Tag Archives: Participatory methods

New Year and New Experiences

Hi all,

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Festive period and New Year wherever and however it was spent.

I spent my holidays in Kingston, a completely different experience from my usual Christmas activities in Ireland. The food was fantastic – ackee and saltfish (national dish of Jamaica) and all the other trimmings. Can’t say I missed the cold weather either…

Fieldwork resumed a few weeks ago and I have now moved on to my second case study area in the outskirts of Kingston. The area in question (which will remain anonymous for now) has had recurring problems from storms, hurricanes and landslides for many years due to the terrain and soil quality there. Gilbert, Gustav, Dean and Sandy have all troubled the location and made life incredibly difficult for those who live there, particularly the young people who walk up to two hours to and from school everyday in this challenging environment.

I have been meeting with a group of young people between the ages of eight and 14 for the past two weeks and so far their cooperation and response to the research has been really positive and enthusiastic. Previous efforts with the mapping element of my participatory techniques hadn’t proved to be as straightforward as I had hoped but through working with the young people and adapting my original plans to fit with their ideas, I feel that I am starting to make better progress. I am discovering first hand the importance of providing participants with the opportunity to guide and manipulate the methods to best fit with their own situation, interest and knowledge. After a successful day on Thursday, I am excited to say that I may have found some budding cartographers of the future.

Look forward to updating you again soon.

I have included a picture I have taken of the road situation (still remaining from Hurricane Sandy 2012) in parts of St Andrews Parish, Jamaica where all of my research is taking place. Something which can be extremely dangerous and inconvenient for the residents who live close by.

Road damage from Hurricane