Creative & Participatory Practice

Our CoLab gathers researchers working with creative practices (artistic, participatory, collaborative, experimental etc.) to generate and disseminate knowledge.


Since “knowledge is not separate from the practice of inscription” (Chapman and Sawchuk 2012), we reflect on the importance of developing – or “carving” (Leavy 2009) – the right methodology for the right research question. Some sensitive topics related to sensoriality, affect, intimacy, body and identity are challenging to grasp, and mostly within interviews. Indeed, how can we reach embodied knowledge which is not necessarily verbalized?

Coming from Anthropology, Musicology and Dance Studies (and open to any other discipline), we believe in the potential of creative practice in its capacity of raising more valuable knowledge for sensitive investigations. In doing so, Art and Humanities engage a more horizontal dialog and are similar “in their attempts to illuminate aspects of the human condition” (Leavy 2009).

The investigations of the CoLab are mostly influenced by Arts-based research, that according to Patricia Leavy can be defined as “a set of methodological tools used (…) during all phases of social research, including data collection, analysis, interpretation, and representation (…) in which theory and practice are intertwined”.

According to Leavy, Arts-based Research is particularly useful in investigations that….

  • … focus on process
  • … tend to grasp emotional aspects of social life
  • … investigate issues of identities
  • … work with minorities and vulnerable persons
  • … reach wider audience by disseminating scholarship in different languages

… and Participatory

Participatory stands for working horizontally, breaking hierarchy between academics and so-called “informants”. As Diane Conrad writes, it is a research “for”, “with”, and “by” the people rather than “on” the people”, seeking “to break down the distinction between researchers and researched”. The traditional “subject-object relationship” becomes a “subject-subject relationship”.

Participatory Research also prevents from vertical acts of transfer, and the authoritarian “vulgarization” of science to “non educated persons”. The act of sharing research questions at an early stage of investigation, turn participants into co-researches who get involved in the framework of the research-design. The research gain from the collaboration of expertise and consider equality between people (Lassiter 2005).

Coordinator/Contact: Claire Vionnet

Current projects

Collaboration and collection of palimpsestuous individualities

Dancing Aesthesia
A method for Dance Workshops and Choreographic Co-Creation

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