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Methodological Design

We have designed a methodology to articulate spiritual practice, artistic exploration, self-observation, dialogue, and systematic analysis that includes the following tools,which the artists use as researchers of their own experience:


Interviews Based on the "River of Spiritual Life" Exercise

At the beginning of the Laboratory, artists recall and share the various spiritual paths they have traveled, in an effort to show how these paths have converged throughout their history of artistic creation. To do so, participants create a drawing in the shape of a river, which includes the fundamental milestones in their artistic and spiritual life. Narrative interviews are then conducted based on these existential maps.


Each Laboratory participant keeps a diary that narrates their personal creative and spiritual processes. These diaries can be used in a free and unstructured way, but they contain pretexts –texts and images- organized according to the thematic sequence of the workshop cycles.

See more diaries


As motivation, and to help focus attention on the creative processes that can shed light on how art generates spiritual understanding, the diaries include a Toolbox for Self-exploration. This toolbox consists of a series of questions that artists can use freely to fuel self-reflection.


Autoethnographic Text

In the autoethnographic exercise, researchers become subjects of research and systematically introspect their own experience in order to understand it and create the written story of it. Using their own journals, each artist develops a personal text that describes the way in which their artistic creation offers spiritual insights while also describing the particularities of the Laboratory's context and the community of practice that facilitates these insights.

Hermeneutic Analysis

The "Rivers of Life"  interviews, the diaries, the transcripts of dialogues, and the autoethnographic texts are analyzed in an attempt to identify common elements, recurring motifs, and patterns that account for the ways in which understanding emerges in spiritual experience and develops at different levels (the creative process, the work of art, the artist’s life, records in diaries, collaborative reflection in the dialogues) and leads to the researcher’s interpretive reading.


This analysis implies an initial coding based on the categories implicit in the Toolbox for Self-exploration, as well as other emerging categories. Researchers discuss the results of this exercise and attempt to make explicit the presuppositions that guide the interpretation in order to review, confront, and eventually transform them in dialogue with the analyzed materials and with the artists who generated them. The goal of this hermeneutically oriented inquiry, therefore, is not so much to understand others, but rather to understand something with others. In this way, the different co-researchers (artists-researchers, philosophers, social scientists) recognize themselves as interpreters, whose ways of seeing and understanding are transformed in the investigative exercise.


See research results

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