Circles within circles - Qualitative methodology and the arts: The researcher as artist

Paul Wainwright*, Frances Rapport

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This short report describes a qualitative research colloquium in Swansea, UK, supported by AstraZeneca. The meeting was chaired by Frances RAPPORT and Paul WAINWRIGHT and was attended by 40 participants, representing a range of professional and academic backgrounds from the UK and beyond. The colloquium, built on the idea of links between new qualitative methodologies and the arts, sought to explore what happens when researchers and artists talk to one another; the premise was that qualitative research and the arts have much in common. Presentations from qualitative methodologists and artists were scheduled to run in parallel with one another. Artists and researchers were encouraged to discuss their work in terms of the productive process and expressive representation and to share applications and ideas. Recurrent themes centred on form, structure, content and meaning. The message that emerged from the two days was that the artistic creative process and qualitative research are inextricably bound up with these concerns. Artist and researcher take experience and seek to translate it into a form that others can in turn experience and interpret. This requires an engagement on the part of researcher and artist, a commitment to being truthful rather than being on a quest for truth. Qualitative research and the creative or performative process thus have strong similarities, of process and outcome. However, there are also fundamental differences in the social complexities of the two practices, their goals and purposes, and the intentions that lie behind them. Nevertheless, artists, performers and qualitative researchers appear to have much in common and the possibilities for future collaborations of this kind look very exciting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalForum Qualitative Sozialforschung
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Arts-based methodology
  • Narrative-based methodology
  • New qualitative methodologies
  • Process
  • Re-defined methodology
  • Representation
  • The arts


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