The participating researcher: Applied research on arts participation

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

My paper will focus on the self-reflection of my role as participating researcher in three different art projects all of which have participation as a key element. The paper will begin with a presentation of the three cases: Theatre Talks (Teatersamtaler), Stepping Stones (Trædesten) and Art on the fringe (Kunsten ude på kanten). Each focus on participation in different ways: Theatre Talks focus in the participating of new audiences in theatres attending and talking about their experience with each other. Stepping Stone is a project addressing the involvement of children and youth as creative producers of artistic works in new corporations with professional artists. Art on the Fringe is a series of local festivals aiming at producing new artistic encounters by combining the means and knowledge of professional theatre artists with the contribution of citizens and their existing talents and abilities. The cases will be analyzed with focus on the strategy of participation and the value implications of this for each of them.
The second part of the paper will address the role of the researcher as a part of each of these participatory cultural projects as designer, applied researcher, consultant or evaluator. The role of me as a researcher with regard to the development and evaluation of the projects will be analyzed, trying to answer the question: What are the methodological differences between the approaches and how does that affect the research process and results. These differences will tentatively be presented as the basis of a model for participating research as an alternative approach to evaluation of cultural processes. Addressing this question is central for my current engagement in the evaluation of Aarhus as European Capital of Culture in 2017. This evaluation has the ambition to offers new ways of understanding the role of research and evaluation in relation to cultural programs and policy-making in the field of culture. This includes developing more interactive, participatory and procedural evaluation methods. Hopefully this ambition will be an inspiration for others to develop new ways of participatory research, and hopefully the conference will give input to that development as well.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year20 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2014

    Research areas

  • applied research, arts participation

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