Ethnofiction: Agency and representation in digital ethnography
This paper profiles methodological aspects of a doctoral project which is exploring the ways a research strategy harnessing lens-based digital media can contribute to the construction of new ways of knowing and understanding in a social problem space currently dominated by quantitative research. The studies presented, focused on problematizing issues of agency and representation in the context of university policy designed to support inclusion and achievement for care experienced people who are underrepresented in Scottish higher education. To reframe the prevalent deficit discourse, key questions explored were, how can we enable people with lived experience of the care system be authors of their own narratives? And how can we use the participatory creative design process and outcomes for building bridges of empathy & understanding between the service users, service providers and wider audiences? The unique proposition of the research centres around an exploration on the social affordances of lens-based digital media, such as augmented and virtual reality in ethnographic practices. The design process as an emergent conceptual model and digital artifacts are presented as technological vignettes, which developed from relationship-centred service design activities within my teaching and fieldwork in community spaces.