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Making sense of place: exploring creative and (inter)active research methods with young people

Keywords: Canada , visual/(inter)active/creative research methods , children/youth geographies , participatory research , place experiences , everyday life

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Abstract:

This paper explores the added value of the ’new’ creative and (inter)active research methods in geographical research. Using examples from our research project with young people in Cedar (Vancouver Island, Canada) we analyze the contributions and limitations of walks, mental mapping, photography and video when compared to only interviewing. Given our engagement with everyday places and a participatory research approach, we explicitly focus and evaluate the research methods for their qualities in revealing different aspects of place, and for their success in involving young people with various interests and abilities actively in the whole research process. The findings suggest that, in addition to revealing diverse aspects of everyday places and practices on different levels of detail, the ’new’ research methods motivate and enable different individuals to participate and share their experiences. Furthermore, combining the ’new’ methods or combining them with interviews has an added value as such a mix is able to paint a detailed picture of daily places, colored by the way different individuals see, hear, smell, use or experience them.

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