In this seventeen-minute video Katarzyna Kosmala and Anna Sznajder discuss different aspects of gender sensitive methods. They refer to research that they have done with professional artists, cultural producers and with rural artisans – lacemakers to make the point that researchers need to be mindful of how some aspects of people’s lives and their places are more readily spoken and written about than others (such as discrimination and exploitation). As a result, it is important that the research methods used are capable of capturing phenomena that are missed by more conventional approaches, including silences and elements that are left invisible, made opaque or even erased using ordinary observation or that are difficult to access, such as bodily experiences and power dynamics within the field. These challenges can be met through researchers working in partnership with research participants to get a fuller sense of the latter’s perspective and engage through the stories ‘behind’ their situations. Sensitivity to things that are unspoken or left invisible reveal phenomena such as the gendered nature of space, and this highlights the importance of considering the researcher’s positionality and power of discourse in the research process and the academic fields from the outset.
Academics in conversation: Katarzyna Kosmala and Anna Sznajder, both University of the West of Scotland.