“Testimony” – ‘I and she speak about us to us’: the use of emerging film-based methodologies in educational research 

Year: 2013

Author: Wolfe, Melissa, Harris, Anne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper considers the use of emerging film-based methodologies in educational research contexts.  Ethnocinema (Harris, 2012)and other film-based methods constitute engaging, accessible and often collaborative interdisciplinary practices offering more than visual representations or new data-collection tools. The filmic image itself is multisensory, process-driven and unpredictable; as a result the acknowledgement of the interconnectedness with other senses is integral to understanding both its production and reception. This is a creative process, an event, a continual happening during the making and multiple re-presentation and is not prescriptive.  Film production is always constructed where traces of reality are made and therefore intrinsically subjective, yet can be consumed as ‘truths’ in uncomfortable and inaccurate ways, as visual ethnographers have long noted. Such ‘ethnofictions’ (Rouch & Feld, 2003)offer rich and previously untapped possibilities for truth-telling in creative research methods and methodologies where the sensory body is accounted for through (sometimes simulated) tactile material affect.  This paper considers the use of “performative documentary”(Nichols, 2011)as innately affective and creative and offers alternative ways of considering subjectivities and knowledge truths in education through notions of testimony (Luker, 2008, p. 135). This methodology is where  “the speech act “says” more than it can ever intend to know”(Butler, 2007, p. 143).