Examining the use of participatory visual and narrative methods to explore the lived experience of migrants in Southern Africa

Elsa Oliveira & Jo Vearey (2017) Examining the use of participatory visual and narrative methods to explore the lived experience of migrants in Southern Africa, Migrating out of Poverty Working Paper.

Abstract:
In this paper, we explore the opportunities – and challenges – associated with visual research methodologies. Drawing on the MoVE (methods: visual: explore) project that explores the lived experiences of migrant groups in southern Africa, we reflect on our experiences in exploring the visual in research. We argue that including visual and narrative methods- as part of mixed methods studies- offers researchers an important opportunity to engage in the ‘feel’ of events and the lives of the participants of such research projects. Not only do these methods provide a creative platform whereby participants can be included in the production of knowledge, they also highlight the need to consider the subjectivity of knowledge and the power inherent in the production and curation of knowledge. Visual and narrative methodologies offer an opportunity to engage in various theoretical and epistemological frameworks. Importantly, while using these methods are not without logistical and ethical challenges, participants report valuing their involvement in these projects.

 

About Elsa Oliveira

Elsa Oliveira is a researcher and PhD student at the African Centre for Migration and Society.

Since 2010, Elsa has been involved in a range of research projects that makes use of participatory visual and narrative methods. These projects aim to engage in research that explores the lived experiences of multiple migrant groups, with a specific focus on issues of sexuality and migration.

Elsa was one of two ACMS staff that launched the MoVE (methods.visual.explore) project. She is interested in exploring the ways in which research outputs can be disseminated into wider public forums and in the ways in which research can support social justice movements.

As part of maHp, Elsa will assist in coordinating visual research projects and undertaking research exploring visual methodologies for investigating migration and health in southern Africa.

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