Does Arts-Based Research Have a Future? by Elliot Eisner.
If art is considered a form of experience as described by John Dewey in his book Art as Experience, it can be argued that fine art does not define the limits of art. Aesthetic experience, which is the core of art, can be obtained through the process of conducting scientific research, as well as the satisfaction gained from the results.
Elliot Eisner The point of this brief resume is to liberate the concept of research from domination by science and to recognize that science can in fact and consequently have important aesthetic qualities.
Often, it is the very characteristic that motivates scientists to pursue their research. In this sense, the practice of science, done well, can be considered an art.
In 1993, the first arts-based institute was offered to members of the American Educational Research Association at Stanford University. The lab has been offered nearly every other year since then at Stanford and Arizona State University. My goal in founding the institute grew out of the tension I personally felt as a scholar who majored in the social sciences but was immersed in the arts. That tension gave rise to the idea that the arts could be used in productive ways to help us understand more imaginatively and emotionally the issues and practices that need attention in our schools.
The study of art and education was early expressed in the concepts of educational connoisseurship and educational criticism.
Does arts-based research have a future?
Can a work of fiction be considered research? The 1998 AERA debate between Howard Gardner and I over whether a novel can function as a thesis is an example of the issues at stake. Cardner argued that doctoral training is essentially training designed to prepare skilled technicians using traditional research methods. My argument was that universities should be places where doctoral students can imaginatively explore new methods and concepts to conduct research, and if universities cannot provide that environment, there are few places where they can do so.
Art uses emotions to vividly express what is obscured by the habits of everyday life. We must not forget that becoming familiar with a culture is both a way to learn not to see and a way to learn to see.
Coffee is practical. He then carefully pours the coffee using a clear plastic cup, pours in a little cream, and observes how the white cream appears to explode inside the cup a few seconds after pouring. He enjoys the beautiful explosion of cloud-like shapes created by the cream of dark coffee. He tells his class that that kind of activity is one that is experienced for its own satisfaction. It is not simply a practical activity, but an aesthetic one. This example is familiar to students, but it is not the way teachers would cover it. The larger point of the lesson is that perceptual attitude is a choice, and that there are more than one way to see. This point is strengthened by providing students with practical and aesthetic terms in which to construct these distinctions. The teacher moves from the coffee example to a task that requires students to participate. This is not just an audience activity. The work involves writing about what one sees, but it is not simply an older form of writing. He wants a form of writing that has literary qualities.
He doesn't use the term literature, but that's exactly what he hopes they will create, and to increase the chances of that happening, he strives to help them understand what literary language entails. This is done in two ways: First, he presents a model of language use by providing a picture of what language looks like. Second, he gives examples of past writings by his colleagues. In other words, 12 Studies in Arts Education Is there a future for arts-based research? Make clear that the task is feasible and does not rely on any special form of adult expertise. In fact, he also gives them a negative example: what their language should look like. He goes on to give examples of experiences he has had or could have had in his own life, where practical experiences have been transformed into aesthetic experiences. Water the lawn, immerse yourself in the experience of beauty, again, within their experience, not some exotic substance outside of their experience. The examples he uses enable an empathetic mindset. The teacher then introduces the material to be worked with. The ingredients water and red ink are important. Not only will each student have their own cup of water, but the teacher returns to individually drop red dye into their cup. Personal attention is provided here. Red dye in the water induces projection. Its fluid nature, much like a cloud, allows us to see it unfold in images of bursting forms that will effortlessly take on the meaning each student wishes to give. The unfolding red cloud opens the door to individual interpretation. Unlike many assignments in school, there is no single correct answer to this exercise. The key word is “single”. No response can be made. Your response should have a literary or poetic feel. That's what he was talking about about similes.
So what we have here is an open-ended work that evokes an individual response, but it is not simply a case of what happens. This doesn't include everything. The crux of the problem lies in the relationship between what students see and what they express. To have something to express, you need to see. Representation is necessary to communicate the content of consciousness to the public, so what we see here is an imaginary transformation of a perceptual event, imbued with features and meaning that students are trying to translate into language that can convey that meaning.
“With a good heart, these beliefs will never go away,” she says. What we are moved by her words is the relationship between image and form, or more precisely, the relationship between the form that the image takes. This is a situation where students use qualitative thinking forms to do several things.
Students must find a form, a form created by the narrative that conveys their experiences. They become writers. Their writing begins with a vision and ends with words. As readers or listeners, we start with their words and end with their vision. The circle is complete. The content of this short episode is about artfully crafting language to express what vision produces. Finally, they end the episode by sharing their work with each other.
So far I have tried to identify some issues, some history, and some examples of aspects of arts-based research. What I also feel the need to comment on is related to questions related to ideas like objectivity, validity, and generalization. These three concepts almost always come up in discussions about the credibility of arts-based research.
Powerful examples of visual art are found in most Expressionist works, including earlier works. Francisco Coya, Pablo Picasso, and Velasquez all create images with meaning that transcends verbal meaning. Where would we be without Rembrandt or the great works of African tribal art? Art organizes our world and provides standard images that apply to more things than we might expect. Sometimes these images are so powerful that it is difficult to see the world they cover in any other way.
Not only does art imitate life, but life often imitates art. Artistic characterizations of classrooms, teaching methods, and school environments serve important cognitive functions. They provide a structure to organize our perception.
What indicators allow you to make conclusions or observations about the situation you are studying? Quite simply, perhaps too simply, is there enough evidence to make the situation credible?
What we are seeing in educational research is a gradual expansion of the ways that are considered legitimate for understanding schools, teaching, and learning. We are moving towards pluralism. At the same time, at least in the United States, there is a national push to emphasize a convergent approach to educational research, namely randomized experimental field trials, as the gold standard. On the one hand, there is a constraining situation fueled by national anxiety about the quality of our schools, but at the same time there is a growing recognition that there is more than one story to tell and more than one approach to adopt.
Clearly, arts-based research is an expression of the need for diversity and the tendency to push for destandardization of methods.
Arts-based research requires people who know how to create films, videos, narratives, and literary works.
This applies not only to text but also to other types of text. We need to expand the range of representational forms that can be used to conduct educational research. Arts-based research should serve as an example of how such uses are created and utilized. Another consideration concerns the availability of resources that can present non-textual work.
Arts-based research needs an appropriate outlet, a forum, something to process the messages it presents. This is not an easy task, but it is an important task that requires an inextricable connection with digital technologies, the World Wide Web, and other modern electronic media. So my answer to my own question is that the future of arts-based educational research depends on the public's willingness to accept what is and our ability to reach heaven through research that reveals what we have been taught not to see.
* Note: If we look at the education system from the perspective of a system that regulates people's roles and behavior, in Eisner's view of curriculum development, a system that ignores people cannot be perfect. He attached importance to the exploration of people in curriculum development. His view of the curriculum is summarized in the statement, ‘Teaching is an art.’
Copyright 2006 by the National Art Education Association Studies in Art Education A Journal of Issues and Research 2006, 48(1), 9-18
* Does Arts-Based Research Have a Future? Inaugural Lecture for the First European Conference on Arts-Based Research Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 2005 Elliot Eisner Stanford University
Myungja Anna Koh