International Journal of Social Research Methodology. Research Article.

This paper will explore the dichotomy of direction and stimulus through a reflection on arts-based methods used in a research study into post-industrial communities in South Wales and consider whether in participatory processes, a catalyst for artistic creativity could become construed as researcher-led control over the activities. Through an examination of the methods and outcomes of the project, which employed a range of qualitative methods with an artistic and creative basis, I reflect on the positives and negatives of such an approach and also consider how my positionality affected my epistemological stance. Ultimately, I conclude that the complex storying of participatory activities and the issues of power and identity involving both researcher and participants inevitably means that the research ‘dance’ blurs the distinction between participation and direction.