Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Photos Leave Home podcast

A recording of Kris's excellent seminar Photos Leave Home is now available on the INCITE podcast. The seminar is divided into 2 files, so be sure to download both parts. Copy and paste the following link into your RSS reader or podcatching software:



- Gerard

Monday, September 12, 2005

Nina + One Well Dressed Rum

Originally uploaded by Kris Cohen.

Don't be fooled by the perspective. It's neither a pocket-sized Nina nor a Nina-sized rum.

Thanks to Kate Orton-Johnson for the absurdity.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Ethnography and Video

Hi! This is my first ever blog!

Thanks for having me down to the afternoon at Incite. The discussion with the BBC about the role of ethnography as a tool for business and also its use in education engaged me. Its advantage over market research in business must be an issue that has been debated often and obviously us 'researchers' see the clear benefits. I want to mention more about the use of video when carrying out field work for clients. Having currently spent four months at PDD I’ve been heavily involved in camera work, logging, editing and clip making of field work footage. The qualitative research done here is often contextual interviews and observational research and less 'true' academic style ethnography due to time restrictions and budgets. Filming field work and just handing over the footage to a client is no use at all. At PDD a structure is put in place around video work. After filiming the tapes are then captured into a software called Convera. This software allows you to make notes alongside relevant frames of the footage. Once a whole film has been logged with supporting text it’s easy to find themes and interesting points to refer back to. The technique supports field notes effectively and can make analysis easier as all footage has been covered. Convera is also a good archiving system, storing all video data and allowing a designer or engineer for example to do a word search and find relevant video, even footage taken two years ago.

Once an analysis has been formed key areas in the video footage can be quickly allocated due to previous logging then extracted and edited to make data rich clips. Several clips can help to build up a case nicely. Showing these clips in a client presentation not only supports the analysis but also allows the client to enter into the context in a more sensory way. It’s a type of visual proof of the work done. Using selective film adds a more ‘real life’ presence to a presentation and captivates the audience. It certainly brings alive a dull PowerPoint!

Although time consuming and quite costly I do believe video can be an important tool in qualitative field work especially when you are trying to present certain points and themes in your fieldwork in an engaging manner.

Tamsin Smith

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

an INCITE afternoon

INCITE is hosting an afternoon of talks, discussion, food and farewells tomorrow. Starting with Kris's seminar about his ESRC study - Photo's Leave Home - departmental staff, special guests from PDD, BBC and the RCA, INCITE researchers and other students will then descend upon the INCITE room to talk projects, ideas and other nerdy technological things over nibbles.

This is Kris's last official task prior to leaving the UK to start his PhD in the Art History Department at the University of Chicago. He has been with INCITE for over three years as a Research Fellow, teaching, researching and generally particpating in the Department, and for the last year he has run his own ESRC research grant. So the afternoon will wrap up with farewell drinks, presents and general emotional outpourings. His enthusiasm for ideas, responsiveness to other people's projects, supportive presence and more (including his uncanny ability to talk theory whilst running up hills) - will be widely missed. We are all very sad to see him go.

Here is an overview of his seminar.

"Photos Leave Home"
I'm at the end of a one-year ESRC study of personal (aka snapshot, aka amateur) photography and its newly massive presence on the internet. The questions I was asking were less about why anyone would want to put their personal photographs online in the first place (although I have a little bit to say about the popularity and prevalence‹the apparent irresistability‹of that particular question) and more about the effects that this efflorescence of (a certain kind of) photography might be having on our ideas about what photography is and does. I'm in the process of writing a series of three papers, one of which addresses popular reactions to this ourpouring of heretofore sequestered (or privatised) photography, one of which addresses itself to the previous sociological literature on photography, and the last of which discusses these phenomena within a history and theory of images. Here, I'll be primarily focused on the second of these papers, which considers photographs as *public* rather than social entities.

More about his project can be found on his blog.

- kat