Metaphors-of-knowing: Exploring Sense Consciousness Through Art


  • Ruth Gibbons Massey University



Dyslexia, Knowing, Collaboration, Art


Exploring people’s everyday lives is central to anthropological participant observation. This article considers a different type of participant observation through art as a process of engaged exploration of the way people know the world. Working collaboratively with a variety of dyslexics in NZ and the UK, we sought to understand the dyslexia experience and what it means to be dyslexic from their perspective. Dyslexia research has a dominant focus on the neurological, abstracting experience into a neuro-self. Through the use of art we were able to refocus back onto everyday embodied experience. Through the act of making, my collaborators’ work evolved into investigations of complex ways-of-knowing, revealing how dyslexia impacted the way they paid attention to and expressed their knowing of the world. I take inspiration from Hogan and Pink (2010) and Rapport and Harris (2007), who have discussed the importance of understanding specific ways of knowing. In this project, art became an exploration of how dyslexics experience and know the world around them. Considering knowing requires being able to express this knowledge in ways which are relevant to what has been reflected. This article engages with embodied knowing and worlding through the artworks created by my collaborators, offering a new way to explore and represent people’s lived experiences.




How to Cite

Gibbons, R. (2018). Metaphors-of-knowing: Exploring Sense Consciousness Through Art. Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, 15(1).