Co-research Methodology as seen on December 10th 2023

I will use a co-research method­ol­o­gy as anoth­er method­olog­i­cal choice in inter­play with Time­line Syn­chro­niza­tion. I plan to invite dif­fer­ent per­form­ing arts groups to par­tic­i­pate in the research as co-researchers with their on-going or begin­ning production.

As these groups share the research respon­si­bil­i­ties with­in their pro­duc­tion process, I pro­pose that I try to fol­low the con­cept of CRISP con­sent (“con­sent in per­form­ing arts”) by Inti­ma­cy Direc­tors and Coor­di­na­tors. In this par­tic­u­lar research, it would be applied as follows:

  • Con­sid­ered: dis­cus­sions and analy­sis must be a part of prepa­ra­tions, and of the whole process
  • Reversible: any­time before the project has been pub­lished any­one can leave and take their infor­ma­tion with them
  • Informed: the infor­ma­tion about their part of the research should be acces­si­ble to every­one all the time
  • Spe­cif­ic: plans on how the research (data col­lec­tion + analy­sis + expo­si­tion) is dis­cussed in detail and fol­lowed through.
  • Par­tic­i­pa­to­ry: direc­tion and meth­ods of the research are decid­ed through col­lab­o­ra­tion and com­mon discussions.

With this method­olog­i­cal choice, there is an extra amount of time and care need­ed to put to the c onver­sa­tions and dis­cus­sions with the co-researchers to keep things C.R.I.S.P.

When look­ing at the inter­nal process­es of the indi­vid­u­als, this kind of idea of con­sent is the only respon­si­ble choice, but it also adds to the labour peo­ple must make. I felt like it is also impor­tant to com­pen­sate for this labour which is why I have bud­get­ed salaries for the work­ing group based on an inter­pre­ta­tion of Finnish col­lec­tive agreement.

Practical Questions

There are still a few prac­ti­cal ques­tions about meth­ods that lie unan­swered. Co-research method­ol­o­gy has most to do with the choice of con­sent that will cause me trouble.

I don’t have much resources at this stage of the research and still I am seek­ing to do a research about a com­pli­cat­ed top­ic, using the exper­tise of indi­vid­u­als in a con­sen­su­al, sus­tain­able fash­ion. The plan for spring 2024 answers most of these ques­tions: do I get fund­ing, how do the prac­ti­cal details fall togeth­er and how do I actu­al­ly delim­it the amount of data that I need to con­trol and record.

 

Co-Research Practical Methodological QuestionsSynchronizing the different data – an important practical detailThe limits and unrealiability of human memory – tests for the time between rehearsal and recalling inner processesHuman differences – questions of privacy and understandabilityThe complexity and dynamics of the physical phenomenaThe amount of additional labour – research funding applicableInfluence on the productions – value and slowing down?Amount of feasible, analysable data vs proper contextualizing – framing the gathering of the data to the necessary12.9.2023 Slide 9
Co-Research Contributions to Current DiscussionsInformation about more detailed group dynamics and personal journeys (pedagogy, performance-making, performing, being humans,…)Possibly new more generalized approach to thinking about physicality and what all contributes to it This might in some way take part in the discussions about hostility and accessibility in design of the spaces and processesA framework for further similar studies!

Bigger picture of the project

The research I am plan­ning to do is focus­ing on cre­at­ing a frame­work that might help cre­ate very inter­est­ing many-faceted, mul­ti­dis­c­plionary research. 

After all, I am research­ing the com­plex­i­ty of human expe­ri­ence with­in the phys­i­cal world.

Using the co-researcher mod­el is the only one, where I can give pow­er and respon­si­bil­i­ty to enough peo­ple, while sup­port­ing them in gath­er­ing the data need­ed for the research.

I am not plan­ning on tel­ing aca­d­e­m­ic sto­ries about ‘us’ with­out real­ly includ­ing ‘us’ in the whole process of story-telling.

Co-research model in practice?

I already described the tech­ni­cal side of the research in the text that describes the idea of Syn­chro­nized Time­lines as a method. In this text, there is a part that describes the dif­fer­ent tech­no­log­i­cal tests, when and how we are test­ing those in the prac­tice. You can find the table here. In prin­ci­ple, this sec­tion will mir­ror that but from a per­son­’s per­spec­tive. This works sim­i­lar­ly to a pro­duc­tion in how we have a vari­ety of tech­ni­cal choic­es that we have to test — and only then we know what is actu­al­ly possible.

The basic idea is still that to help dis­cuss the phys­i­cal­i­ty of a process, I have cho­sen to use a 360-film to cre­ate a com­mon real­i­ty. If what hap­pens in the space is syn­chro­nized to everyone’s inner expe­ri­ences, it becomes eas­i­er to under­stand and dis­cuss the expe­ri­ences in their com­plex­i­ty and in a context. 

The cur­rent con­crete plan of action looks as fol­lows. This might need to be adjust­ed in the moment and 

Weekend # 1: Practical measuring methodology test

  • Two 6‑hour workshops to test all the technical equipment in practice (recording and re-experiencing process) including

    • 1 h: Dis­cus­sions and Prepa­ra­tions around the work: final adjust­ments to the sched­ule and research plan for the day
    • 3 h: Work­ing with the process: record pieces of rehearsal and trans­fer it into an expe­ri­en­ca­ble for­mat with on-going dis­cus­sions about insights and obser­va­tions about the process.
    • 1 h: End­ing dis­cus­sions: where the project should be going and what kind of basis we have cre­at­ed for future research.
  • Breaks as necessary.

Weekend 2: Building the re-experiencing framework

  • Two 6‑hour workshops where we test out the choices we have previously made adding a more concrete way to analyze it

    • 1 h: Dis­cus­sions and Prepa­ra­tions around the work: pre­sent­ing the sched­ule and defin­ing the research questions. 
    • 30 min : Record­ings: cre­at­ing a record­ing to work with
    • 2 h: Re-expe­ri­enc­ing tests (the focus of the day): We test dif­fer­ent ways to re-expe­ri­ence the record­ed rehearsal (see an exam­ple of a mod­el of cycles).   
    • 1 h: Gath­er­ing the data togeth­er and dis­cussing it with the work­ing group.
    • 1 h: Hav­ing a dis­cus­sion around the co-researcher model.
  • Breaks as necessary.

Weekend 3: Testing the co-researcher framework in a real-life rehearsal setting

  • A two-day-hour work­shop where we test the full process 
    • 2 h: Dis­cus­sions and Prepa­ra­tions around the work: defin­ing the research ques­tions for this group of co-researchers 
    • 3 h: Record­ing the rehearsals: the group works with their pro­duc­tion while we record it
    • 2 h: Cre­ation of re-expe­ri­enc­ing data (through cycles)
    • 2 h: Rehearsal con­tin­ues (while some­one ana­lyzes the data)
    • 1 h: Gath­er­ing the data togeth­er and dis­cussing it with the work­ing group.
  • Breaks as necessary.
  • This week­end might change a lot in for­mat depend­ing on the prac­ti­cal obser­va­tions made dur­ing the pre­vi­ous week­end workshops.

After-the-week­ends meetings

  • 3‑to-5-hour ses­sion for the inter­nal data dis­cus­sion work­shop with all the work­ing groups 
    • 1–2 h: Pre­sent­ing and Dis­cussing the obser­va­tions and insights of what we have found out, test­ing how to present the information
    • 1h: Lunch
    • 1–2h: Pre­sent­ing and Dis­cussing the next steps
  • 30 min­utes pub­lic expo­si­tion to present the data.

Pre­dict­ed Prac­ti­cal Challenges

I am pre­dict­ing at some chal­lenges with­in the methodology.

As I men­tion on the tech­ni­cal side, human mem­o­ry is lim­it­ed, phe­nom­e­na are com­plex and the research will sure­ly slow down the pro­duc­tions we work with. Tech­nol­o­gy also has it’s issues. 

Besides these, I feel like there is a side of using lim­it­ed resources to work in sus­tain­able way. As an exam­ple, there are moral ques­tions I want to address even if I don’t have answers to them yet.

First is about respect­ing the labour with­in the field of arts: exper­tise gath­ered dur­ing the years, labour and time set to this research project and respect­ing the invis­i­ble labour that peo­ple have to put for­ward to par­tic­i­pate. This means to me some form of clear com­pen­sa­tion to show the val­ue of the labour.

The sec­ond is about respect­ing the human beings: their expe­ri­ences and their self-exper­tise. This is nat­u­ral­ly a ques­tion of using tac­it knowl­edge with­in aca­d­e­m­ic con­text: in this research I feel like I want to respect and give time and tools the peo­ple need to do the research. If I am giv­en gold­en nuggets of infor­ma­tion, I want to be able to treat them with the respect they deserve. This means effort and care from my part. In my cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, I feel like this means that I have to find enough com­pen­sa­tion for my own work.

After writ­ing these points, I feel like the research I am plan­ning to do this time will need to be restrict­ed to some degree, but plan to con­tin­ue into a dif­fer­ent lev­el of research at a lat­er point with ade­quate fund­ing and oth­er resources.

Juuso-Matias forming a triangle with their hands

Juuso-Matias Maijanen

Author has a background in physical acting (Bachelor of Culture and Arts in Performing Arts) and theatre and drama pedagogy (Bachelor of Culture and Arts within Degree Programme in Music and Stage Art). They are also an intimacy director with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators Inc. with a 'certification pending status' and have a vast amount of training with dramatic combat.

Author is currently preparing for their degree projecct within is a MA student at Stockholm University of the Arts (starting autumn 2023) and looking for people to collaborate with.