Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Arts Based Research, First Post

Welcome to my Arts Based Research blog!

I am really looking forward to this class. My interests in the area of inquiry, assessment, and evaluation are really taking off, so I am really looking forward to getting the tools that will help me in my thesis.

While reading the course text book (New Creative Community) for another class that I am taking, Ideas into Action, I came across the following quote by Arlene Goldbard about the nature of community work:

"But because it essentially participatory and collaborative, because the question of success has more to do with process than product, the evaluation of community cultural development work must be grounded in conversation among practitioners and participants. The judgement of success rests with the participants." (154)

And later:

"Can it be demonstrated that funds invested in a community cultural development work will produce lasting value for a community, help to bring about lasting change?" (155)

These questions were already buzing in my head. In class, I wrote in my journal that foundations/government funding bodies all report to some higher power, often the bottom line. This mindset has permeated into the arts funding world and now community arts, which in itself cannot be measured or quantified in either process or product, needs to answer to this baseline requirement of measurable success. How can we use the arts to communicate to those in this world that the process is more important than the result? That the products and achievements cannot be measured so much as felt? How can you prove progress with arts based community development?

My research then is to establish effective, proven methods of recording, sharing, measuring, and communicating the powerful positive effects of arts based community development that can be understood by  both sides of this funding conundrum. How can both sides learn from one another? Where are the roadblocks in the communication pathways?

I'll post later on the chapters in Arts Based Research, as they inspired different questions altogether!