I could sum up how I feel so far this year with one word: grateful. Last year I had to cancel all of my professional appearances in order to have back surgery. I was devastated. One year later I find myself attending a slew of conferences and much to my surprise, picking up some incredible honors along the way. The truth is, it’s been an embarrassment of riches and I’m at a loss for words. The American Journal of Nursing selected Research Design as one of their best books of the year, in the category of Nursing Research. Research Design is one of my proudest achievements and I’m over-the-moon. I share this recognition with the incredible team at Guilford Press. But as it turns out, this was only the first of many surprises. My publishers and colleagues also teamed up and as a result I was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Wow. It’s just so lovely. Then on March 10th I traveled to SUNY-New Paltz to deliver the opening keynote address at the Arts-Based Research Symposium. I loved my keynote conversation with conference host Dr. Michael Viega, which we both agreed to record so anyone who wishes can watch it on YouTube. Boy did they have a surprise for me after the keynote. They have established “The Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” They gave me a beautiful plaque and then presented a student with the inaugural award. The award will be given annually. I have no words to describe how honored and humbled I am. For me, research practice is and should be intertwined with our value system so the spirit of the award moves me deeply. I also recognize how few women have awards bearing their names. I take that responsibility and honor very seriously. I had a wonderful time at New Paltz. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who waited in line to speak with me. I’m enriched by each of you.
I was floored to learn that I’m also the recipient of the American Educational Research Association Division D Significant Contribution to Educational Measurement and Research Methodology Award. They’re honoring Method Meets Art Second Edition because they believe it will “have a lasting influence.” I share this honor with the world-class publishing team at Guilford Press, including my incredible editor and friend, C. Deborah Laughton, without whom, this book would not exist. I will accept this award in person, on behalf of arts-based researchers. I’m elated that the committee chose this historical moment to recognize ABR. As I write this, I’m also preparing to head to the National Art Education Association conference to receive my Distinguished Service Outside the Profession Award. I’m honored to serve as a representative of the ABR community.
It’s been an exciting and humbling whirlwind. Since I was a little kid I’ve loved writing more than anything. Discovering the world of research methods and arts-based research was a blessing beyond words because it provided a purpose to my creative impulse. So I was already incredibly fortunate to be able to spend my life doing work that love. To receive this kind of extraordinary recognition from my peers is beyond words. I’m truly grateful. But many others could also benefit from the kinds of honors I’ve received and so I’d like to make a statement about awards moving forward. I will always be glad to accept recognition from outside of the arts-based research world because I can use it to promote the field of ABR, which is much bigger than my own work. Likewise, I’ll always be grateful for any accolades my books may be fortunate to receive, because books result from the invisible labor of many and I’m always glad to celebrate the hard work of my publishing teams. However, moving forward, I no longer wish to be nominated for any career awards expressly from arts-based groups (so I’m permanently removing myself from consideration for the ICQI lifetime achievement & AERA Tom Barone awards). Let’s spread it around and hopefully go well beyond “the usual suspects”. There are many scholars doing important work worthy of praise. For example, women often do so much work for so little recognition. I can think of a long list of women and non-binary individuals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds who ought to have their work honored. I plan to use any influence I may have to shine a light on their efforts.
At the end of the day, it’s really about writing and I’ve been busy. I published a piece about what it means to be a woman in the arts with Grammy-winner Paula Cole. My teenage-self thought that was pretty cool. I secretly finished my next novel—by far the most special thing I’ve ever worked on. It’s a new genre for me and the first novel Guilford Press will publish. I’m excited to meet with the trade team in New York City next month. The book will be out in early 2019. Can’t wait to share more details. I’m also immersed in writing another novel, one that is a return to my roots. Details soon. Thank you so much for all of the good energy and support. I’m grateful to be on this journey with all of you and hope to see you at spring conferences and book signings.
Love and light,