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PAR: creative approaches and cultural engagement Prof Katarzyna Kosmala (UWS), Liz Gardiner (Fablevision/UWS), Graham Jeffery (UWS)

Participatory action research engages working with various groups and stakeholders, including marginalised groups in research as co-producers of knowledge. It can combine various uses of arts and culture, for instance, it can combine walking methods and through participatory action to create a space for exploring, artist intervention to engage in a particular context, or curation that aims at telling untold stories, sharing and documenting processes of belonging, place-making, and identification. PAR approaches are also commonly applied in practice-led research projects in the arts, particularly those that engage with communities, places and institutions.

This session will introduce some principles and practices and provide the group with an introduction to the approach that we will take on Thursday's session in Govan, where we have deliberately chosen to be out 'in the field' in order to explore some of the issues through live methods and direct engagement with urban sites and spaces.

Discussion questions:

To what extent is there an overlap between practice based research, action research and participatory research in your own project/practice? How do you theorise and explain this?

What are the practical and ethical implications of taking an action-oriented stance in research project design? What pitfalls, problems and pressures should we be aware of from the outset?

How can we engage with people and places in ways that do not colonise or 'mine' knowledge, but through processes of meaningful dialogue and exchange? What implications might this have for our identities and experiences as researchers?

Presentation from Prof Katarzyna Kosmala (UWS), Liz Gardiner (Fablevision/UWS), Graham Jeffery (UWS):

View presentation as a slideshow by clicking on the first slide
Gdansk creative interventions

Suggested Readings:

Bradbury, H. and Reason, P. (eds) (2006) Handbook of Action Research (concise paperback edition), London: Sage

Giroux. H. (1992) Border Crossings: cultural workers and the politics of education, London; Routledge

Nelson, R. (2013) Practice-led research in the arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances, London: Palgrave

Speaker biographies:

Liz Gardiner

Liz Gardiner is PhD candidate at the School of Media, Culture and Society at the University of the West of Scotland, an artist, teacher and free-lance consultant, specialising in cultural planning. The subject of her PhD is an exploration of what’s next for European post-industrial waterfront heritage zones with a focus on the Govan Graving Docks. Participatory Action Research is being delivered in partnership with the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative and Govan Docks Regeneration Trust. As executive director of Fablevision, she develops and delivers case study examples in practice often in partnership with other third sector organisations, community development trusts or local authorities. Current examples include Centipede in Muirhouse, Creative Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire Witch Hunt1697 and the Tapestry of Renfrewshire.

Graham Jeffery is Reader in Music & Performance in the School of Media, Culture & Society at the University of the West of Scotland. His work spans spans participatory and community arts practices, creative pedagogies, cultural policy and urban and community development.

Professor Katarzyna Kosmala is Chair in Media, Culture and Visual Practice in the School of Media, Culture & Society at the University of the West of Scotland, an art writer and curator. Her main research specialisms include heritage and participation, art production and enterprise, as well as gender and politics of representation. She chaired conference sessions and spoke at invited panels on these subjects at international conferences such as the Association of Critical Heritage Studies Biennial Conference; Gender Work and Organization, Arts in Society; and Habitat III the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development.

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Alison McCandlish
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Photos by Alison McCandlish

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