Lessons learned about art-based approaches for disseminating knowledge
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Lessons learned about art-based approaches for disseminating knowledge

Anne Bruce Associate professor, School of Nursing, University of Victoria, Victoria BC, Canada
Kara L Schick Makaroff Post-doctoral fellow, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Canada
Laurene Sheilds Associate dean, Faculty of Human and Social Development, School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria, Victoria BC, Canada
Rosanne Beuthin PhD candidate, School of Nursing, University of Victoria, Victoria BC, Canada
Anita Molzahn Professor and dean, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Canada
Sheryl Shermak PhD student, Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria, Victoria BC, Canada

Aim To present a case example of using an arts-based approach and the development of an art exhibit to disseminate research findings from a narrative research study.

Background Once a study has been completed, the final step of dissemination of findings is crucial. In this paper, we explore the benefits of bringing nursing research into public spaces using an arts-based approach.

Data sources Findings from a qualitative narrative study exploring experiences of living with life-threatening illnesses.

Review methods Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 32 participants living with cancer, chronic renal disease, or HIV/AIDS. Participants were invited to share a symbol representing their experience of living with life-threatening illness and the meaning it held for them.

Discussion The exhibit conveyed experiences of how people story and re-story their lives when living with chronic kidney disease, cancer or HIV. Photographic images of symbolic representations of study participants’ experiences and poetic narratives from their stories were exhibited in a public art gallery. The theoretical underpinning of arts-based approaches and the lessons learned in creating an art exhibit from research findings are explored.

Conclusion Creative art forms for research and disseminating knowledge offer new ways of understanding and knowing that are under-used in nursing.

Implications for practice/research Arts-based approaches make visible patients’ experiences that are often left unarticulated or hidden. Creative dissemination approaches such as art exhibits can promote insight and new ways of knowing that communicate nursing research to both public and professional audiences.

Nurse Researcher. 21, 1, 23-28. doi: 10.7748/nr2013.09.21.1.23.e356

Conflict of interest

None declared

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Received: 11 September 2012

Accepted: 19 February 2013

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