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Cultivating the Reflexive Imagination:

Using Arts-Based Research Methods

to Teach Qualitative Research*

Practicing Pedagogical Bricolage

This work reflects on a curriculum that I have developed for an undergraduate qualitative methods course developed through a practice of what I call 'pedagogical bricolage' (Feldman 2014). Pedagogical bricolage synthesises the transformative and multi-disciplinary principles and practices of both critical pedagogy and critical constructivist research. I argue that the cultivation of a critical consciousness is a necessary foundation for the understanding of reflexivity, but that a ‘wide-awakeness’ (Greene, 1995) to the nature of the storied world is an essential beginning to this process. A form of research-led teaching, it centres on students’ exploration of their own expressive literacies and storied lives, which may then become the basis for analytically engaging those of others (and Others). Through an inductive structure of collaborative activities that essentially ‘deconstructs’ rather than follows the research process, students experience the roles of both participant and researcher and cultivate, in an emergent way, a sociological imagination that constitutes the ground from which a critical reflexive consciousness can be nurtured.

* Paper presented at Creative Research Practices and Alternative Sites of Learning: Artists, Researchers Educators. 3 May 2016. University College Dublin.

Drawings by Richard Ryan and Aine Rowan 

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