Thursday, June 14, 2012

Arts Based Research Days in Spring 2012

Ryan Trecartin, seated and laughing in Miami, ...
Ryan Trecartin, seated and laughing in Miami, FL, inside the production house for Trecartin's Any Ever 2009/2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Kara Walker, Cut, Cut paper and adhesive on wa...
Kara Walker, Cut, Cut paper and adhesive on wall, Brent Sikkema NYC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Adlestrop Church Adlestrop Church is ...
English: Adlestrop Church Adlestrop Church is dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. It is likely that Jane Austin would have visited this church during her three visits to Adlestrop in 1794, 1799 and 1806, she was related to the parish vicar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This spring I was able to participate in two full-day arts-based research days. 

In April I attended the pre-conference day of the Arts-Based Research Special Interest group of the American Educational Research Association on the University of British Columbia Campus.  I had the opportunity to learn about the founding and history of this group, to hear a presentation from a Vancouver artist who works in public sustainable art, and to think with a great group of old and new friends with interest in this topic.

In May, there was an Arts in Qualitative Research pre-conference day at the International Congress on Qualitative Inquiry at the University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois.  This was the first such event at ICQI.  Organized by Liora Bresler, it brought together a diverse group of researchers. 

I presented a paper that brought together my art interests with the sexting research.  Here is the title and abstract.  A paper will be forthcoming!

Gender, Technology, Power, and Sexuality:  Jane Austin, Kara Walker, and Ryan Trecartin as Social Theorists for Making Sense of Teens Views of Sexting

For the past year I have been engaged as the qualitative researcher in a three-state, focus group study of teens views of sexting and adults perceptions of those views.  Findings from this study demonstrate the complex ways in which gender, technology, and social power are intertwined with young people’s developing sexuality and their notions of status and intimacy.  As I searched for theoretical frameworks to understand the materials I was analyzing, I began to consider three artists—Jane Austin-novelist; Kara Walker-visual artist; Ryan Trecartin-video artist--as theoretical mentors to my analysis process and what I was learning about the issues of teens and their private and social worlds.  Questions that these three artists raised for me in regard to the focus group material included:  How is social role set in place by the performance of race/class/gender and the mediation of technology?  How is sexuality and technology combined to position the subject and object of desire?  What are the contexts in which one’s desire can be performed?  What are the aesthetics of such performances?

In this paper, I will provide a brief overview of the study of teen views of sexting.  Then, I will discuss the three artist’s and the ways their work provides social theory that is applicable—both individually and collectively—to the analysis of the materials I have been examining.  Of particular interest to me is the reflexive way in which I worked with analysis of the focus group materials and my three artist theorists and how this process deepened my understanding of teens’ views as it expanded my understanding of the artist theorist’s social message.   In concluding the paper, I champion the arts-based research view that artists’ works be considered as theory with equal weight to the theory presented in social science textual resources (for example:  Bakhtin, Giddens, Marx, etc.), as opposed to being relegated to the role of illustration. 
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American Educational Research Association Presentation 2012

A Japanese cell phone with various stickers an...
A Japanese cell phone with various stickers and charms attached to it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sexting and teens continues to be a focus of my qualitative research work, as I continue to work with the "Building a Prevention Framework to Address Teen Sexting Behaviors" project funded by the US Department of Justice.

I presented a paper on the topic at the 2012 American Educational Research Association Meeting in April in Vancouver BC--Sexting, teens, and education:  What teens have to say and the implications for education policy and practice (Davidson, Harris, Paternite, Tusinski-Miofski, and Thompson).  The presentation was an opportunity to share the first round of findings that have emerged from the project (analysis of youth data) and consider the ways the findings apply to the concerns of educators. 

I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the work with a great table of co-presenters. 
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FQS--Qualitative Computing: Diverse Worlds and Research Practices

I am very pleased to announce the publication of the FQS issue devoted to the 2011 qualitative computing conference held in Istanbul,  Turkey.

You can link to that issue here:
FQS June 2012
(Vol 3, No 2, 2012)

It has been an intense year, working with Ceasar Cisneros (an FQS editor) to develop this issue. The introduction provides a good description of the focus of the conference as an opportunity to think about qualitative computing from an international context, that is, outside the boundaries of the American/Anglo picture that often dominates the discussion of qualitative research, and, hence, qualitative computing. 

At the conference I presented a piece about my Journal Project, and the related article is available in this publication.

The Journal Project: Qualitative Computing and the Technology/Aesthetics Divide in Qualitative Research

I loved the experience of the conference (you can read about that in postings from Istanbul in this blog--February 2011), but I found the experience of editing the work of a diverse group of international scholars to be equally interesting.  I had to think through their concerns from a new perspective. 
Finally, working through the introduction with Cesar brought the experience around full circle as we rethought the ideas that brought the conference into being in the first place.  Cesar has long been a champion of the world of qualitative research that is emerging outside of the Anglo world.  He continues to raise provocative questions about the classical qualitative research myoptic view of how our work has evolved and how our traditions can be applied to every national or regional location. 
Thank you Cesar and all the other great participants and organizers.