Writing Camphill

Snellgrove, Miriam (2010) Writing Camphill. [Video] (Unpublished)

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Recording of presentation given at Vital Signs 2 Conference, 7-9 September 2010, University of Manchester
Understanding the social world is most often elucidated through the written form. Textual representations of life as observed and interrogated are evidenced through the visible ‘fact’ of words on paper. In this way knowledge is constructed, presented and legitimated. Within this paper I critically evaluate my fieldnote writings undertaken during my recent PhD research at three Scottish Camphills (residential schools and homes for children and adults with additional support needs). Whilst my doctoral work is concerned with understanding everyday life within these Camphill settings; the everyday I suggest, happens always after the experienced event in hastily scrawled mnemonic notes and more lengthy evening compositions. Though participant observation enables an intimate exposure to Camphill life in all its complexity, my writings often struggle to convey this complexity in a ‘real’ and ‘accurate’ manner. With the passage of time, reliance on my fieldnotes grows, with all their representational limitations and inaccuracies. Increasingly then, I utilise my black and white fieldnotes as stepping stones into my Technicolor fieldwork memories where Camphill life is vibrant and from my standpoint, more complete. These competing realities of memory, fieldnote writings and attempted marriage between the two, exposes the tensions prevalent within research that seeks to be ‘rigorous’, ‘valid’ and ‘contributing’ to existing ‘knowledge’. Despite these challenges I am aware that the ‘impact’ of my research will be measured by the skill of my ‘finished’ writing and not by my perceived fieldnote failings. However documenting these struggles reveals the complex nature of writing the social world.

Item Type: Video
Uncontrolled Keywords: Realities, Representation, valid knowledge and metaphor
Subjects: 4. Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 4.23 Qualitative Approaches (other)
Depositing User: Realities user
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2010 11:48
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 13:53
URI: https://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1640

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