Running Title: Using visual methods in transdisciplinary research
Relevant to: Research, Policy, Practice
In this book chapter, Wyborn and Cleland argue that visual methods, where images or other visual approaches are used or created by participants in a research context, can help to access and enhance individual and community knowledges and understanding of place. This makes these methods an ideal tool for open transdisciplinary research practice.
The authors illustrate how two visual methods helped two very different groups of stakeholders to think creatively about what the future may hold and how this could affect their interactions with and management of their local land and seascapes. In resource conflicts, different ways of knowing can obscure the common threads that link community and expert knowledge. Without offering a neat solution, nor a prescriptive recipe, visual approaches enabled researchers and natural resource managers to practice transdisciplinarity with a view to creating new knowledge and improving outcomes for both the people in the study and the places they wish to conserve.
The authors describe the use of visual methods in transdisciplinary research as transcending traditional disciplinary ‘fences’ to create new ‘windows’ through which to imagine the past, present and future. No one discipline can fully capture the complexity of what we see and how we interpret and interact with the world. Thus by their very nature visual methods lend themselves to transdisciplinary approaches, although the authors warn that reflexivity around approaches and underlying assumptions are necessary to avoid creating another piece of ‘black box’ research.
This summary was developed from the following book chapter:
Wyborn C. and Cleland D. (2010) ‘Fences and windows: using visual methods to explore conflicts in land and seascape management’. In V.A. Brown, J.A. Harris and J.Y. Russell (eds) Tackling wicked problems through the transdisciplinary imagination. Earthscan Ltd, London, pp 161-170.