Making Sense of Collective Events: The Co-creation of a Research-based Dance

Katherine M. Boydell


A symbolic interaction (BLUMER, 1969; MEAD, 1934; PRUS, 1996; PRUS & GRILLS, 2003) approach was taken to study the collective event (PRUS, 1997) of creating a research-based dance on pathways to care in first episode psychosis. Viewing the co-creation of a research-based dance as collective activity attends to the processual aspects of an individual's experiences. It allowed us to study the process of the creation of the dance and its capacity to convert abstract research into concrete form and to produce generalizable abstract knowledge from the empirical research findings. Thus, through the techniques of movement, metaphor, voice-over, and music, the characterization of experience through dance was personal and generic, individual and collective, particular and trans-situational. The dance performance allowed us to address the visceral, emotional, and visual aspects of our research which are frequently invisible in traditional academia.


collective events; arts-based qualitative health research; generic social processes

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Copyright (c) 2011 Katherine M. Boydell

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