It has been a somewhat mysterious day with an eclectic bunch of people. I valued the time this morning walking down over the cliffs by the sea. After last nights storm the sky was perfect blue and the sand a clean soft yellow. It was inviting to stay there and contemplate the power of the waves again. We explored a number of exercises today that I feel I could use with others.
• Feeling= blindfolded, feeling objects and trying to describe in 5 words- what it made you feel
• Observation= in threes; each being observed, one from a high vista the other from below. For me I found the observation by others from below more challenging and discomforting- perhaps the intimacy of that moment. From above you could view from a distance, the context the person was in. from below there was more detail and there appears to be a relationship to intimacy here. Is there something here about the power of the relationship of the observer and the observed- the researcher over the participant?
• We were asked to write down in 15minutes a description of a person we are close to. I described B6 in some detail- why her I am not sure apart from the fact she is relatively easy to describe- she’s different too! Questions were raised from this discussion following about how can I express visually this character and what they are like? This is relevant to my written pictures of the people I am interviewing- how do I illustrate them effectively and creatively? Can I use words and symbols that match? It was talked about too how visual memory is triggered by emotions. This was illustrated strongly for me in the next exercise
• We were in groups and asked to do different things. One group did non-participant observation outside and illustrated this through puppets and art. Another looked at photos and then compared this with the real outside. Another did participant observation outside and we were asked to use memory of a street. For some reason the street that came straight into my head was from a long time ago and was emotionally very powerful. I chose to continue on that route which was very real, but also very exposing. We then acted this out ‘down memory lane’ which again was very powerful. We discussed how our different stories ‘connected’ together but also how we identified and connected with those stories. How much do I resonate and connect with the stories the midwives tell me?
This comes into validity/truth, I think- some chose not the first road that came into their head and we discussed the issue of qualitative research with the participant not always giving you the whole truth or is selective about what information they give you. In the whole group discussion someone said what we are doing is a picture painted with words- we used our own stories but these triggered other images for others observing. Someone else said what we bring to it makes it different. All this has led me to think of the ‘second interview’- instead of getting them to make I could ask them to look at a visual, photograph and ask them what it makes them feel or what it means to them. Perhaps a group of photos of different things [and] ask for immediate reactions?