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Doing Arts-based Decolonising Research

Charura, Divine ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3509-9392 and Wicaksono, Rachel ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0312-8491 (2023) Doing Arts-based Decolonising Research. In: Bager-Charleson, Sofie and McBeath, Alistair, (eds.) Supporting Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Method Research. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 39-55

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Chapter 4 Final Version 30th May 2022 Charura and Wicaksono.pdf - Accepted Version
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Chapter 4 Final Version 30th May 2022 Charura and Wicaksono.docx - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 24 January 2025.


This chapter outlines some conceptual issues in doing arts-based decolonised research.

In the chapter, we take a broad view of ‘art’, one that includes the ‘art of’ (decolonising) research, and we highlight examples from our own research that show (1) how we have used objects (‘arti-facts’?) to create data and, (2) linking to psychotherapy and research, how the ‘art of communication’ (the delicate mechanisms of interaction and the way that, as researchers, we choose to report them), has created our data.

We approached this chapter using a duo-ethnographic process, in which we question the meanings of our individual narratives, our conceptualizations of what arts-based research ‘is’, and what decolonizing research means. We highlight the importance of seeing research as a relational and deeply reflexive process in which attention is paid to the themes of “beginnings”, of active engagement with the research dynamics that unfold thereafter (which we have called the “real inner drama”), and, finally of “endings”. Through each of these themes, we explore the possibility of a decolonised approach which demonstrates a deep respect, and valuing, of participation/participants. This can be primarily demonstrated by engagement with reflexivity and evidence of how we, as researchers and co-authors of this chapter, try to manage “power-with” rather than “power-over”. We show how the latter, being synonymous with colonising dynamics, plays out in practices in which, for example, researchers focus on having their research questions answered, rather than on engaging with the diversity of world views/experiences that participants bring to the research process. In ending research interviews/encounters, leaving space for reflection and debriefing is important. Where artifacts, or other creative methodologies, are employed, respecting the participant and their objects/creations, involves a discussion of what happens to them, or how the participant would like to end. Furthermore, dialogue about returning to the transcript to check with the participant about the representation of their narrative, as well as discussions about how they will be represented or not in the dissemination, is all part of the ending process. To demonstrate these themes we, offer examples from our own arts-based decolonising research.

Central to our chapter are the following questions:

• What are objects, things, art, and how do they shift power?
• How are these issues relevant to counselling and psychotherapy research and practice?
• What are some of the dilemmas we have faced in doing arts-based decolonising research?

To end the chapter, we reflect on silence as a useful part of the research interaction; for example, in the provision of a space for material to emerge or to be held in reflection. We recommend increased awareness of our own and our research participants’ multiple and changing understandings of ‘things’, both material and conceptual; whilst at the same time remaining committed to the process of searching for our own truths, and to the maintenance of ethical research and professional practice.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-13942-0_3
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF636 Applied psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF637 Counselling
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7792

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