"You Kind of Have to Listen to Me": Researching Discrimination Through Poetry

Helen Johnson, Emily Carson-Apstein, Simon Banderob, Xander Macaulay-Rettino


Arts-based research approaches, such as poetic inquiry and autoethnography, are attracting interest for their ability to engage wide-ranging audiences with creative, emotive, and thought-provoking outputs. In this article, we discuss a new method, which draws on these approaches, combining them with collaborative research principles and practices. The "collaborative poetics" method was developed in a pilot study, where one social scientist/poet and seven young spoken word artists worked together to explore their lived experiences of discrimination and privilege. We focus here on one aspect of this research; namely, the analysis of responses to two key questions: "Where do you see discrimination in your daily life?" and "How do you benefit from discrimination?" These questions were posed initially during semi-structured interviews with five of the co-researchers, and subsequently as mini questionnaires which evoked short, written statements from 39 participants. The interview data were analyzed using collaborative poetics and the wider dataset with a "pure" thematic analysis. These different approaches are compared here, and we argue that this comparison reveals the transformative potential of collaborative poetics for both co-researchers and the intended audiences of research.


discrimination; privilege; participatory research; arts-based research; collaborative poetics; poetic inquiry; microaggression

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-18.3.2864

Copyright (c) 2017 Helen Johnson, Emily Carson-Apstein, Simon Banderob, Xander Macaulay-Rettino

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