Creating Knowledge in Common

Guest editors: Shannon Criss, Kevin Hamilton, Mary Pat McGuire

This Ground Works special edition, Creating Knowledge in Common, centers university-community partnered creative inquiry. The editors define creative inquiry as shared, open frameworks of knowledge-building that use a variety of tools for awareness, reflection, and creative making to ask questions and discover answers together. We invite submissions that illuminate arts-integrative creative inquiry conducted by teams who build common ground through university-based and community-based approaches.

In recent decades, universities have positioned themselves within a larger social system of change, sharing resources and using direct engagement and exchange to support knowledge creation across society. Community members also partner with faculty and students to establish common research and project goals, strengthened by a variety of ideas, knowledge, and perspectives. The arts and design fields provide a dynamic element to this partnered research, advancing issues of importance to communities.

This edition asks: What structures are needed to collectively and meaningfully build on diverse knowledge traditions from across academic and community practices? How do these efforts ensure that both processes of inquiry and the knowledge produced are of value to all parties? What new knowledge about collaboration do these efforts produce? How do arts-based approaches extend and enrich university-community collaborations? These types of questions are familiar to interdisciplinary research teams, and essential to supporting the equitability and impact of such projects.

The Call
The editors hope to bring together a rich variety of engagement methods, partnership dynamics, and participatory processes in a collection of case studies and models of community-university collaboration. Examples include collaborative partnerships that result in new creative works or that activate arts- or design-based processes in service of shared civic priorities.

We offer the following prompts for consideration:


  • What forms do impactful partnered creative inquiry efforts take?

  • How are these partnerships and their work valued both at the institutional level and the community level?

  • How do roles and relationships among the artist(s) and researcher(s) affect the structuring of the team?

  • How do new ways of working emerge in these partnered experiences? For students? For community activists? For others?


  • What processes generate inclusion and interactivity?

  • What role does embodiment have in participatory creative inquiry?

  • What reflective practices inform team dynamics, communication, and research evolution?

  • What role do the artifacts of creative process (e.g., drawings and performances, communications, media products, visualizations), and public “grey” literature (such as grant applications, meeting agendas, or even social media posts) play?

  • How do these artifacts become objects to think with, facilitating communication among academic and non-academic partners? What knowledge and whose power finds expression in those artifacts?


  • What gaps in university support for community stakeholders are exposed through these collaborative approaches?

  • How might collaborative approaches provide new models of diversity and equity and/or inspire new community-centered research projects?

  • How is research visible and available to a broader public to advance action?

  • How does university-community co-production of knowledge span language and value differences?

  • What evaluation methods are appropriate for the outcomes of such creative inquiry?

The most competitive submissions will:

  • interweave analysis of structures, processes, and outcomes

  • demonstrate how collective decision-making and idea exchange result in reciprocal relationships that advance new knowledge

  • make clear how the shared work benefits both the academic and the community partner

About Ground Works

Ground Works is a2ru’s peer-reviewed platform for arts-integrated research. With support from the a2ru network, Ground Works is open-access and free for readers and authors. a2ru considers the arts, interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and diversity to be integral to civic engagement and the making of a better world. Engaged partnership between institutions of higher education and communities is central to that mission.

Submission Guidelines

Ground Works is a platform for projects that have a degree of maturity. We encourage submissions from teams whose work has had at least some initial impact and external recognition.

Submissions from both academic and community partners are encouraged. Submissions may be collaborative or sole-author but should present a collective story and understanding of the partnered work. Successfully evaluated projects will be included in the special issue of Ground Works entitled Creating Knowledge in Common.

As with all submissions to Ground Works, submission to Creating Knowledge in Common begins with a brief Stage 1 suitability review that includes a short summary of the project, a statement of relevance, and appropriate links. You must sign in to begin the submission process and see specific prompts. Submissions are reviewed by Editors for relevance to the special issue, and for fit with the scope and mission of the journal. Submitters may then be invited to the second project review stage, in which they provide a focused 1,000 word narrative as well as media for their project. Stage 2 submissions are evaluated by two peer reviewers.

We may also solicit suggestions from community partners regarding the inclusion of content beyond the peer-reviewed project on the Ground Works site. We seek to include content for which archiving and dissemination is of direct and substantial benefit to community partners. Publication on Ground Works also has the potential to benefit the public in new ways, support greater activism, and attract needed resources.

All submissions to Stage 1 must be received by February 14, 2023.

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Guide for Authors

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Ground Works Exemplars

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Background, Acknowledgements and Context

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