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Special Interest Group

Arts Based Educational Research

Arts Based Educational Research (ABER) uses ideas, methods, techniques, and processes from the arts to help understand and improve education.

ABER practitioners research and communicate using various arts-based methods and methodologies, including autobiography, narrative, poetry, visual arts, drama, dance, music, and performance. The rapidly growing body of ABER literature and practitioner knowledge directly addresses art concepts as research, the nature of knowing and learning aesthetically, and the processes of making and using art for generating and communicating learning and knowledge.

The ABER SIG provides a forum for theorists and practitioners in the arts, education, and other fields to discuss, share, and reflect on illuminating and problematic arts-based research practices and outcomes. It also serves as a focal point for other parties and individuals interested in ABER who have not yet ventured into this domain. It welcomes and encourages transdisciplinary knowledge creation in business and policy studies, the social sciences and the humanities. This SIG examines arts and social science research genres and their similarities and differences. It advocates for using arts-based methods of disseminating educational and human science research. It recognises ABER as an inclusive, democratic, participatory ethical inquiry.

Research interests:

  • Promoting inclusion in arts education practice and access to arts education.
  • Providing a forum for teacher-researchers within the arts to share practice and to contribute to the culture and community of arts education research.
  • Promoting the value of arts education and its impact on wellbeing and development by sharing high-quality research from our diverse membership.
  • Encouraging educational researchers and practitioners who are not involved in arts education to explore how the arts can inspire innovative research and teaching across fields, disciplines, and contexts.

SIG aims:

Issues of funding in arts education and devaluing arts education are live and urgent issues for the SIG membership to discuss. Our professional livelihoods and those of colleagues in arts education settings are being threatened. New research and sharing of practice show the importance of creative education driven by arts teachers in the recent pandemic to support positive mental health in all children and adults. We want to create a platform to support the dissemination of this work and develop a supportive research environment for teacher-researchers in the arts.

The SIG also encourages researchers who may consider themselves “non-artistic” or “non-creative” to incorporate the arts into their work to add depth and meaning. We want to create welcoming, enjoyable, and inspiring arts-based experiences to boost initiative, creative self-belief, and learning and expression. We are committed to exploring how the arts can engender innovative research and teaching across fields, disciplines, and contexts. And we are interested in how the SIG can advance arts-based educational research by engaging with creative ideas and work globally, recognising the contributions of various knowledges and points of view, and addressing social justice issues such as inclusion and decolonisation.

SIG Convenors

Profile picture of Adam Hart
Adam Hart, Dr

Lecturer in Music Technology at University of Salford

Dr Adam Hart is a lecturer in music technology at the University of Salford. He has a background in secondary education and audio programming, and his research interests involve digital technology, musical communication and creative pedagogy, and...

Profile picture of Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan
Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan, Professor

Professor at University of Nottingham

Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan is an education professor at the University of Nottingham. Her work inspires educators and other professionals to see themselves as curious, resourceful learners with the power to effect context-appropriate,...

Profile picture of Rebecca Berkley
Rebecca Berkley, Dr

Associate Professor in Music Education at University of Reading

Rebecca Berkley is an Associate Professor in Music Education at the University of Reading. Her areas of interest are classroom musicianship, choral education, musical leadership and musical cognition. She is the co-director of the Postgraduate...

Content associated with this SIG

BERA Educational Research Book of the Year

Closes 15 Jul 2024

This award celebrates the publication of educational research and is awarded to a scholarly book on education deemed to be high quality, engaging and innovative.


Researching gender and sexuality

Gender and sexualities research carries unique sensitivities and challenges that can create a range of barriers for postgraduate and early career educational researchers. The event Researching...

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