Distancing when undertaking first person action inquiry: Two devices

Collins, David F (2018) Distancing when undertaking first person action inquiry: Two devices. Action Learning Action Research Journal, 24 (1). pp. 87-114.

218-1394-1-RV rev Distancing first person AI reviewed (Final Version).pdf

Download (1MB)


Action Inquiry is a methodology with the desired outcome of research action producing systemic change. In the context of a doctoral study seeking to explore how art-based pedagogies may empower educational practice, Action Inquiry was an obvious choice where empowerment involves social work practitioners exploring this question together. As part of a participatory approach, a process of self-examination is integral to the author’s inquiry as a means of contextualising professional practice in terms of social, cultural and political dynamics, and as a means to appreciate the journeys of participants in the author’s inquiry. In this article the author discusses distancing, a process of estrangement, as a means of exploring and analysing personally generated data. Two devices are developed to enhance distancing in self-inquiry, particularly when the data is challenging because it is ‘too close’ to the inquirer. The first is a visual Johari Window (Luft and Ingram 1955), involving a series of self-portraits and collaged images related to the author’s educational journey in life. The second is a dramatic device inspired by the work of Dorothy Heathcote (Heathcote and Bolton 1995) that involves the development of a fictitious character who presents the work of the author and provides opportunities for transformative reflection. The character of William Loveday is developed during a number of educational events using an iterative spiral of planning, performance, evaluation and further performance. The inquiry shows how visual art and drama can provided potent possibilities to critique and reappraise both doctoral work and practice education through a process of distancing. The author highlights how these devices can be adapted to numerous practice situations involving self-inquiry and participatory inquiry and to empower educational practice.

Item Type: Article
Date: 8 December 2018
Uncontrolled Keywords: distancing; drama; first person action inquiry; visual autoethnography
Subjects: L500 Social Work
X200 Research and Study Skills in Education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Education and Social Work
REF UoA Output Collections > REF2021 UoA23: Education
Depositing User: David Collins
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2019 10:23
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2020 10:11
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7079

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


In this section...