REPLIES TO WOUNDS: MEANING ACROSS MULTIPLE EKPHRASIC
Maarhuis, Patricia Louise
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The purpose of this study was to describe hermeneutic phenomenological research on the Washington State University Clothesline Project (1993–2012) and ekphrasic artefacts about the experience of interpersonal violence, utilizing arts-informed research methodology (Cole & Knowles, 2008) in a Deweyan (1934/2005) theoretical framework with reference to Bakhtinian (Holquist & Liapunov, 1990) and Mouffian ideas (2008). The research project examined emergent themes, meaning making, and forms of artful expression across 4 phases and 3 points of data collection. The research methods map a linked process that combined arts-informed research (Cole & Knowles, 2008), parallaxic praxis (Sameshima & Vandermause, 2008), agonist activism (Mouffe, 2007), and transformative teaching and learning strategies (Mezirow, 2012). Emergent themes and expressed meaning across the four phases of transactive and ekphrasic interpretations were highly complex and re-presented the contextual experience of violence as intersected with time, emotion, cognitive reappraisal, memory, the body, culture, relationships, and other variables. Findings provided evidence for a generative process made up of deliberative reflection, artful interpretation, transactional dialogue, and transformative learning. The physical, spatial, and relational materialization of one’s thoughts, feeling, and ideas through various art forms was a way for participants to construct meaning and to learn about the experience of violence. Findings link the process of ekphrasic interpretation to pragmatic educational strategies. Effective use of transformative teaching strategies and demonstration of transformative learning affirmed the potential for parallaxic praxis and transactional ekphrasic responses to be efficacious and ethical pedagogic tools for the difficult issue of interpersonal violence. Also, analysis indicated that the research phases were events of agonistic activism that engaged critical art (Mouffe, 2007). Finding suggests that the research methods and educational strategies utilized in this project may be a means to expand individual and community activist engagement.