VAMHN'S ECR BURSARY WINNER Lilly Neubauer DISCUSSES her attendance at the Creative Research Methods Course
Have a read below to see what our ECR bursary winner Lilly Neubauer did with their award money.
Thanks to the VAMHN bursary I attended a Creative Research Methods Course lead by Helen Kara. The six weeks course has changed the way I think about research and has been one of the best things I’ve done so far during my PhD. The course introduced us to lots of different ways of using creative methods in research, for collection, analysis and communication. We explored the use of video, photography, comics and animation, poetry, metaphor, objects and place, and we discussed ways of enriching traditional methods like semi-structured interviews or focus groups with creative aspects. This opened my eyes to a completely different, ‘rebellious’ way of doing research and made me think about why these methods are not more commonly found in academia, despite much evidence that they can be highly effective, especially in fields of ‘sensitive’ research. There were countless examples brought up during the course of researchers using creativity to put study participants at ease or make talking about difficult experiences easier for them – such as allowing people to draw comics of their experiences; giving participants cameras so they could document aspects of their lives for themselves; or basing interviews around objects of personal meaning to enable participants to tell their stories on their own terms.
Furthermore, we also explored inspiring examples of people using creative disciplines to communicate their research to a wider audience, such as using comics or animation to tell the story of their research, or poetry to get across some of the more intangible aspects of what they found. One of my favourite assignments in the course was to create a poem about your research. I chose to use the “found poetry” method, where I used words and phrases taken from the data I had collected from Reddit about people’s experiences of emotional abuse. I then used these words and phrases to construct poems around different themes I had found in my data. I felt that these poems were powerful and communicated something deeper about my data than could be put across in an academic paper. Overall, this course was an enriching and fascinating experience for me. Thanks to VAMHN for the opportunity!