Arts-based research methods (Online)

Key information

Start date:
19 June 2024
Attendance dates:

19 June 2024

Time commitment:
1 day
Distance learning
Contact details:


This course will explore the importance of art as a research method that contributes to qualitative approaches. This session will discuss the theoretical ideas in applying the use of art as a method. In this, we will draw on sociological theories including feminist and decolonizing approaches that contribute to the design and practice of adopting art-based methods. 

Further, we will learn about the benefits and challenges in using art, and how this can assist in the research design. The session will explore the practical issues in applying art as a method, and how this can complement other proposed methods in the named study.  

In this, we will look at the types of groups and research settings that may benefit in participating in arts-based methods, and how we are able to use these methods to explore perceptions, expressions, and feelings. In addition, this session will explore the ethical considerations in adopting arts-based methods, and we will explore in depth how art-based methods can influence the dynamics between the researcher and participants. 

This part of the session will also discuss the importance of reflexivity in arts-based methods, and how the researcher can capture their positionality within the data collected. As a part of this, we will explore suitable analytical tools used to analyse artwork collated, and how this may complement other forms of data. Lastly, we will discuss ways on how to disseminate and generate forms of impact using artwork in research. 

This will be an interactive session with a small group setting taught online. We will provide research case studies, practical exercises, and group discussions to facilitate this session.

Please note: this course does not cover the use of computer software programmes to assist qualitative data analysis. See events run by the CAQDAS networking project at the University of Surrey for training on specific CAQDAS packages.

Learning outcomes

  • To understand the importance of arts-based methods in qualitative methodology
  • To identify the benefits and challenges in using arts to explore the social world
  • To discuss the practical and ethical considerations in collating data when using arts as a method
  • To explore the analytical tools used in arts-based methods. 

Course content

  • The nature of creative approaches used in qualitative studies
  • Theoretical and practical application in designing creative research methods
  • Using creative methods in complex environments and working with vulnerable groups
  • Practical exercises in pairs and small groups
  • Final reflections, trouble shooting and ongoing sources of support. 

Learning and teaching methods

Presentations, group discussions, guided exercises, past case studies, independent reading, independent group exercises.



Course leader

Maria Adams profile image

Dr Maria Adams

Associate Professor in Criminology

Maria Adams is an Associate Professor in Criminology. Her research interests around prisons, families, and food. She has expertise in using qualitative approaches including the application of creative methods. 

Entry requirements

A basic understanding of creative methods in qualitative research.

Fees and funding

Price per person:


UGPN student discount


Students (all non-UGPN)


UGPN staff discount


Education and charitable sector applicants


Government and commercial sector applicants

Funding opportunities

Participants applying for either UGPN discount will need to use their University email address to be eligible.

  • North Carolina (NC) State University:  
  • University of Sāo Paulo (USP): 
  • University of Wollongong: 
  • University of Surrey:

All staff and students at any of the above institutions are now eligible for the UGPN discount as part of UGPN.

How to apply

Applications will be through our online store.

Apply now

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations and our terms and conditions. You are also confirming you have read and understood the University's prospective student privacy notice.

Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read the full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Carrie Lee

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH