Distancing when undertaking first person action inquiry: Two devices

David F Collins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)87-114
    Number of pages28
    JournalAction Learning Action Research Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 8 Dec 2018


    • distancing; drama; first person action inquiry; visual autoethnography


    Dive into the research topics of 'Distancing when undertaking first person action inquiry: Two devices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this