Conference: VISUALISING THE CITY
Together with my colleague Petr Gibas I am going to present the paper "Experiencing like a Homeless: Body, Movement, and the Poetics of Place-making in the Homeless City" at the fifth International Visual Methods Conference in Singapore (August 16-18, 2017).
We all know them from our cities – homeless people. Desperate bodies of people living on the streets have become a visible firm part of urban landscapes across the globe. As visibility of them has become discussed in urban research, visual methods of research started to be used in investigating the topic. The aim of the paper is – by means of photovoice – to explore the everyday geography of homelessness and its affective dimension. Our key concern is how the research partners as actors (re)present and (re)construct their everyday geography by visual means and how they relate to it affectively (or otherwise). We believe photovoice represents a suitable research method, since it has been used across social sciences and especially in action research as a productive tool which enables people to document and reflect on their everyday life. Based on a photovoice research with homeless people in Prague and Pilsen, two cities in the Czech Republic, we present collected data and subject them to formal analytical and hermeneutic analyses. We focus on three aspects of the everyday geography of homeless people captured by photovoice: (1) bodily actions in public space, (2) movement in space, (3) ways of (re)production of heterotopic places. However, we also argue that while having a potential to disrupt general imaginaries, these images must be very carefully used and contextualized, which requires us – researchers and practitioners – to adopt a fundamentally self-reflexive, theoretically and ethically solid position.