Accepted Paper:

The art of collaborative research: I, You and We in critical proximity  
Angélica Cabezas-Pino (Universidad de La Frontera)

Paper short abstract:

How to negotiate what story to tell in a film? How does this negotiation take place when working in a collaborative project? Through a close examination of my film ‘This is my Face’, I examine ethical borders –and porosity- of collaborative practice by working in 'critical proximity' (Haraway, 1988)

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, I discuss from an ethical and political perspective my experiences of working on ‘This is my Face’, a film produced collaboratively with people living with HIV in Chile. I suggest that the relation involved in collaborative research is not satisfactorily described by using only the ‘I’ and ‘You’ of the intersubjective encounter. Rather, what emerged during my research was a ’We’.

As fieldwork progressed, my collaborators made clear their intention to ‘use’ our visual practice as a platform to communicate with others such as those who had marginalised them, their loved ones, others living with HIV and the general public.

This resonated with my own ethical approach as social scientist/filmmaker following a Participatory Action Research approach. During the making of “This is My Face”, my collaborators and I developed a sense of “We” around our common objective, to move beyond our encounter towards a wider contribution to social change.

In this presentation, I reflect on the tensions this created in contrast to stances that posit interventionism or activism as compromises to academic practice.

I draw from the concepts of ‘critical proximity’ (Haraway 1988) and ‘speaking nearby’ (Minh-Ha, 1992) to suggest that, even though the creation of a ‘We’ in the field is complex and subject to tensions, it is what makes possible the emergence of a creative availability/active receptivity that allows meaningful collaboration to emerge.

Panel P26b
Empirical art: Filmmaking for fieldwork in practice
  Session 1