Side by Side Blog and Project Gallery
Side by Side blog and project gallery is a site about practices of collaborative art and ethnography – that is practices and projects that use creative methods (such as photography, video, writing, visual art) to document and represent community and cultural stories in a collaborative way. Such practices are being widely used in diverse disciplines and locations around the world, including social science and humanities research, education, community development and health promotion.
The Side by Side blog and project gallery was established to support Maya Haviland’s PhD research project on collaborative art and ethnographic practices. The site consists of a blog maintained by Maya, which posts information about her ongoing research interests, and the Side by Side Project Gallery, an emerging on-line gallery space devoted to showcasing works made in collaborative art and ethnography projects around the world.
About Maya Haviland and her research
Maya is undertaking research for a PhD project in Visual Art and Cross Cultural Research through the School of Art at the Australian National University. She is supported by a Postgraduate Award from the Australian Government. Her current research is interested at looking at practices, contexts and participant motivations of collaborative art and ethnographic projects – projects that use creative arts, such as photography, film, creative writing, to undertake collaborative ethnographic work in local community settings.
One of the aims of of the research is to map and articulate what can be seen as an emerging movement of collaborative art and ethnographic practice shaped by a range of historical factors and discipline areas. The research began with broad questions about the relationships between processes of collaborative ethnography and collaborative creative art:
- What is happening in projects that are bringing these approaches together?
- How are they shaped by, and shaping social relationships and cultural expressions in and between the places in which they occur?
- What possibilities and constraints do they offer to those involved, and how are these experienced?
A further aim is to consider some themes that are commonly put forward in the promotion of projects such as these, and which have emerged out of Maya’s own participatory media and cultural arts practice in the Kimberley (North Western Australia). The research seeks to consider:
- The relationships between participation, collaboration and empowerment in collaborative art and ethnographic projects;
- Hopes and claims that such projects are (or can be) sites of re-constituted forms of intercultural collaboration; and,
- The functions that forms of products created in such projects- books, films, exhibitions – are serving within and between social and cultural settings.
Maya has worked for several years in and around the town of Derby in the West Kimberley (Western Australia). She has run a number of participatory arts and documentary projects, such as the Photo Me Derby Project (2005) and the Mowanjum TAFE Youth Program (2006/07). She was the coordinator of the inaugaral Marsh Art project in Derby in 2007. She has also undertaken a variety of participatory social research projects in the Kimberley and elsewhere, with a focus on participatory action research and the use of visual and creative research methods. She is the founder and principal consultant of Side by Side Community Project Consulting.