Learning from Arts: Using Abstract Painting to Discover New Understandings and Approaches That Are Relevant for Both Personal Development and Consulting Practice

  • Pleuntje Van Meer
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Business, Arts and Humanities book series (PSBAH)


In this chapter, I describe how art, dwelling and self-inquiry can enrich learning from within; how they can bring potential to life and how they can give insights as they extend epistemology beyond intellectual, textual knowing. As an autoethnographic researcher, I use personal experience, my artistic journey and paintings to illustrate these concepts. I furthermore describe how art has influenced my professional practice as a management consultant working with values and change. This type of research is dependent on the relational principles of connecting to our inner selves and to others. It was stimulated by my doctorate using Action Research and has benefited from the connections made during that process.


Painting Practice Arts-based Methods Sensuous Scholarship reflexivityReflexivity Papal Supervision 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This inquiry took place in the context of undertaking a professional doctorate at Ashridge-Hult Business School. A significant contribution came from my colleagues at Ashridge, especially from my colleague Kathy Skerritt, for her insightful feedback and from my supervisor Margaret Gearty, whose guidance and feedback have been (trans)formative and for whose encouragement I am most grateful.

Further Resources

This chapter draws on my doctoral research (forthcoming), which is concerned with ontological learning, a concept which addresses learning as a sensuous, transformative process. Key underpinning theories to this work include aesthetics, arts-based learning, action research and feminism (growth-in-connection theory). My work draws on multiple methods, such as autoethnography, written inquiry and arts. As this could not all be explicitly discussed, for further reading, I refer to


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pleuntje Van Meer
    • 1
  1. 1.Synnova ConsultancyThe HagueThe Netherlands

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