for possible better worlds
Feminism loves another science: the sciences and politics of interpretation, translation, stuttering, and the partly understood.
A Workshop led by Sandra Tejada Mejía and Álvaro Ramírez March, residents at the Feminist Autonomous Center for Research (October to December 2019)
The methodology of Narrative Productions draws inspiration from Donna Haraway’s feminist epistemology of situated knowledges. This concept crystallizes her purpose of crafting new figures of knowing that run from positivist, universalist accounts of Western science. It is because we need to create more livable worlds, she argues, that we cannot just refuse the machinery of modern science. This sense of political responsibility is behind her idea of a feminist objectivity. For this, she hints, “only partial vision promises objectivity”. That is, only knowledge that is produced from a situated perspective can be held accountable.
Narrative Productions are hybrid texts that are produced as a result of a series of encounters in between ‘researchers’ and ‘participants’. This conversations are then turned into a text that reflects the participant’s view of a given phenomenon until both parties agree on the final result. In this, the methodology seeks to challenge common assumptions of participatory methodologies that intend to just ‘give voice’ to the participants of research. Rather, it seeks to go further by including the embodied exchanges and ethical tensions that take place in these encounters as valid sources of knowledge. Because of this, the methodology is both a source of knowledge and an intervention in itself. In the 15 years since it was created, Narrative Production have been used in politically engaged research and social intervention (investigacción), triggering reflectivity and diffracting our views of, among other topics, social movements, sexualities, and feminisms.
This 4-day introductory workshop explained the theory and practice of the methodology (12 contact hours). Participants learnt collaboratively and experimented with it to investigate two research topics: (a) FAC Research and Space and (b) Phenomenologies of ‘Feeling Safe.’ In addition to three in-doors sessions, the workshop included an event open to the community that featured guests from Fractalities in Critical Research, the research group in which the methodology was originated. The course participants were activists, researchers and community organisers looking for politically responsible ways of ‘doing science’, committed to unpacking new, unexpected, feminist views of possible better worlds that are to come.
Thursday, October 31: Session 1: Introduction
- Overview of the methodology
- Concept of situated knowledges
- Collective discussion and workplan: topics to be developed during the workshop.
Thursday, November 7: Session 2: Politics and Ethics in the Practice of Narrative Productions
- Detailed description of the different steps in the methodology
- Notions of power, authorship, corporeality/embodiment, and reflective agency.
- Practice: elaboration of a script for a Narrative Production and first recorded interview.
Tuesday, November 12: Session 3: Open Event on Experiences of Feminist Research
Open Discussion on experiences of feminist research with members of the research group Fractalities in Critical Research (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Marisela Montenegro, Beatriz San Román, and Núria Sadurní-Balcells.
Thursday, November 21: Session 4: Discussion
- Exhibition of the workshop results.
- Discussion on different the different uses of Narrative Productions. Example research pieces. Narrative Productions as Participatory Action Research (PAR)
Faczine of Narrative Productions
The Narrative Productions co-created by participants in the workshop have been published in Faczine, a ‘zine you can read in the Feminist Library.