Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

Winter 3-9-2023

Publication Title

American Journal of Arts Management


Organizational Communication


Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business


This article explores the benefits of incorporating the photo-elicitation method into interviews within arts and cultural administration, leadership, and management research. Photographs are often used to open communications when traditional verbal communication is less reliable, or hindered by cross-cultural interactions. Within the arts and culture, researchers often use different terminology than administrative practitioners, and administrators often use different terminology than art makers and creative practitioners. Photo-elicitation serves to bridge those gaps in communication and open participants up to opportunities for deeper reflection. This article gives examples from one narrative inquiry study that utilized both exclusively verbal questions and also photo-elicitation in order to provide guidance for the usefulness of photographs as an interview tool.


While this study focused on rural arts organizations, photo-elicitation, as a qualitative research method, is valuable in any work that reaches across borders, boundaries, cultures, and identities. Evoking responses through images breaks through colonial constructs by empowering participants to speak and represent themselves. This is work that is important across the nonprofit sector, as we research, educate, and work with diverse populations.



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