Show and tell: an arts-informed thesis unpacked

Document Type


Publication details

Cutcher, A 2009, 'Show and tell: an arts-informed thesis unpacked', paper presented at University of Sydney, Faculty of Education and Social Work Seminar, Sydney, NSW, 27 October.


The arts have many functions – as historical document, entertainment, artefact, narrative, catharsis, therapy, analytical device, social commentary, experiential record or research tool. It can decorate, embellish, satisfy, challenge, provoke, disgust and inform. My research and career interests have always revolved around the power of the arts to connect us to our inherent humanity as an essential cultural practice. Without the arts, we are somehow less human. My research journey, like my life journey, could not have been possible without being embodied through and with visual and literary arts forms. My PhD thesis utilises narrative, metaphor, autobiography, poetry, painting, digital media and printmaking. For me, these features have not been included as gimmicks. Rather, they are in themselves, a portrait of a researcher and my way of knowing, as much as they are research tools, artefacts, analytical devices or representations of experience or investigations. In this presentation, I hope to show and tell, inform and challenge, talk about my work, my processes and my priorities in an informal atmosphere that invites questions, debates and discussion.