Participatory Action Research and Alternative Knowledges

Thursday, Oct 29, 2015
5:00 - 6:30 pm
Room 9-451

Presented by Katherine Shozawa, Artist and Educator, and Catherine D'Ignazio, Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism, Emerson College

Katherine Shozawa is a Canadian interdisciplinary artist, educator and curator who blends community engagement with contemporary art practice.  Most recently, she was an artist-in-residence with the Philidelphia Mural Arts Program exploring the textile industry's past and present in the city.  She has also designed several participatory exhibitions about Japanese internment during World War II in the U.S. and Canada.  Catherine D'Ignazio is an artist and assistant professor of Data Visualization Storytelling and Civic Media at Emerson College.  Her projects combine the visual arts and technology to engage viewers on various political issues.

Researchers use a wide variety of social science methods for learning about cities and the communities with them, but many of these traditional means ignore alternative forms of knowledge.  Katherine Shozawa and Catherien D'Ignazio will discuss how critical information cannot always be captured through these conventional practices.  Aethetics present a completely distinct realm of inquiry and knowledge-creation, a way of creating familiarity with and empathy for realities not captured by familiar forms of data or comprehended by scientific explanation, particularly those involving conflicts of culture, identity, and experience.  Disciplines such as fiction writing, film, photography, music, and sculpture can help us know places and people better, as well as facilitate connection and understanding between individuals.  PAR scholarship is often enriched by these other ways of knowing, communicating, and disseminating knowledge.



MIT CoLab invites you to a weekly Participatory Action Research (PAR) speaker series on Thursday from October 15th - November 19th, 2015 from 5:00-6:30 PM in Room 9-451.  These talks are free and open to the public. 

PAR is a collaborative approach to inquiry, scholarship, and social justice in which the boundaries between "subjects" and "researchers" are blurred.  The subjects are no longer objects and become partners in the research process, which includes selection of the research topic, data collection and analysis, as well as decision-making about what action should happen as a result of the research findings.  Since PAR values situated knowledge and lived experience, innovation research methods outside the standard scientific framework are crucial to obtaining and analyzing information.  

In this series, we will explore how different individuals and organizations are practicing elements of participatory action research in their work to fight for labor rights, promote economic democracy, and organize against racial discrimination in the United States and abroad.  Futhermore, we will learn about creative methods to capture and disseminate knowledge with the aim of advancing social justice.