The Art of Science: Creativity as a Social Science Research Method

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The separation of art and science into distinct discipline areas produces partial, constrained knowledge (Game 1991). Incorporation of the personal and creative into social research allows engagement with issues of reflexivity, subjectivity, passion and desire and provides opportunity for the production of new knowledges and critiques about the social world (Game & Metcalf 1996; Pink 2001). The idea that art, poetry, literature and other creative acts can facilitate transformation and change (Kristeva 1986), is gaining acceptance in qualitative social science research design, particularly in participatory action research, postmodern and feminist approaches. This presentation traces the process and development of a (critical) social science research project that began with the study of social documentary images of homeless women and developed into the creation of a series of paintings based on the religious icon of the Madonna and Child. References: Game, A. (1991). Undoing the Social: towards a deconstructive Sociology. Milton Keynes, Open University Press.
Game, A. and A. Metcalfe (1996). Passionate Sociology. London, Sage.
Kristeva, J. (1986). Revolution in Poetic Language. The Kristeva Reader.
T. Moi. Oxford, Basil Blackwell: 89 –136. Pink, S. (2001). Doing Visual Ethnography. Images, media and representation in
research. London, Sage.


Keywords: Creative research methods, Reflexivity, Qualitative social science research, Art as a research method, Visual research methods Interdisciplinarity
Stream: Research Methodologies, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Social Researcher as Artist, The


Dr. Karen Maree Crinall

Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities, Communications and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts, Monash University

Churchill, Victoria, Australia

Karen Crinall lectures in Social and Community Welfare and Human Services Management at Monash University. She has over twenty five years experience working, researching and teaching in social welfare in the areas of family violence and homelessness. As a researcher Karen has conducted practice-based and academic projects utilising feminist, visual and participatory action research methods. Karen has presented conference papers and published on the topics of women and homelessness, rural and regional responses to social change, working with young women and the visual representation of homeless women and young people. Karen’s qualifications span the visual arts, education and social sciences. She is currently researching integrated service system responses to family violence and media representations of women as victims of violence.

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