Murals as a tool for action research
Murals created with severely marginalized people, where little information is publicly available, serve a particularly important communication function. The murals served as a tool for bringing people together, eliciting information, promoting research findings and enabling a power shift, such that those traditionally conceived of as research 'subjects' have control and sense of ownership of the research output. This chapter considers murals as tools for research. It focuses on the research design, rationale and impact of the work. The core attributes of these functions of visual methods or art-based interventions relate closely to the rationale for the use of murals: providing an accessible means of communication, encouraging new insights and building awareness of individual and collective experience. On a more theoretical level, the shift in the academic acceptance of visual methods may stem from epistemological developments. The work can be considered to have two broad and overlapping objectives: developing ideas; and encouraging change.