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Past event Part of series: Researching Youth – Methods Seminar Series

Ethnography – Embodiment and the digital world

For those Youth Researchers considering, or already undertaking an ethnographic approach, this session will explore differing approaches to ethnography, focusing in particular on the embodied experience and the digital realm.

Ian McGimpsey & Frances Howard will explore the opportunities and constraints of ethnography as a research method alongside the conflicts that ethnographers may face in different settings. Together we celebrate ethnographers’ scope for playful, creative engagement within youth spaces which can be constrained by local social relations and programme funders. Our ethnographic evaluative research explores the positionality of researchers working in local places and the micropolitics of the research representations they construct. We argue that our presence, time and playfulness can seek to disrupt the capturing of young people as subjects and the locale as policy territory.

Moving ethnographic methodology online, Harry Dyer investigates some of the methodological issues raised by working in digital spaces with youth, and the possibilities of digital methods and methodologies. This will explore some of the methodological and ethical issues raised by digital ethnographic research during the pandemic to explore what is being amplified and silenced online when we consider young people. We will also critically explore the assumptions of voice online, drawing on the pioneering work of Black female digital researchers to unpack why digital spaces tends to amplify what Tressie Cottom calls ‘roaming autodidacts’ and how we might avoid listening to the loud voices alone in digital spaces. Finally, we will explore the volume of data online, looking at the rise of ‘big data’ and how ethnography can respond to this volume of data.

Following these short presentations, there will be space for event attendees to share questions, ideas and their own approaches to ethnography within Youth Research.


13:30 Welcome & BERA Introduction
13:35 Moving ethnographic methodology online
Harry Dyer, University of East Anglia
13:55 Time, presence and playfulness: ethnography within youth settings
Frances Howard,  Nottingham Trent University & Ian McGimpsey University of Birmingham
14:15 Provocation
14:25 Discussion in breakout rooms
15:00 Sharing and Event close

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Speakers & Chairs

Profile picture of Ian McGimpsey
Ian McGimpsey, Dr

Associate Professor of Education at University of Birmingham

Ian McGimpsey is Associate Professor of Education in the Department of Education and Social Justice at the University of Birmingham. His work is concerned with inequality and social justice, and has a conceptual focus on assemblage and the...

Profile picture of Frances Howard
Frances Howard, Ms

Senior Lecturer in Youth Studies at Nottingham Trent University

Dr Frances Howard is a senior lecturer in Youth Studies at Nottingham Trent University. She has previously worked in local authorities, arts education and youth work. Frances has recently published Global Perspectives on Youth Arts Programs: How...

Profile picture of Harry Dyer
Harry Dyer, Dr

Lecturer in Education at University of East Anglia

Harry joined UEA as a lecturer in education after successfully completing his PhD at UEA in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning. He has a broad academic background, with degrees in linguistics and social science research methods, as...

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