Accepted Paper:

Photography as a Research Method in Melilla and Köln  


Francesco Bruno Bondanini (Universität zu Köln)

Paper Short Abstract:

I use photography as a research method so as to create space of encounter and collaboration within different ethnographic works. Photography stimulates creativity in the participants, provides a variety of data and builds a relationship far from the one of interviewer-interviewee

Paper long abstract:

During my PhD fieldwork I used photography as a method for researching the everyday lives of a group of migrants living in a Camp in Melilla, a Spanish enclave situated in Northern Africa. Migrants live in this place sometimes for years, waiting for Spanish government deportation. Through a variety of workshops the migrants debated and shared feelings about their condition in permanent transit. Photography was an instrument to discuss key themes in the literature on immigration, such as the construction of identity, the sense of membership and the migratory journey. Furthermore, these instruments permitted me to get in contact with migrants and establish a different relationship from the one interviewer-interviewee. I was to them the researcher but also the teacher of photography and an activist who understood their situation. Besides, I used photo elicitation during single interviews with informants. After this experience I worked in Cologne (Germany) through photography workshops with a group of Spanish migrants living in the city. During the workshops we debated themes such as home and belonging and shared our feelings about living abroad. In these projects participation of the migrants increased the results; reinforcing their self-representation and allowing them to voice their opinion and provide a variety of data, improving reflexivity and creating spaces of encounters for collaboration. Back in Melilla, I now use photography with local Imazighen communities where we debate themes such as memory and visibility.

Panel P28
Photography as a research method