Resisting positivism: unfolding the epistemological basis of two arts-integrating research methodologies, arts based research and a/r/tography
Haggarty, Holly Tsun
Master of Education
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How may an arts practice be considered a research methodology? This thesis examines two arts integrating methodologies, arts based research and a/r/tography, to uncover their epistemological constructs and philosophical positions. The inquiry begins with inquiry, a re/cursive/search for an appropriate methodology to allow both critical and creative windows from which to gaze. Using a unique, hybridized design involving educational criticism (Eisner), the creative process of poetic inquiry (Hawkins, Prendergast), and heuristic inquiry (Moustakas), this thesis demonstrates that both arts based research and a/r/tography resist positivism – but for different reasons and to different effect. Arts based research is a methodology that looks structurally and constructively at the nondiscursive symbolic system of art, and offers tools for understanding the uncertain meaning in art. A/r/tography is a methodology that sees knowledge as rupture: it refuses to engage with positivist structures, actively disrupts them, and finds knowledge through disruption. Both methodologies prompt as many questions as answers in regards to how art is a way of knowing.