Friday, March 21, 2008

Photographic research

This query from Elena Miles, Master's student studying at Nottingham Trent Uni in England: For my undergraduate dissertation I explored literacy in children's everyday lives by distributing disposable cameras to a group of 8 year old children and asking them to photograph what they deemed significant. I am keen to develop with this method of research for my museum studies thesis. I am thinking of something along the lines of providing 15 children with disposable cameras during a museum trip and asking them to document the highlights of their visit. Aside from the obvious issues of multiple gate-keepers and other sensitivities I was wondering if you knew of any previous research along similar lines. I am aware of the flickr application and of visitor response cards, but it is the photographic research which I would particularly wish to focus on.

Hi Elena. This is a fertile field for study I believe. We did a study in 2003 called the Museum I'd like. In that young people from a number of the schools across Sydney were introduced to concepts of learning beyond the classroom and subsequently photographed aspects of, and experiences in, the Museum that "helped" or "got in the way" of their learning. Photographs were assembled in annotated posters that were subsequently analysed across the sample in order to unpack the major themes. I don't have that report to hand but will add a summary here when I get to it. I can send you the paper given at the British Educational Research Association Conference about the project. Subsequent to this I uploaded photos of the posters to my Flickr site to see if that way of sharing would work. I have blogged about Flickr as an evaluation tool which is the third most read post on this blog and the one with the most comments. This is one area I intend to be looking at in more detail this year as I think it has great potential.

I had a look around all my research reference books this morning and couldn't find any that specifically related to using photographs. I did a quick Google and found some things:

Elena, if you have anything to share, especially a literature review, I'm sure readers of this blog would be really grateful (well, I would be anyway!).

No comments: