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Image-based researchers have previously noted the failure of institutional ethics guidelines and frameworks to adequately address the issues and methodologies used in visual research, citing a need for more creative and flexible approaches. Screen scholars work with traditional (non-visual) data sources, human subjects, visual data, and colleagues. This produces a range of ethical issues which are not addressed by institutional frameworks, based as they are on individualism and utilitarian ideals. Drawing on the ideas of Johann Neem and Savannah Dodd, this chapter suggests the need to shift our research practices towards a more collective, reflective, and empathetic mode of working.
This chapter serves as an introduction to the key themes found within the volume Ethics and Integrity in Visual Research Methods, and provides a rationale for the volume’s…
This chapter serves as an introduction to the key themes found within the volume Ethics and Integrity in Visual Research Methods, and provides a rationale for the volume’s focus on photography and film media. Drawing from other literature, the author discusses the significance of indexicality and visual language when working with photography and film in research contexts, and describes how these considerations set photography and film apart from other forms of visual data. The chapter concludes by outlining the format of the volume, which divides the nine chapters into three key areas of exploration: Voice and Agency, Power and Inequality, and Context and Representation.
This chapter discusses ethics in participatory photography with focus on refugee participants and informal refugee camp setting. The chapter draws on ethics in…
This chapter discusses ethics in participatory photography with focus on refugee participants and informal refugee camp setting. The chapter draws on ethics in participatory photography projects elsewhere and especially the experiences of photographers who work with these methods. The context here is the Calais Jungle camp, where the authors worked with a group of participants, who were residents of the camp, over several months to encourage photographing and documenting life in the camp and beyond, and to work on life stories that can be drawn from and inspired by these photos. The project, and hence the ethics in our work, were framed by the experiences of the refugee participants, and so at all times the authors needed to navigate temporality, violence, state oppression, lack of resources, human rights violations, language barriers, religious and cultural differences, national and supranational immigration policies, shame, and more. This chapter discusses how the authors navigated these ethical issues, the limitations of the approaches and solutions they found, and the lessons they learned, which can be applied to research using participatory visual methods with refugees.
In this chapter, the author explores the ethical challenge of preserving participant anonymity when using visual methods in ethnographic research. Referring to her own…
In this chapter, the author explores the ethical challenge of preserving participant anonymity when using visual methods in ethnographic research. Referring to her own ethnographic study in post-conflict Northern Ireland, the author explores how social, cultural, and political contexts may accentuate the need to preserve anonymity. The author discusses her rationale for opting not to use photographs in this context and puts forward the case for using participant-produced drawings as an alternative to photographs. Drawings accomplish similar rich benefits as photographs but may ameliorate the ethical challenges inherent in photographic work of maintaining participant anonymity.
This chapter introduces the approaches and methods employed in a four-country research project that resulted in the 2017 report The People in the Pictures: Vital…
This chapter introduces the approaches and methods employed in a four-country research project that resulted in the 2017 report The People in the Pictures: Vital perspectives on Save the Children’s image making. It presents and explores the ethical issues that emerged throughout the process of the research, particularly in relation to photo elicitation – the use of images (still and moving) within both interviews and focus groups. Interviews and focus groups took place in the UK, Jordan, Bangladesh, and Niger with a total of 202 research participants. The research involved sharing Save the Children content (fundraising materials, published reports, online news features, TV adverts, and short films) with research participants. Research participants included those featured in some of these visual communication materials (referred to as contributors), and other individuals within their communities (referred to as non-contributors). The following principles and decisions informed the research design: safe and ethical practice; inclusive, engaging and accessible approaches; the participation of children; prioritising first-hand accounts; no photography or filming; and the preparation of location- and language-specific resources for each interview and focus group. The main ethical issues to emerge during the design of the research related to predicting (and responding) to any potential negative impacts of the research on participants, particularly contributors, but also children. The researchers also experienced some unexpected ethical encounters, including visual materials causing some concern or distress. Additionally, assuring research participants’ anonymity led to the necessity of extra care when publishing the report and the use of images within that.
The global call to ‘leave-no-one behind’ cannot be achieved without tacking the intractable social issues faced by the most excluded people. There is increasing interest…
The global call to ‘leave-no-one behind’ cannot be achieved without tacking the intractable social issues faced by the most excluded people. There is increasing interest in using visual methodologies for participatory research in contexts of marginalisation, because they offer the potential to generate knowledge from people’s lived experience, which can reveal subjective, emotional, and contextual aspects missed by other methods; alongside the means for action through showing outputs to external audiences. The challenge is that the perspectives of those in highly inequitable and unaccountable contexts are – by definition – rarely articulated and often neglected. The author thus begins by assuming that there are unavoidable tensions in using visual methods; between perpetuating marginalisation by inaction, which is ethically questionable; and the necessary risks in bringing unheard views to public attention. Many experienced practitioners have called for a situated approach to visual methods ethics (Clark, Prosser, & Wiles, 2010; Gubrium, Hill, & Flicker 2014; Shaw, 2016). What is less clear is what this means for those wanting to apply this practically. In this chapter, the author addresses this gap through the exemplar of participatory video with marginalised groups. Drawing on cases from Kenya, India, Egypt, and South Africa, the author contributes a range of tried-and-tested strategies for navigating the biggest concerns such as informing consent; and the tensions between respecting autonomy and building inclusion, and between anonymity and supporting participant’s expressive agency. Through this, the author provides a resource for researchers, including prompts for critical reflection about how to generate solutions to visual ethical dilemmas in context.
This chapter examines the rights of those who have their photograph taken for use by non-profit organisations (such as non-governmental organisations, charities, and…
This chapter examines the rights of those who have their photograph taken for use by non-profit organisations (such as non-governmental organisations, charities, and academic institutions) and the obligations of those producing and using these images to not abuse those rights. The chapter focusses on informed consent as the key intersection of these rights and obligations. It examines the specifics of what is meant by ‘informed consent’ and the importance of the process of it being requested and given. The argument presented suggests, rather than seeing this process as a legal, one-off contract, that it should be seen as a relationship that may evolve over time and, to a degree, attempts to establish a more equitable relationship between those who produce and publish images and those who appear in them. It is suggested that this process can play a role in addressing a number of ethical issues, including the safety of the individual being photographed and how vulnerable populations are represented visually.
Archive footage is now a staple of much cinematic and broadcast production. This chapter explores some of the ways in which archival material has been recycled and…
Archive footage is now a staple of much cinematic and broadcast production. This chapter explores some of the ways in which archival material has been recycled and considers some of the tensions between filmmakers, archivists, and audiences throughout the process of research, production, and screening. It considers some of the controversies associated with the repositioning of material in short-form, narrative and documentary filmmaking, particularly in relation to content that was never intended for exhibition in the public sphere. Drawing upon Benjaminian ideas of accessing authenticity in a form that has been reproduced, it considers the responsibility of both filmmaker and viewer in critiquing moving image content that has borrowed, self-consciously or surreptitiously, from earlier filmic forms. It concludes by making recommendations for an ethical approach to recycling archival material in research contexts that are pertinent to the burgeoning field of academic creative practice, with a particular focus on the stakeholders involved and a reasonable contextual positioning of the source material in its remediated form.