Victoria Foster



The Art of Empathy: Employing the Arts in Social Inquiry with Poor Working-Class Women

This article looks at how the arts can be employed in participatory social research with poor working-class women as an innovative approach to collecting data as well as a powerful means of disseminating research findings. It questions traditional means of knowledge production and suggests that the use of art in this context challenges many of the assumptions inherent in sociological inquiry. The article is in three sections with each section involving reflection upon a participatory, arts-based research project carried out at a government-funded Sure Start program in Merseyside, U.K. The following areas are given due consideration: the benefits of a participatory research methodology coupled with a feminist epistemology; the use of poetry, short film making, and visual arts in data collection; the use of drama in the dissemination of research findings.

feminist epistemology, participatory research methodology, arts as research methods, ethno-drama, performance art, poor working-class women

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 34, No. 1 (2007): 12-27