Free Webinar: Working with Visual & Sensory Methods to Research Materiality, Mobility and Rhythm

This webinar is part of the Qualitative Research & Innovation Webinar Series presented by NVivo and SAGE Publications.

This session brings the hair salon, the urban street and the fish market to life in research which works with visual and sensory methods. The panel from the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent, UK will share how they tune into different social worlds and do research which allows them to hear, see and sense materiality, mobility and rhythm.

Organization: University of Kent, UK


Dr Sweta Rajan-Rankin explores touch, texture and the socio-materiality of hair in curating black identity through a sensory ethnography of Afro hair salons in Brixton. Using auto-ethnography and participant observation of salon life, she explores the temporal, biographical and material intimacies offered through black hair practice in enabling transnational identities to evolve as black bodies move through white spaces.

Dr Erin Sanders-McDonagh discusses the visual and sensory methods used in her research (with Dr Magali Peyreffite) in London's Soho and argues that mapping the glowing neon lights once associated with a notorious and well-known sex industry tells us a great deal about changes that have come about with 'hegemonic gentrification' (Sanders-McDonagh et al, 2016). Through their 'alter-map' of this area, they demonstrate how exploring colour, tone, and light reveal power and rhythm in this inner-London space.

Dr Dawn Lyon discusses how using the senses allows researchers to grasp and be grasped by rhythm and in so doing to appreciate the unfolding of time and space in different social contexts. She critically considers using the camera as well as the body as a tool of sensory research in her work on fish markets in the UK and Europe.

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