Accepted Paper:

Illustration as a remote fieldwork method during covid-19  
Laura Haapio-Kirk (University College London (UCL))

Paper short abstract:

This paper will explore how graphic anthropology shared on digital platforms can become a valuable tool in remote fieldwork, as a way to both present work back to research participants, and to extend dialogue with them and a broader public.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will explore how graphic anthropology shared on digital platforms can become a valuable tool in remote fieldwork, as a way to both present work back to research participants, and to extend dialogue with them and a broader public. In this paper I will present digital drawings made upon my return from fieldwork, during the covid-19 pandemic. My conversations with interlocutors back in Japan continued online, and often touched upon their experiences of the pandemic. I started to illustrate these stories, with their permission, and share them on Instagram. I found that even though I could not be physically present in my fieldsites, by creating these visual stories and showing them to my participants I was able to extend ethnographic dialogue. Often, by sending them illustrations they would then respond with further insights and additional elements to add to the stories. In this way, illustration proved a valuable tool to involve my participants more directly in the co-creation of ethnographic knowledge, and was a medium to present their experiences of the covid-19 pandemic to a broader audience than is typically possible in anthropological dissemination.

Panel P21
Crisis through comics: a roundtable discussion on graphic anthropology