Bridges Research:

Conducted by external evaluators and internally as part of an ongoing practice of Action Research as Professional Development
Group of educators talking around a table about the observations made during Bridges research.

Our Action Research Question:

What is it in arts activities that awakens students’ agency and expression, builds their confidence to take risks, persist with challenges, solve problems with autonomy, and feeds their learning in other subjects throughout the school day?


Internal Action Research as PD

Our design team engaged artists, teachers and administrators in 12 schools as practitioner researchers to address this inquiry question, develop activities and build a model, using methods crafted by ArtsConnection for over 20 years.

  • One teacher sits at a table experimenting with moving shapes around her puppet face while another sits next to her observing.
    How does ArtsConnection conduct Action research as PD?

    In our action research model, the design team, teachers, artists and children are all researchers, involved in experimentation and design, observing and describing their experiments, revising and developing further. To learn more about action research as PD and how it is conducted at ArtsConnection visit the Action Reasearch as PD page (coming soon)

  • How did Bridges PD set up the action researchers?

    Bridges Professional Development activities were structured to support teacher learning, and ground their action research.
  • How did research shape the bridges model?

    Internal findings led us to clarify the structures for teaching artistic process and streamline our model and activities for accessibility.

Evaluator Research

ArtsResearch conducted 9 years of mixed-method research on the impact of the Bridges program.

  • Teaching artist Donna Maria DeCreeft listens to a child speak about their torn paper collage backdrop.
    ArtsResearch found strong evidence of program effects on literacy and child development
    • Children benefit from experiencing language in an authentic manner, & physically embodying language.
    • Students used descriptive language for settings, characters, narrative and their artwork.
    • Students engaged in the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy in the cognitive and affective domains in order to create their art.
    more information about ArtsResearch, their methods & findings