Arseli's research focuses on the intersection of performance, disability, media studies and medical anthropology. She addresses a different aspect of this intersection in each of her projects.
In one axis, she focuses on disability and micro-performances of everyday life. She practices visual ethnography and explores the performativity of the mundane through using what she calls "disability-as-method". As part of her practice-based projects, Arseli has developed an original application of the theory of affordances to the context of disability and performance. Her novel theorization of affordances has inspired the organization of a Special Event during McGill University's Disability Awareness Week. The day-long event was entitled "Radical Affordances" after her work.
In the other axis of her research, Arseli traces the crossovers of disease, disability and performance in the anthropology and history of medicine. In her FQRSC-funded postdoctoral research project, she has examined the emergence of Quality of Life measurements in health care, and how these instruments have been mobilizing various measurements of performance as a way to assess medical outcomes. In continuance of this project, Arseli has joined the University of Copenhagen's Department of Anthropology in order to work as a postdoctoral fellow on the European-Council funded project, "The Vitality of Disease - Quality of Life in the Making" (PI, Ayo Wahlberg).
Her areas of interests are: everyday performances, theories of performativity; the theory of affordances; disability, ill health; visual ethnography, media-creations, mobility paradigm; quality of life, well-being, measurements of functioning and performance.