Video Diary

Participatory visual methods can allow for researchers and participants to respond and produce self reflective ethnographic work. They can provide means for direct and individual feedback to the research process, as well as collective co-creation across spatial distances, as was the case with ReSpace, or any other collaborative platform that speaks to how resources, mobility and access are unequally structured.

Particularly important within the PAR frame we designed was recognition of the power hierarchies embedded in all representational and narrative formations (well documented by postcolonial and feminists scholars). We were reminded of the varying degrees of diss/comfort that comes with exposing one’s personal reflections, recollections, and/or experiences, online and offline. The process of choosing the frame for recording one’s self, and the sharing of experiences, is widespread in digital media platforms. Here, however, it entailed an additional kind of sharing, one that is guided by questions that allow for analytical frames to emerge through individual and collective dynamics (disciplinary, generational, geographical, etc.). Such digital auto-ethnographic reflections, open frames of participation, and analysis, can thereby give insight into the dynamics of becoming, and stand in for embodied experience, while producing and mediating new experiences. 

Video-diaries, in particular, can take many different forms, including visual cues and materials, drawings, photos, curated selections, performances, etc. We invited participants to upload a digital reflection related to their participation in the workshop, in the form of a short story about what the experiences meant to them. Participants uploaded a wide variety of images and shared thoughtful, emotional stories. Largely these methods are effective because participants could complete diaries or journals using their smartphones. By combining the diaries with other methods (interviews, drawings, photography, animation), further discussion could be prompted. By creating a shared online repository, entries were made available to all participants, inspired discussion and comparisons, allowing for continual reflection and feedback on next steps in the research and co-production.