From 2013 to 2019, our ASC! team of researchers and research assistants, partners and collaborators, collected, created and integrated our research findings through four primary lenses of inquiry: Teaching and Learning, Evaluation/Impact Assessment, Partnership and Capacity-Building, and Knowledge Mobilization.
The research program involved the participation of community members, students and change makers from a wide variety of sectors, including health and justice systems; civil society, environmental, intercultural, elder and youth-focused organizations; and professionals working in the fields of social innovation, social enterprise and public policy. We created national networks for dialogue and nurtured new cohorts of artist/practitioners and scholars while bringing knowledge of this potent and effective form of change work to a wider public.
The ASC! field studies used a variety of research methods including critical and performance ethnography, discourse analysis of program materials, and semi-structured interviews with art for social change (ASC) practitioners, educators, participants and researchers, as well as analysis of research-creation processes. Using a phenomenological, arts-based, collaborative approach, the field studies provided researchers with valuable insights and sources of data while also adapting research methodology from other disciplines. The field studies were analyzed through the lenses of teaching and learning in the field, evaluation/impact assessment, partnerships and knowledge transfer.
Field studies have been completed: on social circus in Quebec; a Calgary-based dance and Parkinson’s project; the Montreal-based Encounters/Rencontres about performing the “other”; Unlimited, a theatre and dance project with people with cognitive disabilities in Lethbridge; video interviews with ASC artists; a major study on partnerships; a visual arts project with seniors about aging, and arts-infused dialogues in four Canadian cities (the Chataqua series). These field studies and video creations informed the ASC! Project “outputs”, including: publications and video for public and academic audiences; books; an online, interactive evaluation tool; exhibitions and performances; and, in Ottawa, on November 4th and 5th 2017, the capstone international gathering designed for dialogue and networking.
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