Social Practice as Arts-based Methodology: Exploring Participation, Multiplicity, and Collective Action as Elements of Inquiry


  • Lynn Sanders-Bustle University of Georgia



socially engaged art, social justice, arts-based research, qualitative research, post qualitative research


Claims that the arts are a kind of research is nothing new, finding relevance for scholars in the social sciences and the arts (Barone & Eisner, 2011; Cahnmann Taylor & Siegesmund, 2018; Leavy, 2019, 2009; Sullivan, 2005). Given that art is continuously being reimagined, it follows that arts-based research takes into account contemporary artistic processes and materials and the theories, aesthetic philosophies and contexts that shape them. In this paper, this author considers socially engaged art in the context of arts-based research and raises the question, what can be learned from social practice as an arts-based methodology?  The work of three socially engaged artists are referenced to demonstrate how distinct qualities associated with social practice, such as shared participation, multiplicity, and collective action offer new considerations for arts-based research that aims to bring about social change.

Author Biography

Lynn Sanders-Bustle, University of Georgia

Lynn Sanders-Bustle is Chair and Associate Professor of Art Education at the University of Georgia in the US. She is editor of the book, Image, Inquiry, and Transformative Practice and has published in Studies in Art Education, Canadian Review of Art Education, the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, the International Journal of Education and the Arts, and Art Education. Creative projects include the installation of large-scale mosaics in Virginia and Louisiana and social practice implementations in community and public-school settings in Georgia. Her research focuses on socially engaged art, community-based art education, service-learning, and teacher preparation.



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How to Cite

Sanders-Bustle, L. (2020). Social Practice as Arts-based Methodology: Exploring Participation, Multiplicity, and Collective Action as Elements of Inquiry. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, 5(1), 47–70.