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ABR Global Classroom
Arts-based research (ABR) is an approach that has become more recognized in recent years. Particularly used in health, education, and social sciences, arts-based research focuses on a “systematic use of the artistic process…as a primary way of understanding and examining experience…” (McNiff, 2008, p.29) otherwise inaccessible through more traditional forms of knowledge and methods of investigation. ABR can offer a strategy for the study of complex human relational and social phenomena that cannot be understood or investigated using typical linear and causal research paradigms and methods. Such phenomena pervade and affect practice in the social and health sciences in our everyday interactions with patients, clients, students and colleagues thus warranting study. Despite the increasing visibility of arts-based research generated from multiple disciplines in the health and social sciences the efficacy of ABR is often questioned within a dominant post-positivist culture.
To address these challenges, we have created a course for doctoral students and interested faculty to explore the nature, positioning and impact of ABR in our global community. We have engaged with multiple international universities to create our global classroom using videoconferencing technology. In the course we explore: (a) the various definitions of arts-based research in the US and Europe; (b) the philosophical, theoretical, and methodological approaches to ABR across multiple disciplines in the social sciences, education and healthcare; (c) the social and cultural influences impacting the advancement of ABR; (d) a global research agenda specific to ABR; (e) ethical issues and methods of evaluation for ABR; and, (f) the strategies for addressing the advancement of ABR on a global scale. In order to accomplish these goals, we engage faculty and students to study the current status, trends, approaches, and social and cultural positioning for arts-based research using a mix of theory, arts-based learning, and interactive team research.