special issue call – the arts and ethnography


Special Issue Call for Ethnography and Education Journal (to be published in 2018)

Guest Editors:
Pat Thomson, The University of Nottingham, UK

David Poveda, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain

Ligia Ferro, Universidade do Porto, Portugal

droppedImageThis special issue brings together detailed ethnographic studies of social practice and action in a variety of social contexts where the arts and aesthetic concerns are central. We seek studies reporting research that focuses on: performing arts (music, theatre), plastic arts (photography, painting, sculpture), literature (narrative and poetry), other forms of contemporary, traditional and vernacular artistic expressions and practices. Studies may be situated in a variety of educational contexts – schools, colleges and universities; community organizations or art institutions; open spaces, etc. as well as emerging collectivities and sites (including virtual spaces) for artistic and expressive practice. We are particularly interested in papers that reflect international scholarship, a diversity of socio-cultural settings and research stemming from a variety of disciplinary traditions (Anthropology, Education, Psychology, Sociology, Linguistics, Fine Arts, Folklore, among others).

While our call for invitations is broad in terms of scope and analytical focus, proposals must be centrally grounded in the main concerns of the journal:

(1) Papers must report expertly conducted ethnographic research. We understand ethnography and ethnographic research can be defined in a number of ways and has been taken up in distinct ways by various disciplines but preference will be given to proposals reporting sustained fieldwork in a particular setting/site (however defined) drawing on multiple forms of data.

(2) Papers must focus on educational processes broadly defined, which may include, among other dimensions, interactions between “teachers” and “learners”, learning artistic practices, changes in participants’ identities and subjectivities, apprenticeship and guided participation or learning through intent observation or encounter.

(3) Additionally, papers may explore the place of the arts and artistic practices in fostering “social change”, defined within any scale (individual emancipation, transformations in the community, wider institutional-policy effects, etc.) and/or focused on a variety of social dynamics (emancipation, empowerment, resistance, subversion, etc.)

Preference will be given to manuscripts reporting empirical findings stemming from research built on the principles described above, rather than theoretical essays or critical reviews. Studies of the arts in and as practice may incorporate and critically reflect on attempts to expand how ethnographic research is conducted and reported and draw from “artistic resources” to do so, such as innovative forms of collaborative research, multimodal and multisensorial artifact co-production, visual forms of data representation and analysis, use of digital media and social media, etc.

For questions and submission of abstracts within the timetable set below, please contact Patricia Thomson (patricia.thomson@nottingham.ac.uk) or David Poveda (david.poveda@uam.es)

Instructions and timetable

December 2015 – Special Issue call for papers announcement.

29 February 2016 – Abstract submission deadline. Send 300-500 word abstracts to the special issue editors detailing: (a) goals of the study, (b) methodology and research design, (c) main conclusions.

31 March 2016 – Abstract selection and invitation to submit full papers.

31 July 2016 – Full paper submission deadline, following Ethnography and Education instructions for authors.

August 2016 – January 2017 – External review and submission of final manuscripts.

2018 – Special Issue publication.

Green Shoots, place and an inspirational centre in Boston

Jo McIntyre reports:

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the cultural offer for young people especially in cities with designated spaces for arts and culture such as the creative quarter of Nottingham. It seems to me that it is becoming increasingly important for organisations within these spaces to engage with young people as some schools are forced to squeeze arts and creative subjects out of the curriculum especially at the upper end of secondary education.

Over the past few years I have been tracking the work of Greenshoots  as they have worked with young people on a range of creative projects. Most recently from their new base The Lofthouse, a former lace making warehouse, in the creative quarter, I have watched how they have worked with young people to devise a performance which focuses on the history of lace making within Nottingham City. I talk a little about how I have theorised the processes and practices I have observed in this short film:

Recently Becky Parry and I went to the Media Education Summit in Boston. Through talking about the work of Greenshoots I was fortunate enough to be given an introduction to Susan Rodgerson who has founded an amazing organization in Boston,  Artists for Humanity. A colleague from Bournemouth University, Michelle Cannon and I were invited to visit.

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The AFH building in Boston.

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Rob, one of the original first students to work with Susan and Free one of the mentors on their way in from a visit to a high school where they have been asked to design some mural work.

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One of the artist mentors sets to work on a former billboard. Imagine the space with 200 easels and 200 teenagers being paid to paint three evenings a week alongside their mentors.


AFH is an inspirational venture and one I have enjoyed talking to Greenshoots about. As I continue to think about how young people in one city in England engages with creative and cultural organisations I am sure I shall return to my notes and photographs from the trip to AFH.