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Research Methods in Interdisciplinary Environments – an event for postgraduate researchers

Friday 30 October 2015

Date: Thursday 5 November
Time: 4-6pm
Location:  City Centre Seminar Room, second floor, Francis Bancroft Building, Mile End campus

Photography as Evidence: Research, Collection and Dissemination (Greg Constantine, Photographer, QMUL Distinguished Visitor)
Documentary photography and visual storytelling has the capacity to provide effective evidence related to human rights and other injustices.  It provides a point of departure for reflecting on histories that have been challenged as well as the way current situations of rights abuse are discussed.  I will present work from the project Nowhere People, which is a comprehensive exploration and documentation of the impact the denial of citizenship and statelessness has had on ethnic minority groups in over 15 countries around the world.  The discussion will focus specifically on the strategies I have taken over the 10-year project to collect and deliver a wide range of creative initiatives that utilize photography as a way to advance this complex human rights issue.  I will discuss the tactics I’ve taken to build collaborative efforts, create platforms that engage various target audiences and amplify local and regional advocacy efforts and utilize mixed media approaches including books, exhibitions and digital platforms to disseminate the work.  I will discuss the strategies I’ve has taken in two specific projects within the Nowhere People project on statelessness: Kenya's Nubians: Then & Now and Exiled To Nowhere: Burma's Rohingya.  

Ethnography, Access and Ethics (Dr Tarek Virani, QMUL)

Ethnographic fieldwork is a powerful way to open up and extend understandings of how human beings live in the world. It is a relational approach to social life in which the researcher is fully implicated. Unlike some methods, ethnography is not a technique that can be first mastered and then applied; this is due to the fact that every ethnographic study is unique because what the researcher is seeking is rich and texturized information describing a specific type of human praxis. In this sense ethnography is not something that somebody else can easily do for you, and the empirical, the analytical and the theoretical are intertwined from the start.
My session will be on the use of ethnographic methods in studying a particular artistic community. I will talk about my experience conducting ethnographic research and how gaining access always has inherent ethical issues connected to it.

Play, make, learn – Design research methods in the social sciences (Dr Mariza Dima, QMUL)
Designers employ a variety of hands-on methods to help them think about a problem or envisage an alternative possible future when there is not a problem to be solved per se. These methods enable creative thinking through making, offer a visual representation of the thought process and facilitate the intuitive process of analysis and synthesis that is inherent in the design process.  They can involve the making of paper based prototypes, such as storyboards or imaginary stories, use of inspiration boards to provide different lenses through which to look at something, or can involve actual development of high fidelity prototypes usually through intensive development events called hackathons. These methods are nowadays used widely in collaboration with the end users who are not trained in design but are considered experts in the area for which the design decisions will be made. Playful design methods have the potential to enable researchers outside the design field to identify patterns, synthesize not only solutions but also possible futures, offer a better and deeper understanding of the research area, and by requiring hands-on action, employing the art of making, provide another lens, that of enaction, through which we can rethink and refine the research questions. In this seminar, I will present a representative variety of design methods based on play and making, bringing examples from my own workshops, and I will invite the audience in a hands-on session to enable them to think how they could adjust these tools in their own research area and discipline. This will be a research-through-play on how design tools could be used fruitfully in the social sciences.

Greg Constantine is a US-born documentary photographer who has been based in SE Asia for the past 10 years.  His project on global statelessness, Nowhere People has been exhibited in over 20 countries since 2006 and three books have been published.  The most recent book, Nowhere People was just published.  His work has been exhibited in over 25 cities worldwide.  He has received grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Oak Foundation.  He is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at QMUL. (www.nowherepeople.org, www.exiledtonowhere.com, www.nubiansinkenya.com, @grconstantine). Greg is at QMUL as a Distinguished Visitor hosted by the School of Law and the Centre for the Study of Migration (Geography).
Dr Tarek E. Virani is a post-doctoral research associate at Queen Mary University of London where he works on the Creativeworks London project full time. He has contributed to research that examines various elements of: music scenes and cultural infrastructure, the role of knowledge in the cultural economy, cultural policy, creative and cultural hubs, artistic knowledge within locally bounded artistic communities, musical education, working historical geographies of cities, and interdisciplinary collaborations between higher education and the cultural economy. He is currently working on a number of projects that examine specific parts of the cultural economy within the city of London. Tarek is also an active musician and producer, releasing material regularly.

Dr Mariza Dima is an interaction designer, creative technologist and design researcher. She is currently working as a Post-Doc researcher at Creativeworks London leading research on the vibrant scene of London’s audiences and she has been investigating-by-design strategies for augmenting the audience experience through new media having worked within different areas such as museums, theatres, video game companies, film institutes and visual arts spaces. She has extensive experience in the conceptual design and development of interactions in different areas where design and technology can be applied creatively and prominently in performance art, theatre, and cultural heritage. Her academic research interests focus on creative techno-social design, collaborative and participatory design processes of applying technology creatively, which she studies in parallel to a project, adjusting or inventing design-led methods for workshops. In her Phd work she introduced ‘multiple streams of reflection’, a new co-design method advancing the concept of reflection during a collaborative project. Her work has been published widely in major conferences on Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Graphics and Design. (Web: http://marizadima.wordpress.com; Twitter: @Marizolde; LinkedIn: Mariza Dima)

Please register with Ginny Bernardout at g.bernardout@qmul.ac.uk.

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