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Walking Methodologies Seminar, 17 June 2020

To access the recorded presentations, please click on the seminar titles in the table below. 


Walking in 11 year-old girls' shoes: exploring the impact of place on well-being and health 

Dr Eluska Fernández, Dr Deirdre Horgan and Dr Karl Kitching, UCC


Little is known about the implications of place for the wellbeing and health of children from their own perspective. Teixeira (2015) argues that due to their developmental stage, adolescents are unique consumers of neighbourhoods. Although they are developing autonomy and experience more freedom to move around their neighbourhood than young children, this mobility is relatively restricted compared with adults’. Furthermore, research suggests that teenagers in disadvantaged areas have the highest exposure to outdoor neighbourhood factors due to their likelihood to actively commute to school. Our study sought to understand how young people navigate their neighbourhood and perceive various aspects of its health environment. We used a Participatory Photo Mapping (PPM) method with two fifth class students from an all-girls school in a disadvantaged neighbourhood of Cork city. Our use of PPM involved two phases: student-led neighbourhood tours and photography to actively engage students in a reflection of the health, safety and wellbeing environment in their local area (Phase I); and photo elicitation focus groups in order to further discuss the photos taken (Phase II). Drawing on Dennis et al (2009), we argue that everyday knowledge of social places is a mixture of physical, visual and narrative forms of knowledge. Walking was a central element to the use of PPM: it was via walk-along interviews that students were able to tell us where experiences happen; what experiences look like (via photos that they took while we walked); and how experiences unfold (via narratives and stories that they shared along the way). Our paper will demonstrate how this type of walk-along community mapping exercise can enhance our understanding of these students’ lived experiences with health and place.

Off the leash: walking interviews with Cork's dog-walkers

Jessica Amberson, UCC 


Once described as ‘singularly derelict in their failure to address the zoological component in human interaction and attendant social systems’, over the last 15 years, the Social Sciences have witnessed increased interest in the sites of intersection of human and animal lives. Drawing on PhD research currently being conducted in UCC for the Doctorate in Social Science, this paper examines the dog-walk as a socially significant site of inquiry, exploring the use made of semi-structured walking interviews to capture these everyday experiences. This paper considers dog-mediated human interaction, dog-walkers’ sense of place and community, and individual and collective identity. It presents a vivid account of the experience of conducting walking interviews with Cork dog-walkers, including considerations of the specific challenges they present, and an examination of their particular strengths in the context of this work.

Walking interviews with migrants: visual research on the move in Cork City

Dr Mastoureh Fathi, UCC


This paper builds on the growing interest in sociology of home and place-making in using walking interviews and visual methods to understand stories of place-making and capturing them through photography and biographical narrative. Walking offers a mobile way of being in the space that combines images, its objects and the people who inhabit it to connect our sense of self to space. In this paper, I am using the recent approach in walking methods developed by O’Neill and Roberts (2020) called the Walking Interviews as a Biographical Method (WIBM) to discuss my experiences of conducting walking interviews with young male migrants combined with participatory photography of urban areas in Cork. The paper explores how ‘city as home’ is perceived from a female researcher’s perspective to male participants by combining differing narratives of ‘home locations’. Three points in relation to walking interviews with migrants are explored and discussed: first, situatedness of walking experience; second, walking as a bridge to interconnect post-migration with pre-migration experiences and third; walking as essential to inhabiting home. 

Walking Methods: Research on the Move.

Professor Maggie O'Neill, UCC



Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

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