Unfolding the process of portraiture: a collaboration between artist and participant

Raelean Yvette Hall
Doctoral Dissertation,

Set within a post-modern collaborative arts-based inquiry into the unfolding process of portraiture, my research assumes an emergent highly engaging participatory approach for experiential and phenomenological ways of knowing. Beyond the traditional passive approach for portraiture (of artist declaring sole expression by sight and ability alone), my inclusive therapeutic model identifies the intersubjective relational aesthetic of shared understandings. For genuine empathic social connections, the gaze of recognition and identity affirming experiences are explored through a creative multimodal and multisensory approach.

My methodology follows Heron and Reason’s (1997) participatory paradigm of the four ways of knowing (experiential, presentational, propositional, and practical ways of knowing), and is supported by Allen (2004) and Lett’s (2011) understanding of the multi-modal arts-based research paradigm for emergent, reflexive and reflective ways of knowing. These methodologies carry similar notions of an integrated and flowing methodological, axiological, epistemological and ontological approach for qualitative research.
My art studio becomes the setting where seven participants (including myself) participate in co-constructive and co-creative ways. Our conversational interviews open an embodied imaginative framework for self discovery and meaning through co-action, where significant moments unfold the various layers of meaning that support our experience. Thus we are represented in a multilayered perspective that naturally develops over time, through our portraits-in-process.

The layout of my dissertation is arranged in three parts. The first introduces my methodology and methods. The second part presents all seven portraits exploring meaning through co-creation. The third section attends to the multidimensional analysis, which leads to the fourth section of the findings, relating literature from the fields of arts and arts therapy. This section also addresses the implications for personal and social effects, and the limitations of my research design. Additional support material for my exhibition and public interaction is on the attached DVD.

Research Downloads

Unfolding the process of portraiture: a collaboration between artist and participant
Doctoral dissertation, Raelean Yvette Hall


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