Garbutt, Ruth (2009) In bed with the arts... In: AHRC Beyond Text seminar series, 2009, Leeds, UK.

In the same way that an embryo is formed, exciting and creative new things can
evolve by a synergy of two things coming together. However, with new things, there
is always a process of adaptation and growing pains, as the new being takes shape
and form. This article will address some of the issues that arise through the
synthesis and innovative nature of collaboration between visual methodologies and
social research. It will draw specifically on examples from a recent research project
that looked at the sex and relationship needs of young people with learning
disabilities (hereafter referred to as the Sex and Relationships project), where drama
was used as a research tool. It will highlight the way in which the young people in
the study had their voices heard by producing a play based around their experiences
and views. The article will draw the discussion together by considering the
contested nature of visual methods and I will reflect on my own personal response
to being a researcher on the Sex and Relationships project. Finally, I will attempt to
answer the question, ‘…but is it really research?’

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