Steampunk goggles by Pierre Alexandre Garneau (source)
The blog task assigned for Week 7 was to write a preliminary proposal for your ethnographic or narrative research project. There were fewer posts and tweets for that topic than in previous weeks. Rather than assume that this was due to research and writing week neglect, I’ve included some tips later in this post to assist you.
Upon reading the proposals that were posted, I can see that an array of fetching topics have sparked and I’m already looking forward to seeing the final projects.Here are some the ideas that got my attention:
Sam is interested in drones in public places
Mia is brainstorming ideas on collecting and taking photos in an ethical manner and how to spatialise narratives through photographic content
Lam intends to use Vines and will look at the spread of culture and cultural stereotypes via social media relationships
Eddie is researching and sharing his friends’ TV watching practices
Of course these proposals are preliminary and the flexibility is there for you to abandon the topic and decide on something entirely different for your final work. There is no penalty for moving onto another idea. Weeks 10-13 are entirely dedicated to the development of your final project so that’s the time when you are most likely to be working on it. You may change your focus between now and then.
So what might be the obstacles to writing a proposal that you are confronted with and how might you get over them?
Commitment – You may be struggling to commit time to pinpointing a topic. Sometimes the ideas are already there under our noses. Mathew’s post on the ethics of street photography, for example, offers a range of ideas worth pursuing. Is candid public photography ethical? What is a reasonable expectation of privacy and what do we do if we don’t want to be photographed? What is private and public space in relation to photography? Is it ethical to repurpose a photograph when consent was granted to use it for something else? Remember that you still have time to modify your topic later. This is more about committing to making a start and turning your wheels than it is about locking in.
Creative freedom – After years of schooling and fairly rigid guidelines, you may have discovered that you don’t have much of a risk appetite. The creative freedom afforded you to design your own topic and method of presentation may feel uncomfortable. Rest assured that one of the reasons we designed the project in this way is to mirror the professional world and give you some experience in working with loose guidelines. This project allows you to build your tolerance for uncertainty – a valued professional trait. It also gives you the opportunity to put your time and effort into a topic that matters to you.
Confusion – You may not have undertaken the suggested readings, studied the task description or looked over previous MAPhub posts in order to understand what a digital narrative project is. Maybe you have and you still feel uncertain. In the coming weeks there will be resources developed and further support provided to help you get your head around this. Don’t panic if you don’t have a handle on it straight away. Don’t give up trying. Resilience is an asset in work and in life.
You are learning.