Vintage Wine in New Bottles: Situating the Extraordinary Autobiographical Work of Charlotte Salomon (1917-1943) and the Evocative Arts-based Power of Her Interdisciplinary Visual Narrative

By Carl A. Bagley.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

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The evolving genre of arts-based research constitutes a range of arts-derived tools (music, literature, painting, dance, installation, drama) used by qualitative researchers at different phases of the research process, which may encompass data collection, analysis, and dissemination. Its primary purpose is to provide an audience with evocative access to multiple meanings, interpretations, and voices associated with lived diversity and complexity. Arts-based research is thus a genre that strives for new ways of seeing, knowing, and feeling. In reflecting temporally on the evocative power of arts-based research, the notion of vintage wine in new bottles is evoked to recover, situate, and critically reflect on the extraordinary interdisciplinary arts-based autobiographic work of Charlotte Salomon (1917 - 1943). Salomon, who died in Auschwitz in 1943, produced before her execution a remarkable and outstanding single body of work consisting of a series of over 769 gouache paintings titled, “Life? or Theater? A Play with Music”. The work integrates image, text and music, as she confronts the viewer with a visual narrative of her short life, speaking evocatively through time on multiple levels to a wide public audience. The aim of this paper is to herald and sociologically reflect on this work and its methodological and epistemological significance as a profound and early piece of arts-based research.

Keywords: Research Methods, Visual Narrative, Interdisciplinary, Epistemology

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp.33-43. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 677.479KB).

Prof. Carl A. Bagley

Professor of Educational Sociology, School of Education, Durham University, Durham, County Durham, UK

Professor Carl Bagley, PhD, FRSA, holds a Chair in Educational Sociology at Durham University, UK. His main research interests reside in the area of education policy and critical arts-based research. He co-founded the Special Interest Group (SIG) Arts and Inquiry in the Visual and Performing Arts in Education within the American Educational Research Association (AERA). The SIG was the first committed to exclusively providing a live performance space for researcher/artists at AERA’s annual conference.