Sophie Woodward

Sophie Woodward

University of Manchester (UK)

    Sophie Woodward is a Professor in Sociology at the University of Manchester where she carries out research into material culture, everyday lives and consumption with a particular focus on fashion and clothing. She is the author of five books on feminism (such as Birth and Death, 2019 with Kath Woodward), material culture (such as Blue Jeans: the art of the Ordinary, 2012 with Daniel Miller), fashion (including Why Women Wear What they Wear, 2007) and methods and has a particular interest in creative and object-based methods, as seen in her most recent book Material Methods (2019) and in her role as Co-Investigator for the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) where she leads on creative methods. She is currently carrying out writing up qualitative research into things people keep in the home but are no longer using (dormant things) that are stashed away in attics. The research is based upon mixed qualitative methods, including ethnographically informed methods, sketching, visual methods, object interviews and follow the thing methods.

    What is creative about creative methods? Ways of thinking and researching with objects.
    Creative methods are becoming more widely used within qualitative social science research, and this talk addresses the question of creativity specifically to think through creativity as both the use of creative practices (such as arts based methods) in research as well as the more subtle creativities of adapting existing methods (such as how we do interviews or ask questions of the data in our analysis). I take material methods (Woodward, 2019) as a case study to explore these questions to consider them as creative approaches in terms of adaptations of established methods (such as object interviews or ‘material’ ethnography) as well as the use of arts based and design-based methods to widen the repertoire of social science methods (for e.g. cultural probes or other arts-based methods such as collage). By taking the example of my fieldwork into dormant things (things people keep in attics, wardrobes and cupboards that they are no longer using), the talk will consider how these methods allow us to ask new questions of our research and data.

    All Sessions by Sophie Woodward

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