Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reflections on 2010 and Hopes for 2011 posted by Mary Brydon-Miller

When I think back on my year in Action Research the common theme is my deep gratitude for the opportunies for community and collaboration the year brought. This speaks to what I consider one of the fundamental values that underlie our practice—the notion that working together we learn more, accomplish more, and grow closer to one another. There are so many examples of how the value and values of collaboration have touched my life this year, but I will focus on five experiences that are especially meaningful to me because of the opportunity they each gave me to deepen my own learning and to develop new and nuture existing friendships.

I begin by thanking my students. My current and past students are some of the major contributors to this blog, they are the energy behind the Action Research Center, and they continue to inspire and amaze me year after year. In December the students in my Action Research course presented on the first-person action research projects they had conducted in which they each examined the ways in which their own value system is expressed through their practice. Each and every one of these presentations was a unique and beautifully crafted expression of the kind of reflection, creativity, and openness to new learning that should be at the heart of all Action Research. I am eager to get back to them to see where our work together takes us from here!

I also want to thank my colleagues at Harmony Garden, the girls health and wellness program I work with in Cincinnati, and in particular to the members of the Community Resident Research Team, who are not only my friends, but my teachers. I am privileged to have been invited to join the Board of Directors of this phenomenal organization this year and look forward to continuing to see their work create positive change in the city of Cincinnati and beyond.

Over the past year I’ve also had the opportunity work with my colleagues Ariane Berthoin Antal, Patricia Gayá Wicks, and Victor Friedman on editing a Special Issue of Action Research devoted to Arts and Action Research. You’ll be hearing from them and from the wonderful authors who have contributed to this project over the next couple of months, but I wanted to thank them all here for the thoughtful way in which they each contributed to nurturing this project—one that I feel makes a remarkable contribution to our understanding of the ways in which the arts can inform, infuse, and reframe our understanding of AR.

And finally, I think about the members of the Swedish Action Research Consortium I met with in Runö, Sweden this Fall and all the fellow action researchers at this year’s World Congress of Action Research in Melbourne in August.

Action Research is a global community of committed individuals who care deeply addressing some of the most pressing problems facing our world today. I look forward to 2011 and to the new opportunities this year will bring to all of us to continue to work together. Thanks to you all!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

From the desk of the editor:A new review process

In issue 8(4) of ARJ we have the first of a new review format.  It strikes me that a great way to share news of new publications in the field of action research is to post a short review on the blog.  More formal reviews, however, will be picked up by the journal.
Dr. Donna Ladkin starts us off with a review in ARJ of Olav Eikeland’s work on Aristotle.  Beyond being readable and insightful, Donna offers a model for the new reviews the journal will offer.   This also signals the upcoming finale to the extensive digests of new action research related publications that Bob Dick has offered since the start of the journal. I am very sad to see Bob Dick retire from his position as reviewer of all things action research.  Bob’s reviews have informed my own reading over the past few years (if Bob recommended it, I read it).  I know that his column was very popular judged by the number of times they were downloaded.  We will truly miss Bob.  I am, however, happy to say that Bob has agreed to be interviewed so that he does not leave without us taking to opportunity to pick his encyclopedic brain on action research.  The interview will be published in ARJ. And as Donna’s review shows, we may have a very different but equally informative review process coming on line.  I thank Dr. Patricia Gaya Wicks and her colleagues from the associate editor board for helping us design the new review process.  May it flourish and meet the demands of our readers.

Warm regards,
Hilary Bradbury-Huang, Editor in Chief

Saturday, December 4, 2010

From the Editor's desk: Esther Prins on participatory photography

Last of the new papers to be introduced from the upcoming ARJ, issue 8(4) ...

Esther Prins from The Pennsylvania State University writes about the use of participatory photography. Esther’s article examines the unanticipated problems the author and participants encountered when encouraging the stakeholders in their work to use photography as a way to represent their world. The surprise was at how much suspicion, timidity, and ridicule the practice engendered. This article elucidates how historical and socio-cultural factors structured learners’ and community residents’ responses to photography. Theoretically she draws on Foucault’s analysis of surveillance and power, to argue that photography is a technology with contradictory potential for social control and surveillance. This forms the basis for thinking trough how to recovery marginalized groups’ subjugated knowledge..

From the point of view of growing to scale, Esther’s work is also in the category of “how to do action research.” We may be surprised to learn that technology as “simple” as the camera (simple, that is, by the standards of the university based researcher) can evoke unanticipated reaction and consequences. True to the spirit of good inquiry, Esther makes lemonade from the lemons (how many, perhaps especially novice action researchers, might have simply slipped away?!). Beyond mere perseverance, Esther’s contribution to theory is helpful to the larger community. And from a practical standpoint, her work offers an opportunity for vicarious apprenticeship. Please find her work: http://arj.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/06/10/1476750310374502.abstract

Warm regards,

Hilary Bradbury-Huang
Editor in Chief