So we spent another hour in the park making records this time (as quite an obvious student group, notepads, sketch books, cameras and microphones all over!).
Back in the computer lab, we had a first pass at interpreting the data – looking for themes, labeling, categorising and playing with some of the technology in terms of sound editing and video editing for those working with that medium. I was able to flesh out some of my disjointed head-notes into more sensible sentences and type them up.
One thing I am trying to come to grips with, and the reason I went to this workshop was how to bring together the different media of data records I have from my work in Svalbard, which is very multi-modal and spans the media of still images, audio (both soundscapes and interviews) as well as field notes. And how to do so in a meaningful way, which effectively tells the stories I think are important and responds to the research questions. This was the real challenge that presented itself to us on the second day.
We were up against a 2pm deadline to decide on a theme and response to the research questions, interpret, edit and combine the different mediums of records we had to do this. For us the hard part was a theme, we all had different interests and aspects that were particularly strong in our records. In the end we decided to focus on something quite specific. Which we felt is key to what makes that space in the city different from its surroundings. Whether our communication of this is clear, interesting, thought provoking or something else, maybe you can let me know in the comments!?
One of the groups did a video which included some audio snippets of them discussing what and how to record things, the equipment, what themes they were thinking about. Though it turned out this was unintentional, something they were trying to edit out, I really liked this as it was honest and served to situate the researcher in the research environment and to me this spoke to my own experience of the place as meaningful. Here’s a few thoughts from my field notes on this:
Performativity potential of being a researcher – as a group, are we more or less noticeable than individuals? Do we have more or less license/ authority to research? What is the effect of having a video camera/notepad/recorder and people noticing what we are doing. We could decide to be outrageous in some way, disruptive of the space and look for reactions, but no one has taken that route as yet. The familiar awkwardness of approaching people and encroaching on their corner, seems amplified in the group setting and more weird in the open grass area than the more sheltered bench area – which seems more set up for social interaction.
This made me realise that perhaps my observations are a little lazy in terms of focusing on what I am feeling, and other aspects I think are less well recorded or less easily recorded by other media, like smell, touch, temperature. Hence when I got my notes back, they were acting as a memory jogger but some of the things I wanted to jog were not actually there like they normally would be – I needed to go back and describe them simply and perhaps a little more objectively to situate the emotions and other things I had noted down. In other words it was good to experiment with being more thorough with just one medium.
 Dicks, B., Soyinka, B., Coffey, A. (2006) ‘Multimodal ethnography’, Qualitative Research, 6(1), 77–96.