Some 150 qualitative researchers from around the U.S. gathered at Nova Southeastern University to discuss the transformation of the qualitative research field at a conference sponsored by the journal, The Qualitative Report. Among them were Institute faculty Carrie Lobman and Christine Helm who discussed their brand of “performance research” and its dialectical relationship to a movement of performance activism. They invited workshop participants to use poetry and famous literary references to refresh the view of their research projects.
Theirs was among dozens of presentations on innovative, arts-based approaches to research and to engaging communities. Keynote presenters included educational researchers Rachel Gabriel, Jessica Nina Lester, Patricia Leavy and Valery Janesick, who make use of theatre, community performance, fiction, poetry and Zen Buddhism to push the boundaries of qualitative research.
“A performance orientation to research is an exciting move away from traditional analytic practice,” said Helm. “For many, it grows out of a recognition that we need new cultural/historical approaches to the study of our lives together.”