Accepted Paper:

Communicating illness visual autoethnography: unorthodox new mixed methods, between anthropology and the visual arts.  
Rebeca Pardo (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya)

Paper short abstract:

In our research, at the intersection between anthropology and the contemporary visual arts and images, fieldwork is related with creative communication and autoethnography. These unorthodox new mixed methods offer great opportunities and important vulnerabilities and ethic dilemmas to consider.

Paper long abstract:

During the last 8 years, I have applied anthropology methodologies (unorthodox new mixed methods) to my research on the visual narratives of illness and functional diversity. As a person with various food intolerances, dyslexia and chronic illnesses, I have used creative communication and my social networks to share images related to my own experience that have also be exposed in artistic exhibitions.

The shared images, the comments and the interactions obtained in various ways have brought new perspectives and points of view to my research. However, I have come across numerous prejudices to consider the community of artists and filmmakers that work with self-referential illness as informants because they are not considered as common people or users. It’s also difficult to justifying to academic publishers’ certain images because they were not "anonymised" as I should give credit/copyright to public artworks or public artists. Even my own shared images have been a problem as autoethnography still arouses some susceptibilities.

I have made ethical decisions that I would not have confronted otherwise. The public exposure also supposes that I have met complete strangers at conferences who knew all my health problems and made me feel very uncomfortable (without intention) as they treated me as a close “friend”. I consider it necessary to have this experience in first person in order to be able to analyse this phenomenon usually disqualified with easy labels as “narcissistic” or “morbid”.

Panel P05a
The crisis of communication
  Session 1