Murals as a tool for action research

Rebecca Amani Yeo

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This final chapter considers murals as tools for research. It explores the design, rationale and impact of two research projects. One was focussed on the UK context, working with disabled people living in a wide variety of different circumstances (including asylum seekers, ex-service personnel, parents, people living in residential accommodation). The second was focused on the experiences of disabled people in Bolivia. In each place, people used imagery to convey their key messages. The images and ideas were brought together to create murals which were then installed in public spaces. Public opening events were organized, and more bespoke exhibitions of mural reproductions were taken to academic conferences, parliament and public events. The murals served as a tool for bringing people together, eliciting information, promoting research findings and enabling a power shift, such that those traditionally conceived of as research ‘subjects’ have greater control and ownership of the research output. The individual and collective impact of the murals is examined by considering the perceptions of those creating the artwork as well as those observing it. Murals sited in public locations facilitate the dissemination of the research findings in a far more accessible manner than is possible with a written report alone. This chapter calls for consideration of the epistemological value of such methods. In addition to any aesthetic qualities, it is argued that murals can be important mediums of communication and effective research tools, particularly where there are associated aspirations for social change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMurals and Tourism
Subtitle of host publicationHeritage, Politics and Identity
EditorsJonathan Skinner, Lee Jolliffe
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781472461438
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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