Anchoring Belonging Through Material Practices in Participatory Arts-Based Research

Kaisa Elisabet Hiltunen, Nina Elina Sääskilahti, Antti Samuli Vallius, Sari Hannele Elisabet Pöyhönen, Saara Johanna Jäntti, Tuija Anna Marjatta Saresma

Abstract


How do people understand belonging and what kinds of stances toward belonging do they take? What kind of knowledge or ways of knowing (EISNER, 2008) does artistic practice yield about belonging? We ask these questions in this article, which is based on the research project Crossing Borders, in which we used participatory arts-based methods to study belonging. We invited participants to explore the notion of belonging in three parallel workshops drawing on different art forms, film, writing and visual arts. The goal of the workshops was for each participant to produce an artwork that deals with belonging.

In the article, we identify four stances that the participants expressed toward the concept of belonging and explore the ways in which their ideas were manifested in the artworks. We analyze the workshop discussions, the participants' interviews and the artworks, and demonstrate on both the conceptual and material level that artistic practice can provide extremely nuanced and situated knowledge, or ways of knowing, about belonging. We argue that the artworks anchor the ever-shifting stances into material forms and expressions. Artistic practice is thus one way of defining and contextualizing the fluid concept of belonging.


Keywords


belonging; arts-based research; artistic practice; participatory research; collaboration; stance

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-21.2.3403

Copyright (c) 2020 Kaisa Elisabet Hiltunen, Nina Elina Sääskilahti, Antti Samuli Vallius, Sari Hannele Elisabet Pöyhönen, Saara Johanna Jäntti, Tuija Anna Marjatta Saresma

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