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!
Over the past couple of days, since receiving my draft report back, i’ve been re-looking at what I am trying to achieve. I got some good feedback back from my supervisor and realised what i’d written was too in-depth and what should be going into an essay rather than that of a report. I realised I hadn’t been looking at my key aims as I wrote and underpinning my theory with my practice or these aims so no wonder I couldn’t get it right!
I went back to ‘Visualizing Research‘ by Carole Gray and Julian Malins which has been really helpful in terms of working out how to correlate the practical making side with the theory side. Just doing the map above of my research question along with each of the aims and where they are covered within the practical or theory side has really helped. It also shows the links between each of the areas which I suppose was just what I needed to do to see how it fitted. I still have to add all the people/books etc I’ve looked at to the diagram, but this can then be used for the overall mapping of the project.
I am now trying to re-focus on my literature and so have done a breakdown of ‘love’s terms of how this fits in with my making and my data collection that I have already done. This has shown that child for parent and grandparent is the most submitted, followed by romantic love. Love for a lost child has not been submitted at all. This might be because it is too emotional to talk about. Other areas lacking were that of friendship. This may be due to it not being considered ‘love’ as such. I’ve then got to compare to my making.
Better get on with it!