What we did:

foyerobjects 3poster 1lego 1walking and talking 2postits

What we talked about:

P1120439aP1120455aP1120451aP1120444aP1120432aP1120433aP1120443apost-its close upaP1120452aP1120454aP1120449a

Click here to read a blog post about the day by Jerome Turner from Birmingham City University.

Thanks to Janet Burn from the University of Nottingham for this reflection on the workshop, and Jerome’s post:

There was definitely a creative fizz about the place. I liked Jerome’s blog: his identification of two distinct areas, for artists and for media was interesting, and perhaps this depends on how ‘creative research methods’ is defined – either the methods used in producing creative work, or methods of research which are creative approaches. Within that second group there is perhaps a sub-group which is the use of creative methods in research in paper+pencil academic subjects – where the approach to note-taking traditionally has been linear. In my own work in history I’ve discovered that I can take notebooks (computer or paper based) full of notes and can’t find my way through them later … there’s just too much to read through.

There’s real scope I think to develop some of the creative ideas used in contemporary studies (media, art, business studies, planning) to help in the process of thinking, seeing connections and making links, and being able to retrieve information afterwards. Diagrammatic shorthand (often used by scientists) can benefit arts and languages too – I see no barriers to methods being transferable across disciplines. As we use more creative methods, our thinking will be become more exciting and creative and inter-disciplinary approaches (already growing) become more and more usual. It’s good to break out of straitjackets!

Original participant information:

Creative Research Methods workshop 1

What do we mean by creative research methods?

Thursday 16 May 2013, Birmingham City University, School of Art (lecture theatre), Margaret Street, Birmingham B3 3BX

The day will be participatory, activity-based and exploratory. To help kick off discussion, we request that you bring along an object which represents your research.


Registration, tea/coffee


Welcome: David Gauntlett and Amy Twigger Holroyd


Group discussion (groups A, B, C, D):

SHARE previous experiences and discuss ‘what do we mean by creative research methods?’


Lunch (provided)


EXPERIENCE a creative method

Groups A and B:

Zoe Millman / Sharon Watson

EXPERIENCE a creative method

Groups C and D:

David Gauntlett




Group discussion (groups A, B, C, D):

REFLECT on creative method experience


Self-organise into small groups of 3-5

REFLECT on the day


Round up

Prompts for discussion:

WELCOME session

We considered our tentative description of creative research methods:

Creative research methods are approaches to research where participants are invited to express themselves in non-traditional ways, such as through making a physical object or collage, or sharing an experience.

SHARE session

1. Introduce yourselves, using the objects you have brought in. Tell each other about your experience of, or interest in, creative research methods.

2. Discuss creative research methods, using any of the following prompts:

  • What do we mean by creative research methods? (Is this meaning the same in different disciplines, e.g. art/design, media/communication, others?)
  • Do creative research methods necessarily involve the production of a physical object?
  • Why use creative research methods? (What knowledge does it access? Are there any benefits for participants?)
  • What challenges are associated with creative research methods?
  • What is the difference between participatory arts practice and creative research methods? (What can creative research methods learn from participatory arts practice?)

3. Produce one or more ‘posters’ communicating your discussion, to be shared with the other groups.

REFLECT session

Reflect on the creative method that you experienced. Does it raise any new questions?

Reflect on the day, and discuss your ideas about creative research methods.

Think again about: What do we mean by creative research methods?

Produce one or more ‘posters’ communicating the issues, questions or discoveries which feel most important to you.