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  2. Space, Power and Vision: Advanced Postgraduate Methods in Geographical Research

Space, Power and Vision: Advanced Postgraduate Methods in Geographical Research

Dates
Friday, November 11, 2016 - 10:00 to 16:00
Location
Berrill Lecture Theatre, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

The Day School will engage with advanced methods in geographical research. Power has been a topic in geographical research for a long time. In the first half of the day Professor John Allen will look at different ways of thinking about power, the variety of ways it can be registered, using an example to draw out the differences and similarities between approaches. He will also explore what difference geography and space can possibly make to the way power works. This will be followed by workshops with Dr Johanna Wadsley and Dr Pete Wood looking at finer aspects of power. The second half of the day will focus on the expanding field of visual research methods, particularly as the image-heavy social media platforms become increasingly common. Professor Gillian Rose will suggest that if images are to continue to be taken as useful tools in understanding social life, this may well require a radical expansion of visual research methods. She will argue that visual research methods must engage more fully with the range of issues raised by the fact that so much of contemporary everyday visual culture is created and shared digitally. This will be followed by workshops with Dr Esther Ruiz-Ben and Ms Kim Hammond on visualization methods and digital histories of environmental change.

Programme - 10:00-16:00
FREE TO ATTEND
 

10:00 - Registration

10:30-11:30 – Plenary 1

Professor John Allen - How do the powerful get what they want?

Or in the classic formulation: how do the powerful get others to do things they would otherwise not have done? Well, it depends. It depends on what you think power is and how it is exercised. The first part of the talk will look at different ways of thinking about power, the variety of ways it can be registered, using an example to draw out the differences and similarities between approaches. Following that, what difference geography and space can possibly make to the way that power works will be explored. Finally, how we study power and influence as part of the research process will be considered and possible methods outlined.

 

11:30-13:00 – Parallel workshops (coffee served at workshops)

Workshop 1 – Dr Johanna Wadsley - Negotiating power: researching ‘expert insiders’ and ‘elites’

This workshop is aimed at students who are, or will be conducting qualitative research involving ‘expert insiders’ and/or ‘elite’ groups. We will look at the ways that elites are theorized and defined within and across the disciplines that inform geography research, and how the definition of a given ‘elite’ brings with it certain perspectives on sample size, identification, access and recruitment. We will consider the interlinked issues of power and integrity and how they might be negotiated empirically and, from that, how to manage the political and methodological aspects of validity. Students are asked to come prepared to share their own experiences, concerns and questions, whether these have arisen before, during or after fieldwork.

Workshop 2 – Dr Peter Wood - Space, Power, Mobility (and Deciding to Live in your Fieldsite)

The workshop explores how mobile and participatory methods are practically applied to collect data. We will explore key methodological debates through practical examples from my qualitative fieldwork. It will firstly cover the go-along (& ride-along), diary-interview and focus group, and the translations required to apply them to different forms of flow, network, power and space.  Secondly, we will examine the tensions between Participatory Action Research and Pathways to Impact. Discussion will be prompted by my experiences of starting as an over-informed “outsider”, becoming a resident, and eventually building significant connections with local government, business and civil society groups. We will end with an opportunity to ask for and share expertise.

13:00-13:30 – Lunch

 

13:30-14:30 – Plenary 2

Professor Gillian Rose - Visual research methods in an expanded field: digital, mass and mobile

What are the implications of selfies and memes, of YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, Flickr and Vine, for visual research methods?  The lecture will suggest that image-heavy social media platforms raise three methodological questions for visual research methods: questions of scale, of attentiveness and of pattern.  The lecture will explore these and suggest that if images are to continue to be taken as useful tools in understanding social life, this may well require a radical expansion of visual research methods. It will argue that visual research methods must engage more fully with the range of issues raised by the fact that so much of contemporary everyday visual culture is created and shared digitally.

 

14:30-16:00 – Parallel workshops (coffee served at workshops)

Workshop 3 - Dr Esther Ruiz-Ben - Visualization methods for the analysis of topographies of work

What is the contribution of visualization methods for understanding the configurations of work along digitally connected places of social life? This lecture will show how visualization methods can contribute to show how the boundaries of work between several places of social life are reconfigured through digitalization. The lecture is structured in three parts. In a first part we will explore the visualization of workplaces extended to private homes or public transportation through digitalization. The second part will focus on the visualization of work chains in global labour markets digitally connected. The third part will discuss the implications of the use of visualization methods for understanding the changing topographies of work through digitalization.

 

Workshop 4 – Dr Kim Hammond - Earth in Vision - Digital Histories of Environmental Change: collaborative pathfinding in the BBC archives

This is an interactive workshop exploring a range of methods used in the Earth in Vision project. The session starts with an introduction to the project, its aims, objectives and the methods used.  The session includes a chance to participate in a typical Earth in Vision research workshop, and to discuss and reflect on this method and the data we’ve collected this way. The workshop closes with a consideration of the other methods used, including semi structured interviews with ‘elites’ (environmental film makers / television (BBC) executives), sampling for BBC archive content, and creating  ‘metadata’.

 

To attend the event, please register here.

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