Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Collage

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Collage

Article excerpt

Introduction

This reflection and analysis is embedded within the fourth wave of race research in leisure studies, which includes a call for the use of more diverse methodologies for examining race and racism (Arai & Kivel, 2009). The research project discussed in this paper is founded on a decolonizing methodology, which recognizes the colonial, western influence in how we know things and what is privileged in research (Kovach, 2009). The artistic methods used for data collection, analysis, and representation were deliberately chosen to move beyond binary thought patterns and language (e.g., understanding experiences as separate, polarizing, and/or dichotomizing entities), which have the potential to constrain our understanding, and adopt a more complementary philosophy of knowing (Kovach, 2009). Art as a method of inquiry and representation enables "the fluidity of metaphor, symbolism, and interpretive communication (both verbal and nonverbal)" (Kovach, 2009, p. 60), ultimately privileging Indigenous1 ways of knowing. That is, the images used in this particular study provided opportunities for participants to share their experiences, knowledges, and understandings in a flexible, dynamic, and natural manner.

Using art as a method of representation was particularly useful in this study, since the conceptualization of leisure is not considered a separate entity or activity in most Aboriginal cultures. Rather, drumming, storytelling, pow wows, beading, and other traditions, are understood as a way of being that is intricately woven in the tapestry of life. Engaging in creative inquiry and representation allowed for the inclusion of context and the blurring of conventional conceptualizations of leisure (e.g., place, time, experience, and activity).

Art as a method of representation is not new to leisure studies. A creative process that is commonly referred to as creative analytic practice (CAP) has been used as a method of representation for almost a decade. Examples of CAP in the field of leisure studies include narrative vignettes or short stories (Glover, 2007; Hayes, 2012; Johnson & Samdahl, 2005; Lewis & Johnson, 2011; Mair, 2009; Parry, 2007), poetry (Gilles, 2007; Hayes, 2012; Yuen, 2011; Yuen, Arai & Fortune, 2012), and screenplays (Berbary, 2011). As argued by Parry and Johnson (2007), CAP contextualizes leisure experiences and more fully embraces the complexity of lived experiences. Notably, CAP is typically used as a creative process used to represent data. This project used creative means to collect data (body mapping, see Lu & Yuen, 2012), as well as analyze and represent the findings (poetry and collage).

This research note discusses collage as both a method of analysis and representation used in a participatory action research (PAR) project, which explored and promoted healing with Aboriginal women. The discussion will focus on the use of collage and the process involved in this arts-based analysis and representation.

The Study

The creative process in this research note stems from a study whose purpose was to examine Aboriginal women's healing and the impact of culturally meaningful supports, including leisure, on their healing. In Canada, Aboriginal women are more likely to be a victim of a violent crime than non-Aboriginal women (Native Women's Association of Canada, 2015; Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2015). This violence is embedded within colonization, residential schools2, racism, and discrimination. The artists interviewed for this study are survivors of the aforementioned; however, in keeping with the guidance of Indigenous scholar Tuhiwai Smith (1999), Journey Women sought to emphasize strengths rather than seek out what is dysfunctional.

This project was a collaborative effort with Minwaashin Lodge, an Aboriginal women's support center in Ottawa, Ontario. Collaborators included an art therapist from Minwaashin Lodge and eight Aboriginal women who participated in a three-day workshop to create a body map (a life-sized canvas), which represented their experiences of healing. …

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