Creative research in action
The 4 areas of creative research are not mutually exclusive.
I conducted an evaluation of a Midlands Sure Start programme in the 2000s that mixed arts-based methods and technology within a community-based framework. The evaluation design was discussed, amended and approved by a community-led steering group.
I conducted photo-elicitation interviews with parents and nursery-age children. Primary school pupils did “draw and write”, secondary school pupils took photos and made posters, and parents asked local residents to complete questionnaires outside the local supermarket. At a fun day, we set up a “Big Bothered diary room” to collect video evidence from children and parents, and a “wish tree” where people could post their wishes.
Analysing the visual and video data took time and plenty of head scratching - but the most challenging part was when the steering group asked me for a research output they could read with their children at bedtime.
It took me longer to produce their 20-page photo essay than the 80-page report I wrote for the evaluation commissioners, but they liked it, and it is one of the pieces of work I am most proud to have produced. We launched it at an exhibition of the pupils’ posters and drawings, attended by the Mayor and the press.