What can creativity bring to research methodologies and practice in the social sciences? This panel of researchers from the Department of Social & Policy Sciences brings together a diverse group of researchers from various stages of their careers who have all employed creative methods from illustration, music and poetry to photography and participatory film.
We will explore what these methodologies reveal that we might not have otherwise seen and how it enables us to engage with different audiences as well as the practicalities of collaborating with creative practitioners. Each panellist will explain why they were drawn to these methodologies and what challenges they have encountered in adopting this practice.
Oliver Walton is a Lecturer in International Development. He led the AHRC-funded Living on the Margins project, which produced an illustrated essay which explored the role of borderlands brokers in post-war Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Roy's research in Sub-Saharan Africa explores the social, political and economic aspects of food production and natural resource management, and their relationships to wider societal change.
Much of his recent work has had a particular focus on the extractive industries, livelihood change and social conflict in West Africa. He has been undertaking field-based research in Sierra Leone for over 15 years, and has spent much of this time working with artisanal diamond miners.
Prior to becoming an academic, Roy worked as a documentary photographer, carrying out a number of projects in African countries. He is passionate about using film in his academic research, both as a participatory method of data collection and as a vehicle to share his work more widely with a non-academic audience.
Zainab’s research agenda focuses on resources, conflict and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Funded by the ESRC, her current project, Bringing Women’s Voices Back in: Gender and Oil Conflict in the Niger Delta highlights the comparative role of women in conflict settings. She employs participatory video to document local women’s experiences, needs and hopes.
Her doctoral thesis, Between Nonviolence and Violence: A Comparative Analysis on the Dynamics of Choice in the Ogoni and Ijaw Movements in the Niger Delta, explored the important discourses embedded within the Ogoni and Ijaw communities in Nigeria. Zainab worked in the educational and international development sectors in Nigeria where, amongst other projects, she led science-training projects supported by the World Bank, which impacted tens of thousands of poor people.
Hannah West is in the second year of her PhD at the University of Bath and is funded by the South West Doctoral Training Partnership. Her research explores the discourses surrounding ‘women as counterinsurgents’ in British campaigns from Malaya and Northern Ireland to Afghanistan and contemporary operations through interviews and archival research.
Hannah served in the Royal Navy as an Air Engineer for over ten years and has been using creative methods to reflect on the gendered aspects of military service. She is also Co-Chair of the Defence Research Network for PhD and early career researchers studying defence, security or the Armed Forces in relation to policy, strategy, culture and society.