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Katherine Boydell

Using the arts to create and disseminate qualitative research: A critical examination

The arts are powerful mediators in our understanding and experience of health and well-being. Increasingly, the arts are also employed as an innovative method of both creating and disseminating health research. Some benefits of using the arts in research include greater attention to the meaning and experience of health, illness, and the body and increased ability to convey research findings in a way that captivates target audiences and facilitates change in healthcare practice.

This presentation highlights practical examples of the use of dance, digital storytelling and found poetry as a knowledge translation strategy. One of the central goals of this research was to create a relational aesthetics, creating a space for audiences to engage in this work. We will share the response of a number of different audiences including mental health practitioners, researchers, young people, teachers, and the general public. In addition, some of the unique ethical dilemmas associated with engaging in this type of work are identified along with potential strategies to address such challenges.

Katherine BoydellKatherine Boydell

Dr. Boydell is a Professor of Mental Health at The Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales. She recently took up this position having been a Senior Scientist and Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Dalla Lana School of Public Health at University of Toronto. She is also Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Program in Theatre at York University.

Her research is both methodological and substantive; substantively, it focuses on understanding the complex pathways to care for young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis, the use of new technologies in child and youth mental health, and the ‘science’ of knowledge translation. Methodologically, it focuses on advancing qualitative inquiry, specifically, in the area of arts-based health research. Professor Boydell explores the use of a wide variety of art genres in the creation and dissemination of empirical research - including documentary film, dance, digital storytelling, found poetry, installation art and body mapping. Her work takes a critical perspective and focuses on the theoretical, methodological and ethical challenges of engaging in arts-based health research. She has published more than 100 journal articles and has published a recent text titled Hearing Voices: Qualitative Inquiry in Early Psychosis.

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