Beyond Discipline(s): Spoken Word as a Social Scientific Research Tool

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


    For many, the arts and sciences stand at opposite ends of an unbridgeable divide: the sciences rigid, objective, systematic and authoritative; the arts fluid, subjective, dynamic and capricious. Yet, there is a long history of productive dialogue between these two fields, and multiple points of interconnection to reveal the falsity of this dichotomy. Arts-based research, (where the arts are used as tools for data collection, analysis and/or dissemination,) represents a particularly fertile form of arts/science interaction. Arts-based research holds enormous potential to enrich both the arts and the (social) sciences, changing not only how we represent the world (and who to), but also how we think about the world.

    This chapter considers the potential of spoken word as a tool for arts-based research, the implications of this for the communities and issues we seek to represent, and what this means for the status of both the arts and social sciences. With reference to the innovative method of ‘collaborative poetics’ and to the work of youth slam/spoken word educators, I argue that social scientists and spoken word practitioners can learn much from one another’s tools, techniques and ways of thinking, creating new forms of knowledge, redefining the audience/author relationship, and facilitating a ‘critical resilience’ which enables both individual fortitude in the face of adversity and a means through which to challenge the conditions which give rise to this adversity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSpoken Word in the UK
    EditorsLucy English, Jack McGowan
    Number of pages21
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


    • spoken word
    • poetic inquiry
    • collaborative poetics
    • creative methods


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