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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Successfully submitted in part fufilment of the requirements for the award of Masters in Third Level Learning and Teaching to the Technologicl University Dublin, July, 2009.


This thesis will outline how I employed an arts informed participatory research process with four women members of the Southend family resource centre in Wexford town. The primary context for this research was the introduction of a module in community based learning on the BA (hons) in Art at the Wexford Campus of I.T. Carlow combined with a desire to participate more actively in the community sector outside the campus. The choice of an arts based methodology was to capture knowledge in a multifaceted way, to give depth to the many meanings of individual experiences and finally to suggest a living form of enquiry. In chapter 2, I survey what I see as the primary theoretical foundations of literature on arts based research and build a conceptual bridge between critical pedagogy, dialogical aesthetics and post-structuralist hermeneutics. Chapter 3 looks in detail at recent scholarship related to arts based research as a tool for educational research. A focus for this study has been to try and gather as much knowledge about visual arts based collaborative/participatory approaches in action research based educational practices and community development practices. In chapter 4 I show how I have considered, navigated, analysed and reported on the research artifacts and conversations with my co participants from the Southend Family Resource Centre. In this study, I found that making images with the team was a very good way of allowing all of us operate at the same level of the research process. Chapter 5 concludes the study with observations on arts based research and the presentation of an action plan for future collaboration and conversations. Overall I found this arts based research process was collaborative and creative as opposed to inquisitive, pressurised, and univocal. I believe the evidence presented recommends that this process can develop as an interpretative and qualitative approach for educational research beyond the confines of the campus.