The hospitable researcher? Rethinking participatory research methods

We are delighted to host our very own Research Fellow, Cassie Kill, to lead this seminar on participatory research methods as part of our School Research Seminar Series.

Abstract: Participatory research methods are often presented in the methodological literatures as a route to both more powerful insights and more egalitarian research relations. However, participation is not necessarily innocent, and it can even conceal and perpetuate inequality and do harm. In this talk, I draw on the work of Derrida and Ahmed to argue that participation in research methods should be understood as a complex and often contradictory practice of hospitality.  Reflecting on my doctoral research about a youth collective in a contemporary art gallery, I will discuss how idealised imaginaries of participation can invoke a form of ‘cruel optimism’ (Berlant, 2011) which may, paradoxically, constrain the realisation of the egalitarian aims often espoused by those using participatory research methods. I will conclude by briefly explaining how, after the pandemic ruptured the rhythm of my research, I was able to embrace a more expansive and affective notion of participation which enacted a different mode of hospitality. 

Registration: All are welcome. This is a free event, no registration required.

Speaker Biography: Cassie Kill is a Research Fellow in Youth, Gender and Work in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. She is a sociologist of youth with interests in the politics of participation, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and questions of young people’s cultural citizenship. Cassie has expertise in a range of qualitative methods including ethnography, participatory research, and creative methods.