David McGillivray

Professor, interested in events, culture, digital participation & sport.


Mobile Methods for Researching Bodies in Motion

I was delighted recently to be invited to present at the inaugural seminar of a really innovative seminar series designed and led by Dr Andrea Bundon from the University of British Columbia’s School of Kinesiology. The series, Mobile Methods for Researching Bodies in Motion was designed by those:

interested in exploring the use of digital and mobile methods, tools and technologies to study bodies in motion. We will be discussing how qualitative researchers are engaging with digital tools and Web-based communities to study sport, exercise and physical culture

The most exciting element of the series is the way it reaches out to experts from across the world to lead online seminars, using the Blue Jeans video conferencing platform. Audience members in BC were joined by online participants who were also able to ask questions via the platform. The whole session was recorded, enabling the discussion to be shared more widely –  something I’ve been committed to for some time.

I was asked to launch the series with a presentation based on the digital media practice-research projects I’ve led over the last 4 or 5 years. I chose to focus my presentation on “Media making & critical digital citizenship: practice-research in action” and used the context of Digital Commonwealth to provoke discussion about the use of mobile methods in relation to a participatory practice-research project.

Another objective of the seminar series is to:

purchase digital equipment for use by students and faculty members. During the seminar series we will be exploring how various tools, devices and platforms have been or could be used to carry out innovative qualitative research. This will include cameras (action, drones, 360 degrees, time lapse), apps (health promotion, mobile survey, health diaries), and fitness trackers (GPS, activity trackers). Once the seminars are completed, we will host a meeting with students and faculty members from UBC to discuss what devices or platforms we will purchase. The intent is to buy equipment that will allow our students and colleagues to carry out innovative, cutting edge digital qualitative research.

During my presentation I emphasised the importance of not becoming too focused on technology, but instead thinking about the practices associated with the use of the technology, especially when working with those less digitally-literate. I’ll certainly be keeping track of the seminar series over the next few months and will post the final (edited) video of my presentation and the ensuing discussion once it’s available.


David McGillivray • January 31, 2017

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