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Art-based and creative methods for data collection

What is art-based data collection all about?

Art-based and creative methods are innovative approaches that are rooted in creative practices and storytelling (more on this in the next slides) that blend art and research to gether data in a unique and engaging way. These methods are particularly useful when traditional data collection techniques do not fully, accurately, or emotionally, capture the depth and complexity of some lived experiences and emotions. Art-based data collection is what we do with The Lyme Museum!

What are some examples of art-based methods?

Examples of art-based methods are: creative writing; digital storytelling; collaborative art projects and exhibitions; visual art and drawing; photovoice; object-based storytelling, zine making, collage and mixed media, etc. Creations and their processes can provide rich insights into perceptions and emotions in a non-verbal way, where participants can represent aspects of their lived experiences, their communities, and their feelings. It is an immersive and emotionally resonant data collection process.

Why use art-based methods?

Art-based methods allow us to explore the lived experience of a group and offer unique and insightful perspectives beyond traditional research approaches. Importantly, art-based sessions with communities provide a non-judgmental and supportive environment, with more time and space to explore lived experiences. Art-based methods are storytelling-based and ethical storytelling is at the heart of inclusive, emotional and accessible engagement, when done right.

Art-based methods and co-production in research design

Co-production is a collaborative approach where researchers and communities work together to design, plan and conduct research projects. Art-based methods of data collection can, and should, actively involve individuals or groups with lived experiences, ensuring their perspectives and needs are inegrated into the data collection process and that there is shared decision making. Co-production aligns with ethical priciples, working in partnership with those affected by the resarch.

Using art-based methods for research into sensitive topics

Using art-based research to explore the lived experiences of unrepresented and/or marginalised groups can offer unique and insightful perspectives beyond traditional research approaches, and it prevents re-traumatising participants, when done in a trauma-informed, inclusive and ethical way. Participants can reflect on their creations and share their thoughts, emotions, and provide context to deepen understanding. That's what we have done with our flat lay collection, which allows individuals to share their lived experience of illness and disability through object-based and photographic storytelling.

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