Session: Arts-Informed Community-Based Research: Collaborating with Vulnerable Populations (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

174 Arts-Informed Community-Based Research: Collaborating with Vulnerable Populations

Friday, January 13, 2023: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Maryvale A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Symposium Organizer:
Jill Hoselton, BSW, University of Calgary
Christine Walsh, PhD, University of Calgary
Background and Purpose: Arts-informed community-based research is an innovative approach to conceiving and conducting research. It adopts inclusive and empowering techniques to engage participants and researchers in inquiry. This approach to research is particularly effective when working alongside vulnerable populations, whose voices are often rendered invisible in traditional research practices. In centering the voices of vulnerable populations, arts-informed research aims to create social and political change. In this symposium interdisciplinary scholars from architecture and social work offer three strategies for implementing arts-informed community-based research to illuminate important and radical solutions addressing housing and support needs of youth, sex workers, and older adults.

Methods: This session presents arts-informed community-based research practices to elicit the voices of vulnerable populations, including, youth, and sex workers and older adults to inform our understanding each demographic's unique needs and how solutions can be co-created to provide opportunity to reach their full potential. The first presentation uses participatory video to elicit narratives of resilience as an outcome of intergenerational programming on the relational experiences of older adults and youth. The second presentation demonstrates how sensory arts-based design ethnography is used to explicate the embodied and multidimensional experiences of sex workers in their everyday work places. The final paper elucidates the use of photovoice research with housing insecure older adults who have fled abuse.

Results: This presentation highlights the efficacy of arts-informed community-based research practices to produce creative solutions to complex issues faced by vulnerable populations in Canada, in particular youth, sex workers and older adults. Participatory video reveals the reciprocal transformation, solidarity across generations, and changed perspectives of other generations experienced by older adults and youth who have participated in intergenerational programming. Key design elements for supportive sex work environments are elucidated and lastly, photovoice illustrates the socio-spatial aspects of aging in the right place for housing-insecure older adults who have experienced abuse.

Conclusion and Implications: Arts-informed community-based research uplifts the voices of vulnerable populations through a variety of novel technologies that reveal new knowledge about their lived experiences that are not easily accessed by traditional research approaches. By engaging with arts-informed community-based research practices, future policy, education, research, and practice can more closely reflect the needs of these demographics and contribute to a more socially just society.

* noted as presenting author
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