This Methods in Action case draws on my field experiences working with groups and communities in Brazil, Canada, Central Asia, Europe and the United Kingdom. It outlines ethnographic fieldwork practices – such as conversational interviews, participant observation and other emergent field research methods that complement participatory video and photography workshops and facilitate a dynamic, ongoing dialogue between researchers, participants and the wider community through public exhibition and collaborative review. Collaborative visual ethnography refers to research practices that make use of co-production and public exhibition of visual narratives as a focus for ethnographic research. Focusing on examples from Visible Voice cross-cultural research, this Methods in Action case presents collaborative visual ethnography as a practical example of research and community engagement in action across different communities and cultural groups. Visible Voice is an international network of projects, participants and researchers using collaborative visual ethnography as the primary methodological process for ethnographic research and community engagement. The Visible Voice process provides multiple opportunities for participants and researchers to engage in reflection and critical thinking about sociocultural forces that shape everyday lives and social conditions in different communities. Throughout the fieldwork process, researchers and participants work together to identify, explore and share lived experiences, social and cultural perspectives in an attempt to bridge the perceptual gaps that exist between communities, service providers and policy makers. Project participants are both the focus of ethnographic research encounters and the creators of their own ethnographic narratives. Throughout these projects participants engage in a visual narrative production process deciding how and what to record, making editing decisions and developing narrative styles through sharing and debating viewpoints as part of a dialogic process of production, public exhibition and co-analysis of completed visual narratives and audience responses.
Collaborative Visual Ethnography: Practical Issues in Cross-Cultural Research