Research Methods – Week One

Aim: to develop a community of practice where material discussed in the lectures and tutorials can be developed and extended upon and related to each students’ individual research enquiry.

  • Why do I make the things I make?

When I am following a spark, a thread, something that ignites my curiosity, especially when it leads to something creative, I can’t leave it alone, I can’t put it down, I can’t stop thinking about it. When something becomes important to me, I will even dream about it, and I won’t stop chipping away at it until I am satisfied that it’s done.

This phenomenon isn’t new, I have been swept away with the tide of my interests before, but this is the first time in my life where I have started to create pieces of tangible art work.

My medium used to be hung on walls, or stuck on packaging, branding other people’s vision. Now I want to create moving image artwork that will provoke the viewer to learn something new, to look inwards, and perhaps alter some small aspect their perspective, in my case the viewers understanding of, and often, the misconceptions they have of my own ethnicity and race: The Romanichal Romany.

Animated Documentary

The Siren Situation, by Emily Ramsay

When I first started the assignment for the animated documentary I spent a period of time feeling intense frustration. It didn’t take long to decide on the people in my life I would interview but the method in which I would bring it life eluded me for some time.

I felt like I was pushing each step uphill; researching different animation techniques and feeling very inadequate. However, I listened to my lecturer Miriam and kept pushing my project uphill until the idea started to take shape, and then blossom.

Mood Boards


The Making of The Siren Situation

Once I settled on a visual concept I had to devote a large portion of time to asset creation. I swung back and forth between ideas on how to create this time world and in the end went with where my passion is: With 3d Animation. To complete this I had to model, rig, and animate my characters, with each hurdle a new skill to learn and in find growth with.

  • How are the things I make located in relation to a wider context?

There has been enormous disconnect of my generation from our cultural and heritage. Little remains from my family’s original values and way of life, including our language. Even my Father has forgotten his birth tongue due to disuse.

The art I create will not only serve to teach me more about my heritage, but also preserve this for the generations to come. Along with creating an accessible, accurate ledger of the Romany people my art will also address the misconceptions held by the majority. The Roma are a minority that have been more persecuted than any other race in history, a persecution that is still alive and kicking in a decade where many of use like to think of us as culturally sensitive and evolved. 

By researching a variety of ways to communicate my message I hope to find a medium that becomes accessible to all generations of people.

  • What impact do I want my work to have, what readings will people make of it?

I want to create something that stays with people. I want to create an educational art work that confronts bias, challenges misconceptions and inspires social change. I’m not sure how I create a balance between challenging long held beliefs and inciting a desire to change bias without feeling like they lost something in the process, but that will be the crux of my research.

  • What are the specific “intellectual neighbourhoods” my work is informed by?

Behind my desire to spend the next few years researching this subject is the fact that I am disconnected from my own culture. A few years ago, I knew next to nothing about where my people had come from. I even believed some of the many misconceptions! I have also experienced the negative social beliefs from within my own family, my Gorga side (non-Romany). Discovering their feelings about my race was upsetting and confronting for me. Causing to examine if I have contributed to these misconceptions. And asking questions like: How much of what they believe, and think is ‘true’ from their own experience. Are their beliefs valid, or part of the wider causal racism the exists about the Roma?

  • How will thinking about these things improve my practice?

Thinking about the above questions will help frame the base the direction my research will take. Being able to structure this path way, ensuring that I cast a wide net in the beginning will mean that I remain open to finding alternative conclusions that may be vastly different from what I started with. I am well aware that along with a desire to educate and correct misrepresentation I bring along my own bias.

Below is a short list of directions I believe I will initially take my Masters Research in.

  • I need to talk to people about their own experience, I can pull on research already conducted however much of what I have already read has been conducted by academics outside of the Roma community.
  • I have experienced kick back from my own family about the sharing of our family photos. I need to ask the question: Why are they reluctant to share their experience. Why are they feeling the need to keep that part of them hidden away from Gorga (others).
  • I need to read books about Roma experience. Most of what I have comes from a UK perspective, but there are Romany spread across the globe. Does the location of the Roma change the bias that Gorga have?