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Boston College Alumna Patricia Leavy Honored with National Creativity Award

"trailblazing sociologist" noted for advancing arts-based research


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (September 2014) – Boston College alumna Patricia Leavy has been named winner of the 2014 American Creativity Association Special Achievement Award, which honors achievement in innovation and creativity in all fields from medicine to technology to education. Previous ACA Special Achievement Award winners include astronaut John Glenn and Jack Kilby, inventor of the microchip, as well as corporate groups including LEGO and Pixar Animation Studios. Leavey, who received a master's degree and doctorate in sociology from BC, is the first sociologist to receive this honor.

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Boston College alumna Patricia Leavy

Leavy was recognized for her work advancing arts-based research, which merges the creative arts with scientific or social research in order to make the products of research more accessible to the public. Leavy is the founding editor of the Social Fictions book series, the first book series ever published by an academic press which is written entirely in literary form but grounded in scholarly research.

The American Creativity Association award citation reads, in part:  

“Dr. Patricia Leavy is a trailblazing sociologist and one of the world’s most influential leaders in arts-based research (ABR). Dr. Leavy has been the world’s most vocal advocate of ABR as a means of creative and public scholarship. In addition to the many books she has authored on the topic, including the best-selling Method Meets Art: Arts-Based Research Practice, Dr. Leavy has taken her work public by routinely talking with media, publishing op-eds and blogs including for The Huffington Post and The Creativity Post, and speaking at universities and international conferences.

Of her many achievements, she is widely recognized for pioneering the Social Fictions book series which is the first book series published by an academic press to solely publish the products of ABR. The series, [which] includes full-length novels, short story collections, poetry and plays written by professors and researchers and grounded in scholarly research, represents a watershed moment in the academy and publishing and is a landmark achievement. Dr. Leavy’s work has had a profound impact on research practices and the dissemination of research findings within and beyond the academy on an international scale and for this we honor her as a visionary.”

Leavy has published 14 nonfiction books, including The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research; Fiction as Research Practice; Essentials of Transdisciplinary Research: Using Problem-Centered Methodologies and Method Meets Art: Arts-Based Research Practice. She is also the author of two novels, American Circumstance and Low-Fat Love, and the editor of five book series. She was named the 2010 “New England Sociologist of the Year” by The New England Sociological Association.

Leavy received her award at a ceremony on September 12 in Philadelphia. 


—Office of News & Public Affairs