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Carrying out research across the arts and humanities and social sciences: developing the methodology for Dementia and Imagination

Newman, A and Baber, M and O Brien, D and Goulding, A and Jones, CH and Howson, T and Jones, C and Parkinson, C and Taylor, K and Tischler, V and Windle, G (2016) Carrying out research across the arts and humanities and social sciences: developing the methodology for Dementia and Imagination. Cultural Trends, 25 (4). pp. 218-232. ISSN 0954-8963

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Abstract

© 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.This paper analyses how the methodological approach for a major Arts and Humanities Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council-funded project entitled Dementia and Imagination1 was formulated. This multidisciplinary project brings together the arts and humanities with the social sciences with their different epistemological philosophies and subsequent understandings of research methods. The main objective was to determine how visual arts activities may change, sustain and catalyse community cultures, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours to create dementia-friendly communities. This project involves 6 different UK universities, 14 researchers, 10 formal partners, 7 project artists, 3 research artists and a large number of civil society organisations. The analysis presents a series of themes that have been identified as influencing the approach taken to develop methods which aimed to speak to different audiences in the social sciences, arts and humanities, policy/practice and public domains. It is concluded that a research project of this type needs to embrace a wide variety of epistemological positions if it is to successfully achieve its objectives. This paper contributes to knowledge about how the methodology of large-scale multidisciplinary projects may be constructed which will be of value to those building research consortia across different universities and between universities and community partners.

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