Narrating arts education research impact in and through research policy: affordances and constraints for professional transformation

Heidi Westerlund, Margaret Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Governments and funding agencies increasingly expect researchers to demonstrate the impact of their work not only within the academy but also for a range of stakeholders beyond academia. Whilst arts researchers have tended to resist impact measurement, in this article, we will describe one form of demonstrating impact, namely through writing impact narratives in order to argue that such writing can be effective in promoting learning and reflection on the researcher’s work in the society. We provide collaborative autoethnographic narrative accounts of our experiences as arts education researchers, located in Australia and Finland, of developing research impact narratives and consider the ways in which the development of impact narratives can shape researcher identities, research processes and epistemic cultures of disciplines. We suggest that impact narratives are inevitably retrospective but may also be future-oriented in the ways in which they structure ongoing research processes and future projects and their activities providing a space for ‘narrative learning’ and professional transformation. We also suggest that arts educators experiment with and explore the potential for narrative impact statements to inform and engage society beyond academia with research findings and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalArts Education Policy Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Aug 2020


  • Arts education
  • collaborative autoethnography
  • narrative learning
  • research impact

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