The body as research instrument

By Eline Kieft

As long as I can remember I have been intrigued by the possibilities of using the body as tool for research. “Research with a Twist” was the original name of my seminar series that applied the body to any type of academic inquiry.

I am so excited that the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) saw (at least some) sense in this, and funded an 18-month project to further develop this together with Dr. Ben Spatz, initially for and with anthropology PhD students. Later we can hopefully roll it out to other stakeholder groups as well.

Initially we will focus on two aspects: how the body can be applied as a tool during any stage of the research process, and how it can support mental and emotional wellbeing of the researcher. The first relates to the nuts and bolts of research practice including doing literature review, fieldwork, spotting patterns in the data, and writing up the results. The second addresses how we relate to the material. What ethical challenges do our informants experience? Do we feel like we are drowning in vast amounts of data? Are we stuck? Stressed? Blocked? Insecure? These aspects of research are very common, but not often spoken about.

This site is the web portal for anything related to the project. We aim to write a fortnightly blog to update you on our activities and progress. As the project unfolds, we will post photos and videos of our work in the studio. We hope it will become an interactive site for anything related to the body as research tool, so please feel free to comment and share ideas.

Looking forward to sharing and building an embodied experience of research!