The „MediaMap“: a visual media research-method

MediaMap_sketch

The MediaMap-research method

  • is an exploration of a qualitative media research-method that has developed from my ethnographic field research on the meanings of mobile phones in everyday life in urban Kenya (Nairobi)
  • is a semi-structured, interactive combination of both an interview- and a mapping-method
  • transcends the mere verbal level of interview-methods by adding a visual and a tactile layer
  • aims for developing a holistic and contextualized understanding of media appropriation and media ecologies in their embedding in peoples everyday lives.

The method was presented and discussed at the 32nd Forum on Communication Culture in Cologne (November 20th – 22nd 2015), which was hosted by the Society for Media Pedagogy and Communication Culture (GMK – Gesellschaft für Medienpädagogik und Kommunikationskultur). Having been invited by Prof. Dr. Thomas Knaus (Scientific Director to the Frankfurt Research Center for Media Technology [FTzM]) to participate within his research workshop „Creative methods of researching digital communication cultures“, I had the great opportunity to discuss the „MediaMap“-research method with workshop participants and obtain fruitful feedback that was incorporated into further methodological development of the MediaMap.

A fully developed article on how the MediaMap exactly works as well as its theoretical and methodological framing will be published towards the end of 2016. The article’s preliminary abstract can be found below.
If you are interested in the method or have any questions in the meantime, you are more than welcome to get in touch.

Abstract

Below are a couple of images of the development of the method, the research-setup as well as some example of MediaMaps as produced by participants in my field research in Nairobi (Kenya):

First sketches of the MediaMap-kit by a Nairobi handicraft carver (© Michael Waltinger)

First sketches of the MediaMap-kit by a Nairobi handicraft carver (© Michael Waltinger)

Prototypes of the MediaMap-kit - at the carver's workshop (© Michael Waltinger, 2014)

Prototypes of the MediaMap-kit – at the carver’s workshop (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap-kit - painted and with finishing lacquer (© Michael Waltinger, 2014)

MediaMap-kit – painted and with finishing lacquer (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap-setup: blank paper, sticky notes, pens, carvings and a laptop (the webcam was used as a makeshift camera to videotape the mapping process) (© Michael Waltinger, 2014)

MediaMap-setup: blank paper, sticky notes, pens, carvings and a laptop (the webcam was used as a makeshift camera to videotape the mapping process) (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap-setup: blank paper, sticky notes, pens, carvings and a laptop (the webcam was used as a makeshift camera to videotape the mapping process) (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap-setup: blank paper, sticky notes, pens, carvings and a laptop (the webcam was used as a makeshift camera to videotape the mapping process) (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap-setup: blank paper, sticky notes, pens, carvings and a laptop (the webcam was used as a makeshift camera to videotape the mapping process) (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap-setup: blank paper, sticky notes, pens, carvings and a laptop (the webcam was used as a makeshift camera to videotape the mapping process) (© Michael Waltinger)

Improved but still makeshift recording setup - a video camera, attached to an upside-down chair with rubber band (© Michael Waltinger)

Improved but still makeshift recording setup – a video camera, attached to an upside-down chair with rubber band (© Michael Waltinger)

Improved but still makeshift recording setup - video camera is angled so as to only record the map, not the participant due to research ethical considerations (© Michael Waltinger)

Improved but still makeshift recording setup – video camera is angled so as to only record the map, not the participant due to research ethical considerations (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap as produced by a participant in my field research in Nairobi (Kenya) - Example 1 (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap as produced by a participant in my field research in Nairobi (Kenya) – Example 1 (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap as produced by a participant in my field research in Nairobi (Kenya) - Example 2 (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap as produced by a participant in my field research in Nairobi (Kenya) – Example 2 (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap as produced by a participant in my field research in Nairobi (Kenya) - Example 3 (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap as produced by a participant in my field research in Nairobi (Kenya) – Example 3 (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap as produced by a participant in my field research in Nairobi (Kenya) - Example 4 (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap as produced by a participant in my field research in Nairobi (Kenya) – Example 4 (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap as produced by a participant in my field research in Nairobi (Kenya) - Example 5 (© Michael Waltinger)

MediaMap as produced by a participant in my field research in Nairobi (Kenya) – Example 5 (© Michael Waltinger)