Today I conducted the first of my lost love interviews since changing my PhD research collection slightly after my progress panel. I think I wrote before about how I wanted to get to know my participants more than just the initial feelings that they wrote down. I thought this would give me a deeper insight into the feeling of love and loss that they have and also allow me to connect on a deeper level, to almost share their thoughts of the relationship which in turn would better help me channel this into the making of a lost love artefact.
My interview today is the ‘first’ of the already paper based collected stories so it had its benefits in that I already knew what this persons story was about. This allowed me to have certain questions at the ready to ask. I did try and keep it quite open in terms of the questioning, so allowing the participant to tell their story. In this case as it was a romantic relationship we discussed how they met, what they experienced together, any memorable moments and then the ending of the relationship and how this happened, culminating in how they felt now and what they had learned from it.
I asked quite early on about the object, which I may be should have left until it ‘came up’ naturally, although we discussed it a couple of times within the interview. The participant had also brought a timeline of photographs along from the length of the relationship showing when they met, candid shots together, images of where they’d visited. This has added to the interview for me in terms of giving the situation more identity than just the written words which now feel quite cold in comparison to the telling of the story by the person.
It did get emotional and so I had taken (1) tissue with me, although I’ll know next time to be better equipped! It also taught me that I can’t really plan the questions ahead of the interviews as obviously all relationships are different. I will make sure I read all the stories beforehand so I don’t cause upset by muddling anything up. It helped by the participant having the object there to touch and hold and stroke whilst story telling.
I am now going to type up the stories myself rather than getting someone to do it so I can pull things from it as I type and analyse throughout. I’m happy to have done the first one and have 4 future interviews planned over the next few weeks. Really enjoying this…when I get the time!