Making Visible the Invisible

How Combining Autoethnography with Visual Arts Practice Unearthed More Than I Imagined




autoethnography, visual arts, STEM, positionality, invisible data


This article documents how I came to combine autoethnographic accounting with visual arts practice. I developed this mixed methods approach for my PhD study which explores the interdisciplinary possibilities offered by combining visual arts practice with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Visual arts practices as narrative forms tend toward the non-linear (Anae, 2014), whilst autoethnography offers self-reflection. Writing an autoethnographic account for an artwork has the potential to generate a wealth of data, some of which are visible, some of which are not. The invisible data become available only when the artist speaks to/writes about the artwork. If some content/context of a visual artwork is only visible through background information provided by the art maker, this discovery troubles another issue concerning our notions of what a good visual artwork is. Finally, I test this article’s autoethnographic authenticity against Adam’s four characteristics of autoethnography. 

Author Biography

Suzanne Crowley, University of Tasmania

Suzanne Crowley  is a long-time visitor to the land of lutruwita/Tasmania. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania, Australia. Her topic investigates interdisciplinary learnings between the visual arts and STEM. She is a practicing artist who has also worked for many years in educational research. Her current research direction seeks to use both autoethnography and visual art practice to explore the experiences of migration, outsideness, species extinction, water, and home. 




How to Cite

Crowley, S. (2022). Making Visible the Invisible: How Combining Autoethnography with Visual Arts Practice Unearthed More Than I Imagined. Art/Research/International:/A/Transdisciplinary/Journal, 7(1), 156–185.