Arts Lab

Insight Exchange and the Arts     


“The problem of violence is inextricably linked to the problem of representation”

Dr Linda Coates & Dr Allan Wade

Arts Lab

Since the inception of Insight Exchange, we have been learning about and taking up our responsibility to carefully and ethically represent experiences of domestic and family violence, in order to inform social, service and system responses.

The Language Lab on Insight Exchange draws directly from the important work of Centre for Response-Based Practice, Canada. The Language Lab provides information on the role of language in representing violence and abuse, and tools to help us use language to more accurately represent violence and other adversities[i]

So far, we have focused on our responsibility of representation of domestic and family violence through language and we are extending our representation to include the use of visual arts.

[1] Dr Linda Coates and Dr Allan Wade (2007), 'Language and Violence: Analysis of Four Discursive Operations', Journal of Family Violence, 22:511-522.

Our Intention

  • To provide ways to engage with lived experience insights about domestic and family violence beyond relying on the written word.
  • To illuminate visual metaphors and symbols used by Insight Exchange participants as part of how they describe their lived experience.
  • To generate new visual representations of violence in public imagery that centre on dignity and are informed by lived experience insights.
  • Use imagery to ignite curiosity and engagement across sectors and community toward listening to and reflecting on insights from people with lived experience of domestic and family violence.

Avenues for development

  • Generation of visual imagery for social media and website platform.
  • Engagement with digital facilitators to produce animations and related images.
  • Commissioning of original photo-media artwork for representing of lived experience insights and other elements of Insight Exchange materials.

We acknowledge that despite our best efforts to assemble with a person a more accurate representation of some of their experiences of violence, we can never fully understand all that their experiences mean to them now or through their life.  We understand that no one’s life experience can ever be fully represented in language or any other form.

Specific Projects and Collaborators

View the Arts Lab Collection.

Read about the Voices of Insight Collection with collaborating Artist Louise Whelan

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