'Stepping Back' as Researchers: Addressing Ethics in Arts-Based Approaches to Working with War-Affected Children in School and Community Settings


Date of publication:  01 Apr 2014 Author:  Bree Akesson Miranda D'Amico Myriam Denov Fatima Khan Warren Linds Claudia A Mitchell Publisher:  Educational Research for Social Change (ERSC) Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

There is a need for an ethically responsible means of conducting arts-based research with children affected by global adversity, including children affected by war. The multiple effects of war on children remains a global issue. While there are many approaches to working with war-affected children, participatory arts-based methods such as photo voice, drama, and drawing are being increasingly relied upon. However, what are the ethical issues and how are researchers and practitioners taking up these issues in school, community, and "on the street" settings? By reviewing the literature on ethical issues that may arise when working with children through arts-based methods, this article identifies four critical ethical issues that represent specific challenges in relation to children affected by war: (1) informed consent; (2) truth, interpretation, and representation; (3) dangerous emotional terrain; and (4) aesthetics. The article highlights current gaps in the research and poses several unanswered questions in arts-based research with war-affected children.

Keywords: Arts-based Research; War-affected Children; Ethics; Informed Consent; Interpretation

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