South African Journal of Higher Education

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Shifting the paradigm: The need for assessment criteria for community engaged research in the visual arts

K Berman


The premise of this article is that the visual arts can provide a valuable tool for social transformation. The application of this role of the arts in community-engaged research has revealed specific challenges for developing broader assessment criteria for evaluation. This article will explore a case study of a Fine Art Masters student's communitybased research project that required an innovative and alternative methodology of research practice and supervision. I suggest evaluation criteria that accommodate the “public good”. South African Universities are faced with the challenge of re-imagining its identity and engaging with societal challenges.1
I argue that community-based research in the cultural disciplines is not only
compatible with global ambition in the intellectual sphere, but an active contribution to
it. This is a challenge for institutional transformation, which requires a new paradigm
and a new approach in knowledge seeking.2 Change is the intended outcome of community-based action research. It provides ways of moving from reflection and theorising to action. These moves must be made explicit so that the institutional imperatives of the universities and bureaucracies do not inhibit the potential of the research process.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 22 (3) 2008: pp. 515-537
AJOL African Journals Online