Allowing the Artwork to Speak: the use of a visual display as research method in a retrospective study of four years’ artwork in art therapy with a four-year old boy

Frances Prokofiev


This paper presents the curating of a visual display of all the artwork from a child’s art therapy for the purpose of understanding the art processes and managing a very large number of pictures. The paper is in two parts: a video documenting the display and an accompanying text. The visual display, arranged chronologically, was found to produce useful information for research and preserve the freshness of the original intent of the child in making the work. The information gathered offers rich pathways to follow in further research into this case. It is concluded that a review of all the pictures, whether in exhibition format or in a more informal review, helps to isolate and foreground the narrative of the art making and offers an effective and unbiased way for an art therapist to gather data to write case studies.

Keywords: art therapy research, visual display, retrospective review of the images, visual methodology, art process, curating

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