Becoming researchers… reflections and more reflections

Elaine Chase reflects on a 2-day training workshop with the Becoming Adult team

IMG_20150929_165613With no prompt , the conversations began with reflections and experiences of passing through the jungle in Calais –of friendships and conflicts; of care and hostility; being young; being a woman – a man; how you share what you know – what advice we should give others who say they want to make the same journey. The basement of an Oxford University department seems an unlikely space for such ‘story’ telling but here, over a delicious lunch of Middle Eastern food and with much laughter and some joshing , we talked about serious things and began to unpick the dilemmas of research from the positions we are in now.

IMG_20150929_165753~3The rest of the day was spent critically looking back on what we had done so far and where we want to go with the research. We asked each other some big questions and talked about the even bigger ones that others had asked us: Why are we doing this research? What will it achieve? How will it help ‘me’? We reflected on the details of how we introduce the research to others (and had fun filming each other as we practised our pitch). And then we talked about the interviews – what it was like being there; the roles we played; what we did well and how we could do better. Habib presented some of his reflections and thoughts on interviews we had conducted, a great example of how to keep a log of these experiences. And then we thought about what had been difficult – the ethics – how we begin to ask people to tell their stories; what it feels like to sit and listen to them; what we do when we want to help but we don’t know how.

It was a day of deep thought – a creative day producing many great ideas and suggestions to take forward. What struck me most was the sense of team spirit; the openness with which we share ideas and critique our own practise – there is just so much to learn from each other. It’s a joy to work on this project and I feel enormously privileged and proud to be leading it. Roll on day 2 of the training…

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