Phenomenological works of art that evoke
the essence of our lived experience.
The Phenomenological Art Collective is a research and creative arts lab at the University of West Georgia which utilizes arts-based phenomenological research to produce beautiful artwork that illuminates the deep meanings of various human phenomena. Members of this Collective experiment with innovative ways to disseminate phenomenological research to the public through the expressive arts such as: filmmaking, the visual arts, music, poetry, and dance.
Phenomenology is a philosophy and research method that produces knowledge about human experience by “going back to the things themselves” and exploring how people live through certain phenomena, experientially and directly. Phenomenology does not care for abstract conceptualization or theorizing, but rather produces knowledge by collecting people’s detailed descriptions of their personal experience as they have actually lived-through it, in order to discover profound insight about what it really means to be human. Phenomenology asks the question, “What really makes a phenomenon what it is?” For example: what makes the lived experience of empowerment what it is? What makes the experience of living in a time of coronavirus what it is? What makes the experience of being absorbed into written fiction what it is? Or the lived experience of breastfeeding in public as a new mother? Then, we collect and interpret people’s descriptions of these lived experiences to unearth key themes about the essence of this particular phenomenon.
While some position phenomenology as a type of science, it can also be considered a form of art. Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Van Manen have likened hermeneutic phenomenology to an artistic endeavor, because a work of art conveys its essential meanings to the viewer directly, sensually, and experientally. Accordingly, the Phenomenological Art Collective disseminates phenomenological research findings as artwork to convey our thematic insights in a way that can create profound emotional resonance among the public. The steps to perform this arts-based phenomenological method are available in the methods section of this website. The method is inspired by the direction of several researchers, theorists, and psychologists who are listed here.
The Phenomenological Art Collective is based in the Psychology Program at the University of West Georgia. It is founded by Dr. Nisha Gupta, assistant professor of psychology. Gupta currently teaches this method to UWG students in courses and as an advisor to their arts-based research dissertation and theses projects. She also produces her own arts-based research projects for social advocacy purposes; her work can be viewed at www.nishagupta.org and is also linked to this site. For questions, comments, or collaborations reach out to Dr. Nisha Gupta at firstname.lastname@example.org.