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The Type of Art Matters: Exploring How Different Arts Inform Sociology Research

A BSA Postgraduate Forum Regional Event

7 May 2024 (10:30–16:30)
Violet Laidlaw Room, 6 Floor, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15a George Square, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH8 9LD

About the Event

The event is dedicated to reflecting upon how the specific type of art might influence the premise, practice, and outcome of research. While recent decades have witnessed the call to bring the art back into the sociology of the arts research, art is still largely a unitary, abstract research subject in theoretical discussions. Its influence throughout the research process, from design to the fieldwork practice, has not been systematically examined. Some types of art are also less represented in the sociology of art research landscape.

How do researchers approach diverse kinds of arts – from music, fine art, to installation and film – differently? How do the artistic and material characteristics of artworks influence the research designs and the ways the researcher engages with the participants? How are various senses activated during the research process and how are they important to the research output?

This day event invites postgraduate students (Master’s or PhD) to explore the above questions with several sociologists of the arts. Students who do not identify themselves as such but whose research involves materiality, objects/things, creative methods, and beyond are also welcome.

Provisional Programme




Panel discussion and group discussion (panellists listed below).


Workshop (led by Dr Jimmy Turner).


Key Dates

  • Research statement submission: by 18 March 2024
  • Attendance confirmed and group allocation communicated: 1 April 2024
  • Registration open: 2 April 2024
  • Registration closed: 15 April 2024
  • Event date: 7 May 2024


This will be an in-person only event. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Registration will open on 2 April and the fees will be as follows:

  • BSA Members: £5
  • Non-Members: £15

This event has a limited, need-based budget to support travel fees for the participants from beyond Edinburgh. Upon receiving confirmation of acceptance to this event after the submission closes, the prospective participants will be asked if they would like to apply for such support and be provided with detailed instructions. If they are successful, tickets will be directly booked on their behalf. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee this travel support for everyone and every journey, so please consider your financial circumstance when applying to participate in this event.

The event will be hosted at the University of Edinburgh and convened by Jiayi Tian (PhD student in Sociology, School of Social and Political Science). It is supported by the BSA Sociology of Art Study Group. The School of Social and Political Science generously provided the venue and facilities.