Doing Strong Collaborative Fieldwork In Human Geography


Although increasingly common in the academy, collaboration is not yet the norm in human geography. Drawing on insights from ten years of experience with collaborative event ethnography (CEE), we argue that strong approaches to collaborative fieldwork offer rich opportunities for human geography. CEE involves teams of researchers conducting fieldwork together at large international events, collaborating on all aspects of the research process from research design to analysis and writing. This paper considers the benefits and challenges of CEE. Some of the benefits associated with strong collaborative fieldwork include: robust, collective interpretation of embodied data that makes room for difference; intellectual and social support for individual researchers; professional development and mentoring; and adaptability. Challenges encompass: Collectively interpreting data produced through individual, embodied experiences; managing team dynamics related to seniority, gender, and disciplinary training; meeting professional and institutional expectations and norms; valuing and recognizing individual contributions; and ensuring sufficient funding to support team preparation, data collection, and analysis. Strong collaborative approaches to fieldwork, like CEE, can cultivate slow scholarship and innovative knowledge production.