All posts by Mark Lander

Thank yous and nervous beginnings…

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With just over a week to go before the research information event at Wrentham village hall I have been busy attempting to publicise the event so we are not sat there, drinking coffee alone, between 10:30 and 12:00.

Village hall notice board

Thanks to help from the Parish Council and several kindly people of Wrentham and the surrounding area, posters advertising the event have gone up on village notice boards and other locations around the community. I’ve also received a great deal of help publicising the event from Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB,  SCAR, Touching the Tide, Councillor Martin Parsons and Tidal Margins – thank you all. Apologies if I have omitted thanks to anybody, there have been so many helpful people that I have lost track of who represents each organisation!

So far, I have received a few emails expressing interest in the event, so I am hopeful that word is spreading and we will be meeting some people on the 12th. The event is crucial to the success of the research as it is the one chance we will have to convince potential participants that taking part in the research will be fun and worthwhile for them.

So, in keeping with the practical administration theme dominating the research recently, I have had to prepare a participant information pack to hand out on the 12th.

The pack needs to contain:

  1. An information sheet that lets potential participants know about the purpose of the research, what they will be asked to do and informs them about issues such as confidentiality etc.
  2. A sheet to record their contact details (modified slightly in case any under 18s wish to take part under parent/guardian supervision.
  3. A project timetable that lists when events are happening and where.
  4. Consent forms – One for taking part in the research and one that covers the photography and future use of any drawings that participants make and any research materials that they generate.

So, after much procrastination I finally completed these forms today and have sent them over to my research supervisor to sign off on before they get printed.

Adding research into my practice has been testing at times (I hope to return to this theme at  a later date) and this is reflected in the fact that I can’t say I have found this process easy so far. However, whilst it is a little out of my comfort zone, it is providing me with valuable lessons about promotion and  local networking. That said, I’ll be glad when I can concentrate less on administration and devote more time to drawing.

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An introduction…

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Over the next few months this website will be used to document and reflect upon the progress of the main research project that I am undertaking as part of my MRes in Arts and Cultural Research at the University of Brighton. This blog forms the online component of a larger Visual Research diary that  will chart the course of the research in a reflexive space that pulls together art practice and research.

My research aims to work with participants from a region of Suffolk in the United Kingdom affected by coastal erosion. As part of the research participants will take part in a combination of drawing activities and participatory field research that will help them explore and articulate their connections to, and experiences of, a disappearing coastline.

Covehithe OS Map

To help address the aims of the research, the ‘data generation’ section of the project will follow four stages:

Initial Focus Group Interview  –  The first research activity will be to carry out an initial focus group interview with the participants. The main purpose of the  interview will be to establish a baseline appreciation of how participants relate to the coastline and to discuss some of the concerns participants may have regarding the use of drawing in this research as a way of exploring their experiences.

Participatory Field Research – With participant relationship to the coastline forming an important feature of the research, it is important for us to actually engage physically with the landscape that we are investigating.  With this in mind a group walk will be carried out, during which visual and word based observations will be recorded alongside participant discussions of the coastline.

Drawing Activity – The core of the research takes the form of a communal drawing activity that will allow the participants to explore their experiences and reflections of the coastline. The purpose of the drawing activity is to attempt to visually depict coastal experiences through mark marking and erasure, techniques that can be said to represent the coastal erosion processes at work in the region. The process of creating the drawings will be recorded photographically, and a stop-motion animation of the process will be placed on this website as part of the research findings.

Final Focus Group Interview – The final focus group interview will be where participant reactions to the drawing activities will be discussed alongside encouraging participants to play a role in the interpretation of their own drawings.

IMG_3293

This is a very brief overview of the project, and over the next weeks and months everything will be expanded and reflected upon. Right now, practical matters are dominating the research progress and it is practical matters that will be the subject of the next few posts.

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