Collaborative, community-engaged, often trans-disciplinary in nature, I have worked on a number of multimedia projects that have largely fallen into the category of public scholarship, which has been defined by the University of Washington Certificate Program in Public Scholarship as
refer(ring) to diverse modes of creating and circulating knowledge for and with publics and communities. It often involves mutually-beneficial partnerships between higher education and organizations in the public and private sectors. In coming to these forms of ‘applied’ scholarship, humanities scholars have emphasized the way that culture in its many forms mediates interactions, development, and knowledge. Publicly-engaged scholarship yields diverse artifacts, informing knowledge in multiple domains (University of Washington Certificate in Public Scholarship website, 2014).
My dissertation research is an exploration of the professional legacy of a historical forbear of similarly collaborative, boundary-spanning work: Social worker, researcher and journalist, Paul U. Kellogg. Kellogg harnessed the most advanced visual technologies of his time in service of progressive social change. In social surveys such as The Pittsburgh Survey and his editorship of two widely read periodical publications, The Survey and Survey Graphic, Kellogg brilliantly combined documentary photography, art, maps, data, and textual narratives with the goal of making unavoidably visible the inequities of industrializing America. Indeed his work prefigures current trends toward use of new media in community-engaged research and public scholarship.
Over the past decade, the social work practice and research projects of which I have been a part have primarily taken place within the context of partnerships between university departments and a variety of organizations, health care providers, and school systems and have addressed early childhood intervention, maternal mental health, and youth work. My own research interests in social work have explored the evolution of social work professional identity with a concentration on place-based community intervention.
Another developing line of research focuses on participatory arts practices as transformational tools for community building, social action, and resilience and healing.