Feeling and acting ‘different’ emotions and shifting self-perceptions whilst facilitating a participatory video process

Bignante, Elisa; Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea and Tschirhart, Céline (2016). Feeling and acting ‘different’ emotions and shifting self-perceptions whilst facilitating a participatory video process. Emotion, Space and Society, 21 pp. 5–12.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emospa.2016.09.004

Abstract

Participatory video (PV) can raise new levels of self-perception and can contribute to forming, transforming and reconstructing the identity and visions of those involved. Although this aspect is often underlined in the PV literature, reflection on the emotional process underpinning these changes is lacking, particularly from the perspective of community researchers facilitating the PV process. Why and how does facilitating PV contribute to changing attitudes, roles and perceptions of community researchers? This paper explores these aspects by drawing on empirical material (interviews, informal conversations, participant observation, email exchanges) collected during a three-and-a-half year EU-funded project in South America where the PV process was led by five Guyanese Indigenous community researchers. We found that the community researchers working on the project had to repeatedly deal with a rollercoaster ride of emotions: from fear of failing, dissatisfaction, and social pressure; to pride, satisfaction, commitment, and belonging. The question we ask is: can PV shape emotions and emotional bonds in the community researchers in ways that render their actions more sustainable and effective across space-time? We show how the emotional force of PV practice creates ‘thick places’ where community researchers challenge their specific abilities, capacities and ambitions and develop more autonomous research skills.

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