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Cultural Safety in Participatory Arts-Based Research: How Can We Do Better?

Caroline Lenette

2022 Australia

The lack of scholarly engagement with the concept of cultural safety when discussing participatory arts-based methods is troubling. Despite stating their emancipatory aims, participatory researchers largely fail to discuss the underpinning principles of their methods and tend to apply those indiscriminately across contexts.

The absence of reflexivity can potentially cause harm to co-researchers and reinforce colonialist-infused research approaches. This paper aims to guide researchers to consider the methods they use, their origins, and how they can undertake research in culturally safe ways as part of the decolonization agenda. Researchers should pay careful attention to their positionalities and adopt a reflexive lens to assess how they use participatory arts-based methods to avoid culturally unsafe outcomes.