Arts-based Research in Communication and Media Studies

Arts-based Research in Communication and Media Studies

Call for papers

Arts-based Research in Communication and Media Studies

Edited by Nico Carpentier (Charles University) and Johanna Sumiala (University of Helsinki)

300 to 500-word abstracts should be emailed to both the editors, before 1 August 2020, at and Acceptance notifications will follow within a fortnight.

As Leavy (2015: ix) writes, arts-based research is “a set of methodological tools used by researchers across the disciplines during all phases of social research, including data generation, analysis, interpretation, and representation.” Its emphasis on doing (making) brings in the idea that knowledge is or, expressed more modestly, can be embodied and produced through the creation of the artistic practice itself. To use Cooperman’s (2018: 22) more poetic formulation, “Arts-based research is a research of the flesh where our source material originates from the closeness and collaboration of the bodies and voices of one another.” Slowly but surely, arts-based research is making its entry into Communication and Media Studies, moving away from our rather exclusive focus on the written text. There is, for instance, the work of the multidisciplinary Collective for Advancing Multimodal Research Arts or scholars at the Communication Studies Department of Concordia University (Chapman & Sawchuk, 2015). Communication and Media studies scholars also publish their non-written texts in such specialized journals as the Journal of Video Ethnography; Tecmerin: Journal of Audiovisual Essays; and Audiovisual Thinking, the Journal of Academic Videos. Moreover, both the International Communication Association (ICA) and the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) have featured exhibitions at some of their recent conferences, the former with the 2017 Making & Doing exhibition and the latter with 2018 Ecomedia Arts Festival, taking gentle steps toward (the acknowledgment of) non-written academic texts. We, ourselves, have deployed arts-based research, for instance, in the Respublika! exhibition, the Mirror Palace of Democracy installation (Carpentier, 2019, 2020), and the Youth in the Media City book (Sumiala & Niitamo, 2019).

We believe that more could be done in our field, at the level of theorizing arts-based research practices and at the level of deploying them. With this call for articles, in the special issue of Comunicazioni Sociali, we want to further stimulate the discussion on this topic, bringing together a diversity of voices, formats and approaches, all related to the theme of artistic-academic dialogue. Contributions can be longer (academic) articles, but we also want to include multimodal formats, more artistic contributions and shorter, policy-oriented statements, for instance, from some of the foundations that work on/with arts-based research.

We thus call for contributions that focus on:
1/the perceived relevance of, and opportunities generated by arts-based research, for Communication and Media Studies,
2/examples of, and experiences with organising, arts-based research projects in Communication and Media Studies,
3/the requirements for strengthening this field of inquiry, and
4/the role that Communication and Media Studies scholars can play in (initiating) these projects and the subsequent identity politics.

This call follows the “Respublika! Finland: Arts-Based Research or Communication and Media Studies? Yes, please” workshop, which took place on 6 February 2020, at the Kone Foundation in Helsinki, Finland, and created a dialogue between different engaged actors about arts-based research projects in Finland. (See this link)

Time table

Abstract submission: before 1 August 2020
Notification of acceptance: 15 August 2020
First full articles submitted to editors: 1 October 2020
Revised articles submitted to editors: 1 November 2020
Final articles submitted to editors: 20 December 2020


Carpentier, N. (Ed.). (2019). Respublika! Experiments in the performance of participation and democracy. Limassol, Cyprus: NeMe.
Carpentier, Nico (2020). Communicating Academic Knowledge Beyond the Written Academic Text: An Autoethnographic Analysis of the Mirror Palace of Democracy Installation Experiment. International Journal of Communication, 14(2020), 2120–2143.
Chapman, O., & Sawchuk, K. (2015). Creation-as-research: Critical making in complex environments. RACAR: Revue d’art Canadienne/Canadian Art Review, 40(1), 49–52.
Cooperman, H. (2018). Listening through performance: Identity, embodiment, and arts-based research. In M. Capous-Desyllas & K. Morgaine (Eds.), Creating social change through creativity: Antioppressive arts-based research methodologies (pp. 19–35). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Leavy, P. (2015). Method meets art: Arts-based research practice (2nd ed.). London, UK: Guilford Press.
Sumiala, J., Niitamo, A. (eds.) (2019). Youth in the Media City: Belonging and Control on the Move. Link

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