CFP: Blurring the Lines between Research, Theory, and Action: Arts-Based Research in the Anthropocene

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Call for Posts

Proposal Deadline: March 7th, 2023

Series Publication: Spring 2023

The climate crises that define the Anthropocene have led to traumatic experiences, such as loss of connection to one’s land, disappearance of traditional agricultural practices, and forced migration. Foregrounding novel methodological approaches can help to reflect the complex and multifaceted nature of these experiences. Arts-based research methods allow for diverse ways of examining trauma narratives and foster more holistic, in-depth comprehension of human lives, words, and sensory perceptions in the Anthropocene that more traditional approaches of qualitative research might not capture.

Susan Finley describes arts-based research as an “inquiry uniquely positioned as a methodology for radical, ethical, and revolutionary research that is futuristic, socially responsible, and useful in addressing social inequities.”1 This methodology entails social reconstruction through the utilization of emotive experiences and bodily intellect as “moments of epiphany,”2 which provides the opportunity to interpret issues more precisely and unconventionally. For example, a trauma victim can express themselves through song, which allows them the range of emotions which they might be unable to express otherwise.

Questions this series seeks to engage with include: What are some environmental issues that artistic interventions attempt to examine and how? Why is arts-based research the best way forward in case of such research intervention? How can arts-based research add to traditional qualitative research methodologies? What are the problems faced when employing arts-based research methods to matters of grave and immediate importance? How does arts-based research effectively communicate theories, narratives, and findings of heavy research?

The series is open to reflective pieces, research findings, art installations and interpretations, as well as participatory research reports. Potential topics and themes may include, but are not limited to :

  • Resilience
  • Climate disasters and forced migration
  • Marginalized occupations
  • Disability
  • Community participation in envisioning better futures
  • Histories of discrimination
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Trauma narratives
  • Policy building
  • Colonization’s effect on people’s relationship to the land

The Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE) invites expressions of interest from activists, independent researchers, academics, students, musicians, artists, and thespians interested in contributing to a blog series exploring Arts-Based Research approaches to topics in the environmental humanities.

Please submit a 100-word abstract to Amrita DasGupta (a.dasgupta7 [@] by March 7th, 2023. Those selected to contribute complete blog posts of 800-1000 words will be notified by end of March 2023. The series will be published in spring 2023.

NiCHE offers $100 CAD honoraria to contributors without adequate or consistent access to institutional support. Learn more about our honoraria policy here.


1 Finley, Susan. Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research: Perspectives, Methodologies, Examples, and Issues. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2008. SAGE Research Methods, doi:

2 Lincoln, Yvonna S, and Norman K Denzin. Turning Points in Qualitative Research : Tying Knots in a Handkerchief. AltaMira Press, 2003.

Feature image: Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay 
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Amrita DasGupta

Amrita is a third year PhD student at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She is also a visiting researcher at the King's India Institute and a guest teacher at the London School of Economics (LSE). She completed her MPhil titled ‘Bonbibi’s Sundarbans: Tiger Widows and Water-Prostitutes’ from Jadavpur University. It interrogated the impact of/relation between animal-attack widows and the changing norms of widowhood in relation to sex work in the Sundarbans. Her PhD examines transnational water borders of the Indian Ocean World and trafficking in humans, especially in the mangroves ecosystems expanding from India to British East Africa.  Amrita's short documentary, “Save the Sundarbans”, was awarded the cinematography award, script and editing award. She has published in journals including the Economic and Political Weekly, Gitanjali and Beyond. As a SOAS Digital Ambassador Amrita regularly writes for the SOAS blog.  Some of her academic works are listed below:   2021   1. “The Need for an Anti-Trafficking Act for Sexual Servitude” (5 February 2020), SOAS  COP policy Briefing.   2. “Sars of History” Gitanjali and Beyond, Issue 5: Creativity Special  Issue: The Unity of All Things; ISSN 2399-8733.    2020     1. “Hydrocultural Histories and Narratives from Sundarbans”, INSEEEES 3(2), July 2020, New Epistemologies of Water.  2. The Pandemic, A cyclone: (De)Politicising the “Private” in Bengal” Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 55, Issue No 39, 26 Sept 2020.

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