The Citizens' Exhibition: A Combination of Socio-scientific, Participative and Artistic Elements

Birgit Böhm, Heiner Legewie, Hans-Liudger Dienel


Through its incorporation of socio-scientific, participative and artistic elements, the "Citizens' Exhibition" is an example of how applied performative social science can be implemented. The method was created by teaching qualitative methods and community psychology approaches in courses for students of psychology in the 1990's. The Citizens' Exhibition combines qualitative methods, such as interview and text interpretation, with artistic-aesthetic methods, such as photography and film, to form an integrated concept. In the tradition of action research, the practice is applied in the exploration of societal issues. The Citizens' Exhibition supports dialogue and furthering communication processes between the stakeholders through the presentation of diverse perspectives. In this regard, the staging of the exhibition opening has a particular importance. The following article about the Citizens' Exhibition presents the practice's origin and history in the first section and, in the second section, offers an introduction to the individual methodological steps. In the third section, various Citizens' Exhibitions are described as illustrations of the method. The last section discusses the vision of the Citizens' Exhibition, its performative component, strengths and limitations, considers the results of an existing evaluation study and looks at the future uses of the practice. Particular regard should be paid here to a combination of methods that enable a long-term participation effect, the expansion of participatory possibilities for the research subjects, and experimentation with additional artistic methods.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0802337


Citizens' Exhibition; participation; photography; action research; city and regional research; community psychology


Copyright (c) 2008 Birgit Böhm, Heiner Legewie, Hans-Liudger Dienel

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