Leading & Listening to Community: Facilitating Qualitative, Arts-Based & Visual Research for Social Change

Call for Chapters for an edited volume. This edited collection asks: what does ethical research facilitation look like in projects that seek to move toward social change? How can scholars weave political and social justice through multiple levels of the research process?

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  • Topic Call For PapersLeading & Listening to Community: Facilitating Qualitative, Arts-Based & Visual Research for Social Change
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Although institutional and regulatory ethics have been ingrained in university research settings, scholars such as Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang (2014) have asked us to consider the ways in which participants’ and communities’ desire to refuse research influence our ethical frameworks. Tuck and Yang contend, “The regulatory ethical frames that now dominate the conversation about ethics in academe are only a recent provision, and they cannot do enough to ensure that social science research is deeply ethical, meaningful, or useful for the individual or community being researched (Tuck & Guishard, 2013)” (p. 812). We take up Tuck and Yang’s call to ask: What does ethical research facilitation look like beyond institutional guidelines? What might deep, ethical, meaningful or useful facilitation look like in qualitative, participatory visual, and community-based research?

Although facilitating ethical research has long been identified within medical research literatures (BMJ, 2006; Reid, Brown, Smith, Cope & Jamieson, 2018), there is a dearth of academic theorizing on facilitating ethical research (notable exceptions include Brown & Danaher, 2017; Gabhainn & Sixsmith, 2006; Groundwater-Smith, Mitchell, Mockler, Ponte & Ronnerman, 2013; Powell, Graham & Truscott, 2016; Tuck, 2008; Tuck & Yang, 2014). Theorizing the decisions made by the research facilitator within qualitative and participatory visual research has also been under reported. Although researcher reflexivity has been well documented (Raheim, Magnussen, Seske, Lunde, Jacobson & Blystad, 2016), as well as the need for researchers to “suspend damage” (Tuck, 2009) to participants and communities, we wonder about the incremental decisions made by researchers in response to unexpected moments during fieldwork and research. What does anti-racist research facilitation look like? What might it look like to queer research facilitation? What does community-specific facilitation look like? What strategies might researchers engage in with communities in order to “do most good”? Or do the limitations of academic research always mitigate the potential to “do good”?

The complexities of how scholars make decisions within their research with people and communities have an effect not only on how they construct their participants and communities, but also on their projects, the ways their projects are shared and disseminated, and what is learned in the doing of facilitation. This edited collection asks: what does ethical research facilitation look like in projects that seek to move toward social change? How can scholars weave political and social justice through multiple levels of the research process? 

In this edited collection, we are particularly interested in chapters that investigate research facilitation that attempt to disrupt anti-black and anti-Indigenous racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy, sexism in an effort to work toward social change.  Chapters may take up a range of technical, methodological, ethical, and theoretical issues, including:

Processes of Facilitating Research for Social Change: What processes and strategies have been used successfully in facilitating research for social change? How is ethical research facilitated and under what circumstances? How do technologies shift research facilitation? For example, what changes when a phone is used as an instrument to collect data with participants? How is research facilitation described in academic writing including theses, articles and dissertations? How might we understand research facilitation as a kind of intervention? How might the current shift to prioritizing digital technologies, amidst Covid-19, influence community-researcher relationships? What obligations do we have to privacy and access to technology (ex. internet) under these conditions? 

Complications in Facilitating Research: What happens when facilitation fails? How have you theorized failure in research facilitation? How are power relations shared and theorized in co-facilitation with a community member? How is trust in facilitation theorized? What does facilitation look like in a time of social distancing? What happens when communities do not have access to online platforms due to internet access and broadband issues?

Ethical practices in research facilitation: How might research for social change be facilitated through an anti-racist lens? What happens when participants’ and/or facilitators reaffirm / shore up problematic / racist discourses in a group setting? How might we facilitate through instances and discourses of ableism / racism / transphobia / homophobia/ etc? 

Teaching about research facilitation: How can research facilitation be taken up in methodology courses and student supervision? What pedagogical practices might further thinking about facilitating research? What do you wish you had learned about facilitation?

We invite broad interpretations of research facilitation and are particularly interested in research facilitation within community-based approaches, participatory visual approaches, and specific methods including oral histories, cellphilm method, photovoice, and walking methods.

The edited volume seeks contributions from established and new scholars working across disciplines including:

  • Anthropology
  • Arts-Based Research 
  • Communications
  • Critical Race Studies
  • Education
  • Geography
  • History
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Language and Literacy
  • Media Studies
  • Medicine and Public Health
  • Nursing
  • Participatory Visual Methods
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Queer Studies
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Visual Studies
  • Women and Gender Studies
  • Youth Studies

Submission Guidelines

We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers from contributors who are thinking through facilitation in their research practices. The collection will be in English.

Deadline for chapter proposals: September 1st, 2020 

Chapter proposals should include: 200-400 words abstract (excluding references) with title, author’s name, a short 100-word bio with affiliation, and contact information by September 1st, 2020.

Invitations to submit a full paper will be sent to selected authors by October 1st, 2020.

Deadline for full draft submissions: February 1st, 2021.

Full papers should be between 5000-7000 words, including endnotes. Final acceptance is conditional upon peer-review assessments. The anticipated publication date for the collection is the Spring of 2022.


More details

leadingandlistening2community[ at ]gmail.com

Send documents to

Casey Burkholder, Funké Aladejebi and Joshua Schwab-Carta

leadingandlistening2community[ at ]gmail.com