Read about one of AiR’s early successes with a two-day workshop  and a presentation at the Social Research Association in London.

BU has a growing community of Arts in Research (AiR) academics and post-grad students.  This effort grows out of the experience of the School of Health and Social Care’s ReThink process and previous work at HSC in using tools from the Arts in carrying out research, disseminating findings and sharing them with students, colleagues and communities beyond the University. The AiR team would like to join up with researchers in any School with an interest or even curiosity in how they might infuse their interest in the arts within more routine research and/or presentation practices.

The interest in Arts-based Research is international and growing. Areas such as video, film, photography, dance, drama, poetry, radio production, creative writing—even clowning—are becoming more mainstream.  Conferences, for example, no longer routinely consist of hour-after-hour packed with 20-minute PowerPoint presentations. Young students balk at PPT and expect more creativity from lecturers in their learning experiences. Reaching wider audiences (including ‘service-users’ and the public) is now routinely demanded by funding bodies. Tools from the Arts can greatly enhance all of these efforts.

Using Arts-based approaches in research requires thinking about Method from novel viewpoints. Involving research participants in producing outputs frequently enlivens projects, for one example. Finding the right arts-based method for the research questions or findings is key to their use. Finding the right collaborator for your project can be central to its success.

AiR researchers began meeting in January (watch for future announcements by email, Facebook and Twitter).  There is already interest in developing a series of workshops with working artists as facilitators.  No need to feel that great personal skill is required, just enthusiasm! We hope to open the collaboration up to others outside of BU through future events and workshops.

"Selfies" by some of the AiRHeads collaborating on ARTS in Research

“Selfies” by some of the AiRHeads collaborating on ARTS in Research

Pictured (top to bottom, left to right): Anne Quinney, (HSC); Sue Thomas (Visiting Scholar); Kip Jones (HSC & Media School); Michele Board (HSC & BUDI); Bronwen Thomas (Media School); Wendy Cutts (HSC); Wendy Couchmann (Southbank U); Michelle Cannon (Media School); Jen Leamon (HSC); Carolyn Ellis-Hill & “Dylan” (HSC); Louise Oliver (HSC); Lee-Ann Fenge (HSC); Karen Cooper (HSC); Trevor Hearing (Media School); Julian McDougall [with Billy Bragg] (Media School); Rebecca Edwards (BU R&KE).

Late additions

Additional AiRheads

Pictured: Melsia Tomlin-Kraftner; Carrie Hodges; Caroline Jackson; Sue Sudbury

Please contact Kip Jones ( if you are interested in finding out more.