Objects as innovators: creating opportunities, research activities, and spontaneous data.

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsConference Presentation


This presentation will suggest that non-human objects can play both participant and researcher roles in research projects. Data drawn from projects working with ‘disadvantaged’ young people, exploring topics such as gender identities, sexuality, bulling, and exclusion, using a variety of data collection approaches (including walk-and-talk, observations, photography, and photo-elicitation interviews) will be shown and discussed. Firstly, an activity in which young people were given cameras and asked to give a tour of their school while taking pictures of anything that they felt was interesting or important. The presentation will explain how this resulted in students producing ‘posed’ photographs of themselves acting like other students (for example ‘popular’ girls posing as boys and ‘geeks’, and boys posing as girls). These pictures offer an opportunity for a valuable analysis of young people’s gender identities and the physicality of these. The presentation will discuss the role of the camera in the exploration of other identities, as well as in the initiation of this data collection activity and the resulting unexpected photographs. Secondly, a project which demonstrated how young people with cameras may enter new spaces, take on new roles, and ‘play’. The presentation will demonstrate and discuss the ways in which cameras can give permission to behave differently. Finally, the role of iPads, laptops, and headphones in observation and field notes will be considered. The presentation will highlight the role of these objects in instigating unplanned activities and producing unexpected but highly valuable data.
Period22 Apr 2022
Event titleBritish Sociological Association Annual Conference 2022
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionNational