Research Innovation: Advancing Arts-based Research Methods to Make Sense of Micro-moments Framed by Dementia


  • Lilli Mittner UiT - The Arctic University of Norway
  • Rikke Gürgens Gjærum UiT - The Arctic University of Norway



arts-based research, situated art intervention, aesthetic analysis, practice-led research, dementia


In this article we discuss how to develop methodological tools to guide social innovation in the arts and health movement. We approach this question by making research within Artful Dementia Research Lab as transparent as possible by 1) describing study designs 2) presenting arts-based datasets, and 3) giving insight into what we define as aesthetic analysis. We outline four premisses of situated art intervention research and what it can add to practice-led research.  We close with an invitation to the reader to further discuss how to make arts-based research methods more visible and bringing them to the table of established research standards.

Author Biographies

Lilli Mittner, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway

Lilli Mittner is senior researcher at UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, Centre for Women's and Gender Research

Rikke Gürgens Gjærum, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway

Rikke Gürgens is professor and vice rector at UiT - The Arctic University of Norway


Basting, A. (2020). Creative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care. HarperOne.

Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. Signs, 28(3), 801–831.

Bartlett, B. (2014). Citizenship in action: The lived experiences of citizens with dementia who campaign for social change. Disability & Society, 1–14.

Bourriaud, N. (2007). Relasjonell estetikk, Oslo: Pax Forlag.

Birt, L., Poland, F., Csipke, E., & Charlesworth, G. (2017). Shifting dementia discourses from deficit to active citizenship. Sociology of Health & Illness, 39(2), 199–211.

Bjerke, A. (1951) Den hemmelige sommer, Oslo: Aschehoug.

Boyd, C. P., & Edwardes, C. (2019). Non-Representational Theory and the Creative Arts. Springer Singapore: Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bresler, L. (2006). Toward Connectedness: Aesthetically Based Research. Studies in Art Education, 48(1), 52–69. JSTOR.

Butler-Kisber, L. (2018). Qualitative inquiry: Thematic, narrative and arts-based perspectives. SAGE.

Crowhurst, M., Emslie, M. (2020) Arts-Based Pathways into Thinking: Troubling Standardization, Enticing Multiplicities, Inhabiting Creative Imaginings, New York: Springer.

Daichendt, G. J. (2012). Artist scholar: Reflections on writing and research. Intellect Ltd.

Dalby, K., & Rolland, T. (2020). På labben: UiT Harstad—Karoline Dalby. Forskningsdagene, Forskningsrådet.

Daykin, N. (2019). Social movements and boundary work in arts, health and wellbeing: A research agenda. Nordic Journal of Arts, Culture and Health, 1(01), 9–20.

Denzin, N. (2003) Performance Ethnography: The Politics and Pedagogies of Culture. London: Sage.

Dewey, J. (1934). Art as Experience (1st ed.. TarcherPerigee.

Eggebø, H. (2020). Kollektiv kvalitativ analyse. Norsk sosiologisk tidsskrift, 4(02), 106–122.

Fleetwood-Smith, R., Tischler, V., & Robson, D. (2021). Using creative, sensory and embodied research methods when working with people with dementia: A method story. Arts & Health, ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print), 1–17.

Fyrand, L. (2016). Sosial nettverk: Teori og praksis (3rd ed.). Utgivelsessted: Universitetsforlaget.

Gjærum, R.G. (2010) Usedvanlige informanter gir særegne narrativer: metaforisk teksttolkning og beskrivelsen av opplevelse, Gjærum, R.G. (2010) Usedvanlig kvalitativ forskning, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, p. 138 - 161.

Haseman, B. (2006). A Manifesto for Performative Research. Media International Australia, 118(1), 98–106.

Hopperstad, M. H. (2005). Alt begynner med en strek: når barn skaper mening med tegning. Oslo: Cappelen akadmisk forlag.

Hughes, J. C. (2014). The aesthetic approach to people with dementia. International Psychogeriatrics, 26(9), 1407–1413.

Impett, J. (2017). Artistic research in music: Discipline and resistance: Artists and researchers at the Orpheus Institute. Leuven University Press.

Jeffers, C. S. (1993). Research as Art and Art as Research: A Living Relationship. Art Education, 46(5), 12–17.

Keady, J. D., Campbell, S., Clark, A., Dowlen, R., Elvish, R., Jones, L., Kindell, J., Swarbrick, C., & Williams, S. (2020). Re-thinking and re-positioning ‘being in the moment’ within a continuum of moments: Introducing a new conceptual framework for dementia studies. Ageing & Society, 1–22.

Knowles, J. G. (2008). Handbook of the arts in qualitative research: Perspectives, methodologies, examples, and issues. SAGE.

Koro, M., Löytönen, T., & Cruz, J. (2020). Public Performances and Art-Based Interventions in Liminal Academic Spaces. Qualitative Inquiry, 26(8–9), 1060–1070.

Leavy, P. (Ed.). (2018). Handbook of arts-based research. The Guilford Press.

Lie, S. (2012) Slipp ordene løs, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Lotherington, A. T. (2019, 9 January). Artful Dementia: Feminist Theory Applied by Ann Therese Lotherington. International Network for Critical Gerontology.

Mittner, L., Dalby, K., & Gjærum, R.G. (2022). Aesthetic perspectives on dementia. Exploring the ‘gap’ as a potential space of creativity in the moment. Nordic Journal of Arts, Culture and Health, 3(1-2)

Mittner, L., Basting, A., & Artful Dementia Lab. (2022). Pioneering Creative Care. Anne Basting about how to engage meaningfully with people living with dementia. DRAMA, 59(1), 28–32.

Mittner, L., & Gjærum, R. G. (2021). Situating an Art Intervention with People Living with Dementia in a public space. Nordic Journal of Arts, Culture and Health, 3(01–02), 116–121.

Mittner, L. (2021). Resonating moments. Exploring socio-material connectivity through artistic encounters with people living with dementia. Dementia, 21(1)

Mittner, L., Grøn, T., & Bergli, T. (Directors). (2020). Artful Dementia Film. Zenodo.

Meyer, S. (2015). Kunst og etikk, Oslo: Cappelen Damm.

Neelands, J. & Goode, T. (2015). Structuring Drama Work: 100 Key Conventions for Theatre and Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pink, S. (2009). Doing sensory ethnography. Sage Publications.

Rolland, T. (2020). Vil endre synet på demens gjennom kunst og kultur. Forskning.No.

Spry, T. (2006). Performing Autoethnography: An Embodied Methodological Praxis. In S. Hesse-Biber & P. Leavy, Emergent Methods in Social Research (pp. 183–212). SAGE Publications, Inc.

Strom, K. (2018). Decentering the Researcher in Intimate Scholarship (Vol. 31). Emerald Publishing Limited.

Strømsvold, L (2015). Barn tegner livet, [master thesis] Stavanger: Universitet i Stavanger.

Szatkowski, J. (1985). Når kunst kan bruges: om dramapædagogik og æstetik. In Szatkowski, J, Jensen, C., M. B., Arnfred, H., Nielsen, T. Dramapædagogik i nordisk perspektiv. Gråsten: Teaterforlaget Drama.

Thoen, E., Skraastad, M. (2015). Samtykkekompetanse – sjelden enten eller. Tidsskift for sykepleie, 11. pp. 46–50.

Ursin, G., & Lotherington, A. T. (2018). Citizenship as Distributed Achievement: Shaping New Conditions for an Everyday Life with Dementia. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 20(1), 62–71.

Vaart, G. van der, Hoven, B. van, & Huigen, P. P. (2018). Creative and Arts-Based Research Methods in Academic Research. Lessons from a Participatory Research Project in the Netherlands. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19(2).

Veal, C. (2014). Bringing the land foundation back to earth: A new model for the critical analysis of relational art. Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 6(1), 23701.

Willumsen, E., Ødegård, A. (2020). Samskaping - sosial innovasjon for helse og velferd, Oslo: Universitetsforlag 33.

Yoeli, H., Macnaughton, J., McLusky, S., & Robson, M. (2020). Arts as Treatment? Innovation and resistance within an emerging movement. Nordic Journal of Arts, Culture and Health, 2(02), 91–106.

Zeilig, H., West, J., & van der Byl Williams, M. (2018). Co-creativity: Possibilities for using the arts with people with a dementia. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 19(2), 135–145. 20.

Østern, T. P., Jusslin, S., Nødtvedt Knudsen, K., Maapalo, P., & Bjørkøy, I. (2021). A performative paradigm for post-qualitative inquiry. Qualitative Research, 14687941211027444.

Photo from inside a church showing a circle of seated people seen from above. ©Thomas Rolland/ADLab




How to Cite

Mittner, L., & Gjærum, R. G. (2022). Research Innovation: Advancing Arts-based Research Methods to Make Sense of Micro-moments Framed by Dementia . Nordic Journal of Art & Research, 11(1).