Ethics in human research: enriching understandings of participatory research


This paper will argue that the process of applying for ethics approval in the social sciences provides an opportunity for deeper development and stronger research in art and design. The focus will be upon the relationships between the researchers and their participants. As such the paper will address the conference sub-theme of ‘Identities/ Subjectivities’. In so doing the following questions will be explored and indirectly addressed to the audience: Who are your research participants? Who are you in your current research project? What are the relationships between you and your participants? These three questions will provide the structure for the paper, which will engage with the current ethics application and feedback form used by ethics’ committees at the University of South Australia. An interpretative methodology will be used to critique research relationships in the processes of identification and subject formulation. A hypothetical example will be used to illustrate research relationships and ethical decisions which relate to art and design.

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Dr. Kathleen Connellan is Portfolio Leader of Research at the South Australian School of Art, University of South Australia. She has taught design and art history and theory for eighteen years, both in Australia and South Africa. She is vice –president of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Association and her main research interests and publications include critical race theory, gender representations, modernity and design and identity formations.