SIG in Arts-Based Research

Arts-Based Research (ABR) Special Interest Group (SIG)

Wednesday May 15-Saturday May 18, 2024

Qualitative Inquiry in the Present Tense: Writing a New History

As part of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI), Arts-Based Research (ABR) events will take place as a Special Interest Group (SIG) throughout the conference.

The ABR SIG events include and welcome you to: (a) attend the entire Wednesday ABR SIG Pre-Conference Symposium, (b) register for Thursday Workshops that relate to Arts-Based Research, and/or (c) attend ICQI Friday/Saturday plenary, panel, and individual paper sessions sponsored by the SIG.

Introduction and Background

Arts-based research is based upon the premise of utilizing various forms of artistic practice as a primary means of investigating and understanding human experience, extending to more materially sensitive, discursive, and intuitive ways of knowing. Grounded in a worldview of pluralistic ontologies and dialectic aesthetic epistemologies, ABR seeks to disrupt usual binaries such as thought and sense, mind and matter, the human and the nonhuman, and space and time resulting in more rhizomatic,  intersubjective, and social constructions. It is in this spirit that we tackle the theme of the conference: Qualitative Inquiry in the Present Tense: Writing a New History.

Through provocation and contested interactions that result in startling crystallizations, permutations, and mutations, ABR invites exploration of multi-dimensional human sensory, emotional, and embodied phenomena otherwise inexpressible and out of reach through formal, academic, and explanatory analysis. ABR also transcends disciplinary boundaries and is intended to therefore have applications across multiple domains and impact global socio-cultural and socio-political arenas. While the potential contributions of ABR are vast, the pragmatic issues of methodology, translation, evaluation, credibility, ethics, and, in some cases, dissemination, require ongoing productive and creative discourse. 

To cultivate this trans-disciplinary discourse during the 2024 ICQI conference, the ABR SIG envisions a series of engagements: 

  • Pre-Conference Symposium: On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, we will once again convene a full day symposium led by experts engaging participants in interactive forms of inquiry, expression, and performance that embody current issues in ABR. All who have registered for the ICQI conference are welcome!
  • Workshops: On Thursday, May 16, 2024, there will be a series of workshops with scholars whose practice relates to or influences ABR. You will need to register for the workshops.
  • Conference Panels and Individual Paper Presentations: On Friday May 17 and Saturday, May 18, 2024, more traditional presentation sessions about diverse topics in ABR will be presented as part of the general program. Formats for sessions will include roundtables, conversation/performative pieces, plenary, panel and individual paper presentations that address topics central to the development and articulation of arts-based research philosophies, theories, and methods. 

Provocations that will guide the ABR SIG program include:

  • Re-visiting definitions of Arts-Based Research. How would you characterize arts-based research? What is arts-based research and what is it not? How might ABR illuminate issues around local and (inter)nation global crises?
  • Constructing and characterizing worldviews implicit in arts-based research. How do we conceptualize and articulate the onto-epistemology of ABR? How do these perspectives guide the identification of ABR problems, questions, and strategies? How do socio-political contexts contribute to how we construct these worldviews, form our questions, and formulate our investigative and disseminative strategies to illuminate socio-political resistance and change? How might ABR explore shifting worldviews?
  • The problem and the question. What are the unaddressed research problems and social issues that might require arts-based research approaches? How might ABR address socio-political and cultural issues differently than other research traditions?
  • Methodological dilemma. How do we maintain the onto-epistemological integrity of the arts-based worldviews while developing systematic arts-based approaches to inquiry?
  • How do new ABR methodologies facilitate addressing new research questions?
  • What arts-based investigative practices have you applied to your own research?
  • What skills are required to conduct arts-based research? 
  • What are some unnamed methodologies for conducting social research that can be extrapolated from your explorations as an arts-based researcher?
  • How have local and (inter)national crises necessitated new arts-based approaches and technologies?
  • Advancement of knowledge. What implications might arts-based research have for yours and related fields in advancing knowledge? How can the insights from and dissemination methods of arts-based advance knowledge and accessibiliy around local and (inter)national crises? How might arts-based research practices from other fields influence your work?
  • Social justice, dissemination, and global impact. What are examples of critical-activist arts-based research outcomes serving as models of social justice and public engagement—whether rethinking global and intellectual contexts, critiquing contemporary events, problematizing norms, or contesting ideologies? What are some ways in which ABR could provide insight into global impacts and additional international crises?
  • Evaluation and credibility. What are current methods for evaluating the authenticity, credibility, and aesthetic power of arts based research projects?
  • Ethical issues and responsibilities. As an arts-based researcher what are some of the challenges for authenticity and credibility that we face? What is our moral and ethical responsibility? What is our responsibility to our participants and audiences?


Nancy Gerber, Ph.D., ATR-BC. [email protected]

Amber Ward, Ph.D.       [email protected]