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The participatory arts-based research project as an exceptional sphere of belonging

Nunn, Caitlin (2020) The participatory arts-based research project as an exceptional sphere of belonging. Qualitative Research. p. 146879412098097. ISSN 1468-7941


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<jats:p> While belonging is rarely an explicit concern of participatory arts-based research (PABR), fostering inclusive relations is both an important condition for and outcome of PABR projects. Based on a participatory arts-based study with refugee-background young people in the United Kingdom and Australia, this article proposes five dimensions of PABR that mediate belonging within the project and shape possibilities for belonging beyond it: resources, relations, reflection, representation and recognition. Acknowledging the possibilities for transformative belonging emerging from PABR’s unique combination of participation, arts and research, this article draws on Bourdieu’s framing of the research interview as an ‘exceptional situation for communication’ to conceptualise the PABR project as an exceptional sphere of belonging. Attending to (non)belonging in participatory arts-based research projects facilitates new insights into the practical, affective, embodied, socio-cultural and ethical relations that they produce and makes an important contribution to our understanding of PABR’s much lauded – but less well evidenced – transformative potential. </jats:p>

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