One of the things that has evolved as part of my explorations of the third space is a photographic exhibition – a series of portraits of third space staff. Several paths led to this particular adventure – a need for the catharsis of making the invisible, visible; an expression of the diverse skill sets of third space practitioners; and significantly, drawing on arts-based research practices with the awareness that the traditional ways we communicate academic research both exclude a large number of people and fail to create an emotional connection. I could not, in good faith, undertake research into third space experiences but only communicate it via traditional academic means. I am drawing on Amy Edmondson’s work on psychological safety, and the need for creating emotional connections with an institution in order for change to take place. The creative arts seem a logical place to begin to create emotional connections in an accessible, inclusive and non-confronting way.

The project itself is third space from start to finish. The photographers are all third space staff, as are each subject and myself as researcher/conceptual director/curator/facilitator of things (?). A key thing is the co-creation of the portraits – rather than imposing an artistic vision, each subject explores their own narrative and co-creates their own artistic concept and representation.

It’s still early stages, so watch this space – the goal is to create a digital exhibit as well as a physical one, to maximise visibility.


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