Dear Nadine and Jade,
Your sketch on creating a collaborative film project to address issues in postcolonial and feminist technoscience is helping me think through my own creative research methods in Art, Science, and Technology Studies (ASTS). Both of our methods seem to involve the production of art as a research method for exploring social issues as well as using artistic products as “texts” through which these issues can be analyzed from an STS lens. This sketch is especially relevant because it proposes to look at disability and health issues using participatory methods that provide the care necessary to handle these issues ethically and justly. To this end, the work of Hester Parr’s team (as described in their 2007 article that you cited in the sketch) on film as research method for mental health research is a great fit for your proposed project. As the article mentions, it is important for researchers to prioritize “the development of sensitive and participative methodologies appropriate to accessing the worlds of [marginalized, minoritized, and/or oppressed] people [such as those] with “severe and enduring mental health problems” (115) that is “co-empowering” (128) for everyone involved in the research project. Thank you for sharing such a generative sketch!
Parr, Hester. “Collaborative Film-Making as Process, Method and Text in Mental Health Research.” Cultural Geographies 14, no. 1 (January 2007): 114–38. https://doi.org/10.1177/1474474007072822.
Like Maria, examining borrowed data has not been my initial approach to designing a new research project. I appreciate Maria's insight that building a new project by discovering gaps and/or questions that emerge from current archives might be a generative approach. I wonder too if how we, as STS researchers, engage in archival research is shaped not only by our disciplinary affliations - for example, I imagine historian readily shape their work from archival interaction - but also by where we are in our professional development. I find that the emphasis for early-career scholars/students is so often on developing original or "new" research projects whereas starting from the archives reflects seasoned knowledge of the archival evidence available and the challenges/questions/gaps that emerge from this data.
Looking at collaborative infrastructure as something which is not invisible "opposite of an invisible road" is quite fascinating to me. Narrowed down by the literature, I have been looking at infrastructure as an invisible system all the while, so this sort of visualisation is quite refreshing but at the same time, I think that I might require some more discussions to understand this better.
I had not thought of apps or software/tools as collaborative infrastructure earlier. However, reading Joesph's sketch I am able to visualise several other collaborative infrastructures in my vicinity. The idea of sharing work/responsibilities in a collaborative infrastructure is also quite insightful for me.
The main insight I gained from this artifact was in thinking about research as experience rather than as product. I'm really interested in how the collected scenes in this sketch visually reinforce this point: research as always a set of collected stages and interactions rather than a monolithic entity. It prompted the question: how can we make explicit this sort of research practice in published work?
How beautiful. Even the most 'reflexive' research can conceal the process within the product, 'tidying up' the messy threads of relationality.
Beautiful sketch. Meg, this was such a generous insight into the interface between collaboration and failure. It reminds me that collaboration is always fraught, always involves negotiation and compromise, and is always in a process of being resolved. Failure is never too far away!
I love this---it makes me think of what happens when someone who is core to a group or collaboration leaves, and it feels like all of their structure goes with them. The structure of any particular collaboration is so hard to maintain, and it feels like things fall apart all the time.
But the structure of demanding (academic) jobs leaves little space for structureless play and support. What if there was more space to not stick to a schedule, to visit and eat and recognize that that's the highest ambition one can have?
Like Megan, I appreciate the questioning of what an academic zine even is. I've been thinking more broadly about how to avoid institutional capture. I think the answer is often to not speak in the institution. Speak outside, only, in ways illegible to or unacknowledgeable by the institution. Do not seek approval. Seek relation. Knowledge is already produced in ways more powerful than we know. What would it be to not follow in the zine tradition but attempt to follow in the punk tradition instead?
Keiran, I loved these provocations. They helped me crystalize some thoughts I was already feeling about what this project even means, what it means to be making an "academic zine." What are the politics of taking up this anti-institutional form within the academy? Is it an instance of appropriation? A sign of new oppenness in academic circles as to what counts? An indication of the sense of precarity and exclusion and frustration that exists even within the academy now?