Seeing more and seeing differently: sensemaking, mindfulness, and the workarts

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The past years have seen a marked rise in arts-based initiatives in organizations, a field we term the workarts. In this paper, we review the workarts in light of sensemaking theory, and especially the role of mindfulness within it. We propose that the workarts foster mindfulness by directing attention away from immediate work concerns and towards analogous artifacts. We identify three distinctive workarts movements - art collection, artist-led intervention, and artistic experimentation. In each movement, we find analogous artifacts that defamiliarize organizational members' habitual ways of seeing and believing, enabling them to make new distinctions and to shift contexts: to see more and see differently. Our review raises a number of questions for the workarts in particular and research on analogical artifacts in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1505-1530
Number of pages26
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Analogy
  • Art
  • Mindfulness
  • Sensemaking


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