Creative and Arts-Based Research Methods in Academic Research. Lessons from a Participatory Research Project in the Netherlands

  • Gwenda van der Vaart
  • Bettina van Hoven University of Groningen
  • Paulus P.P. Huigen University of Groningen
Keywords: creative research methods, arts-based research methods, participatory research, multifaceted knowledge, community resilience

Abstract

This article contributes to the discussion on the value of creative and arts-based research methods to researchers interested in community resilience. Based on a participatory research project that used a mix of these methods conducted in a Dutch village, we provide more nuanced, concrete insights into their value. We elaborate on the three project stages: walking interviews, group discussions, and a creative workshop that resulted in an exhibition, and on the challenges encountered during our project. We discuss how each project stage contributed to producing multifaceted knowledge. Researchers can benefit from the discussions about the process and implications of creative and arts-based methods such as ours as, to date, there has been relatively little methodological reflection on these methods. Based on our study, we conclude that despite some challenges, creative and arts-based research methods have much to offer researchers interested in community resilience. We found they can: 1. generate deep insight by going beyond rational-cognitive ways of knowing and providing new ways of understanding people's real lived experiences and views; and 2. offer ways to "give back" and contribute to a community, potentially igniting a spark among community members to engage in further action and contribute to their community's resilience. This aligns with the, currently often articulated, aims of researchers to directly benefit those involved and to share their research findings with a broader non-academic audience.

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Author Biographies

Gwenda van der Vaart

Gwenda VAN DER VAART recently completed her PhD research at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen.

Bettina van Hoven, University of Groningen

Bettina VAN HOVEN is an associate professor of cultural geography at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen.

Paulus P.P. Huigen, University of Groningen

Paulus P.P. HUIGEN is an emeritus professor of cultural geography at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen.

Published
2018-05-13
Section
Single Contributions