SIG in Arts-Based Research

Wednesday, May 16 – Saturday, May 19, 2018

All are invited to: (a) attend the entire Wednesday ABR SIG preconference symposium, (b) attend Thursday workshops that relate to Arts-Based Research, and (c) submit papers to and/or attend ICQI Friday/Saturday panel sessions sponsored by the SIG.

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.

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.  Based in a worldview of pluralistic ontologies and dialectic epistemologies, ABR seeks to disrupt usual binaries such as thought and sense, mind and matter, the human and the inhuman, space and time. 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 our reach through formal, academic, explanatory analysis. It transcends disciplinary boundaries and is intended to therefore have applications across multiple domains.

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.  Consequently, we believe that practitioners would benefit from a trans-disciplinary forum that fosters conversations about the promise and challenges of ABR.

To cultivate this conversation during the 2018 ICQI conference, the ABR SIG envisions a series of activities:

  • On Wednesday, May, 16, 2018 we will convene a full day symposium led by experts and engaging participants in addressing current issues in ABR using interactive forms of inquiry, expression, and performance.
  • On Thursday, May 17, there will be a series of workshops with scholars whose practice relates to or influences ABR.
  • On Friday May 18 and Saturday, May 19, more traditional panel and paper presentation sessions about similar topics in ABR will be presented as part of the general program. Formats for sessions will include roundtables, conversation/performative pieces, and panel presentations that address troubling topics or provocations central to the development and articulation of arts based 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?
  • Constructing and characterizing worldviews implicit in arts-based research—how do these perspectives guide the identification of ABR problems, questions, and strategies?
  • The problem and the question–what are the unaddressed research problems that might require arts-based research approaches based upon the underlying philosophical assumptions?
  • Methodological dilemmas— how do we maintain the epistemological integrity of the arts-based worldviews while developing systematic inquiry?
  • How do new ABR methodologies facilitate the addressing of new research questions?
  • What arts-based investigative practices have you applied to your own research?
  • What is the level of arts-based skill 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?
  • Advancement of knowledge—what implications might arts-based research have for yours and related fields in advancing knowledge? 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?
  • 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?

We welcome additional topics that interested participants may want to suggest.

ABR SIG ICQI Conference Program

Wednesday 9:00-4:00 

Preconference Symposium: Conversations and Constructions in Troubled Times
A full day interactive symposium led by ABR experts while engaging participants in addressing current issues in ABR inquiry, expression, and performance. Although there is no fee to take part in the symposium, all participants must register for the ICQI conference.

Tentative Agenda

9:00-9:15     Welcome

9:15-10:15    Points of Provocation

Senior scholars in ABR will each introduce a methodological point of debate within ABR. Each presentation will not exceed 7 minutes. Presentations may be delivered linguistically or performed.  Following all presentations, there will be brief discussion on how we will work together to build on these themes throughout the day.


10:30-12:15 Provocation Workshops
The workshop portion will include small group breakout groups each with an assigned provocation and senior scholar facilitator. Each group will discuss philosophical, theoretical, and practical aspects of ABR related to both their topic and related issues. These conversations need to account for the multi-disciplinary nature of ABR and how different disciplines may create tensions as to how ABR might or might not be conceptualized and defined. During the discussion, the groups are encouraged to develop strategies for their conversation, which may include the creation of spontaneous, emergent, and/or intentional textual or collaborative arts-based responses relative to their topic. As the conversation emerges, these ABR discussions will debate what might constitute a coherent response to the provocation.  Each group will synthesize the arts-based, textual and theoretical conclusions from their discussion for a presentation/performance to the entire group in the afternoon session. The afternoon presentational formats can also explore distinctly ABR modes of opportunities for audience engagement and feedback.

12:15-1:14 Lunch

1:30-3:15 Afternoon Presentations

Groups will present the results of their morning provocation driven discussions and arts-based inquiries.



Entire group reconvenes to review and summarize the learning from the day. A final discussion will summarize the day’s activities and will identify emergent responses, questions, and phenomena central to continued investigation in ABR.

Thursday Workshops, May 17
The Thursday Workshop highlights the work of multiple presenters whose work is based-on or influential to Arts-Based Research.  Sign up and pay for Workshops as part conference registration. These Workshops include:

  • Richard Siegesmund: Dewey’s Principles of Arts-Based Inquiry
  • Johnny Saldaña: Coding Qualitative Data: Beyond Indexing and Toward Insight
  • Jerry Rosiek and Jimmy Snyder: Indigenous Philosophy and Posthumanism: Connections and Productive Methodological Divergences
  • Pirkko Markula: Foucault and Deleuze’s Methodologies for Qualitative Research on the Material Moving Body
  • Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor: Finding Your Voice & Writing the “Not Me”: Rigorous Wonder in Creative Qualitative Inquiry
  • Liora Bresler: Lessons from the arts to qualitative research: Working with resonance, dialogic relationships, and the interplay of knowing and unknowing
  • Tami Spry: From Body to Paper to Stage: A Methodology for Writing and Performing Autoethnography
  • Ron Pelias: Performative Writing Workshop
  • Patrick Lewis, Karen Wallace and Joseph Naytowhow: Pimosayta (let’s walk together): What does it mean to be an ally? Indigenous research and everyday activism with story.

Friday May 18 and Saturday 19

ICQI Conference Sessions
The ABR SIG will sponsor two kinds of sessions during the main conference. ICQI conference registration is required to present and attend main conference sessions.

Individual Panel Session Presentations
Accepted individual papers will be placed in panel sessions. The program committee will form Sessions. Sessions normally consist of 4 papers. To submit a proposal for a paper presentation, please provide a title and abstract (150 words max).

To submit a proposal for an entire session, provide a title and abstract (150 words max). In addition, a 350 word abstract for each individual paper will be required. A panel should consist of four papers, plus a chair, and a discussant.

Conversation Roundtables
Roundtables are intended to promote conversations between/with presenters and attendees. Each roundtable, formed by the program committee, will address a theme. Roundtables will generally consist of three presenters and a discussant. Following individual paper presentations, the discussant will respond to the papers then lead an interactive dialogue between the presenters and the audience.

We encourage unconventional forms of communication and audience involvement in which presenters show rather than read their observation or results, leading the audience to think with their presenters.

Abstract submission procedures
Please submit your abstracts for the Arts-Based Research Special Interest Group (SIG) events through the conference website: Abstracts for individual papers need to be of 150 words or fewer. When applying, identify that your submission is to be reviewed as Arts-Based Research.

Abstract submission deadline: 1 December 2017
Please be aware that this conference only provides projectors. There is no special support for other technological needs. Please feel free to contact the conference organizers for clarification or assistance related to your submission or attendance at the ABR SIG events. We look forward to seeing you in May 2018!

Conference/SIG organizers:
Nancy Gerber, Ph.D., ATR-BC,
Richard Siegesmund, Ph.D.