Evaluating the Emotional Impact of Environmental Artworks Using Q Methodology

Author: Lesley Brook

Evaluating the Emotional Impact of Environmental Artworks Using Q Methodology

Lesley Brook
5 August 2021


By engaging audience emotions, the creative arts can prompt people to consider societal issues in different ways and hence influence views and behaviours. While audience members bring their unique personal characteristics to the art experience, their
emotional responses to art may be shared somewhat. To contribute to understanding audience emotional engagement, this empirical study investigates the emotional responses of viewers to an exhibition of environmental artworks. Q methodology is used
with images to evaluate emotional responses to artworks, after the participants have experienced the exhibition. The 25 participants sorted 54 images from their strongest positive to strongest negative emotional responses to the artworks depicted, then described their emotional responses in a semi-structured interview. A wide range of emotions were reported by participants, including multiple and mixed positive and negative emotions to single artworks. Statistical analysis of participants’ Q sorts
revealed five groups of participants who shared emotional responses to the artworks. Differences between the groups can be accounted for by the level of participants’ prior experience of contemporary art and by the different ways in which participants perceive negative emotions. Variance within the groups is explained by personal influences contributing to differences in participants’ emotional responses to the artworks.

Lesley completed her Master of Professional Practice by publication. Publications included:

Keywords: Q methodology, emotional impact, connectedness, impact evaluation, research management

Lesley's research was supervised by Martin Andrew and Glenys Forsyth.


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