcher partnerships (Wang & Burris, 1997). ABMs also offer unique opportunities for research dissemination, inviting research participants and researchers to creatively disseminate findings in relatable, innovative, and transformative ways that ignite all senses. ABMs regularly center the embodied, lived experiences of marginalized communities, which can be difficult to "put words to" (Beltran & Begun, 2014; Gerstenblatt, Rhodes, & Holst, 2018). These methods have the ability to liberate one from sometimes stifling etiquette and give access to meanings and feelings necessary to gain deeper understanding beyond written transcripts. ABM can be a powerful tool to communicate those meanings and reject harmful narratives and the institutions of power that promote them (Sawyer, & Earle, 2019). While ABM are gaining traction and recognition, there is a need to provide instruction on the use of these methodologies, which vary between type of artistic method, purpose of the research, and the specific context of projects. (e.g., Gerstenblatt, 2013, Knowles & Cole, 2008, Leavy, 2009, Wang et al., 2017). This experiential workshop introduces the role of ABMs in creating visual counternarratives and enhancing the voices of marginalized people. After a brief introduction, participants will choose one of four facilitated methodological groups covering a distinct ABM approach. Harrop's group will experience a brief visual arts-guided interview, Hamilton's group will begin to design a tabletop puppetry piece, Sawyer's group will engage in an applied theatre exercise, and Gerstenblatt's group will create collage portraits on a research topic of choice. Each small group will include an immersive experience where participants engage in the ABM process to understand the epistemological approaches, concrete steps involved, and intended participatory impact on participants. To conclude, we will reconvene as a large group to discuss participant experiences, epistemological assumptions, the process and utility of each ABM approach, and explore implications for community dissemination. The objectives of this participatory workshop are to (1) expand participants' understanding and possibility of ABM, (2) engage participants with an ABM to experience the transformational participatory process ABMs can have, (3) provide participants with concrete, step-by-step knowledge of one ABM approach and exposure to three other ABMs. This workshop is an invitation for participants to co-create sample ABM data, using processes that mirror how arts-based social work researchers engage with participants, as well as how arts-based practitioners work with clients and communities. ABMs support the creation of authentic and reciprocal research containing complex narratives that include the voices of those often overlooked in more traditional research methods. Centering counternarratives in social work research advances epistemic justice, which is imperative for the advancement of racial, political, and social justice and aligning social work with its roots and mission.
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