Reflecting back on the Case Studies for Stewardship Project

I wanted to give you a quick summary of the case studies work I did just so we can begin to think about the time and expenses involved in this kind of ethnographic project, as well as to begin to think about how to be more upfront about the work behind the scenes on the edgeryders platform, in general.

In total I presented 10 case studies on the platform, I estimate that there was about 70 hours of work.  I did some very long interviews which I edited down, this editing and transcribing took the most time. I don’t think people would have watched a 1.5 hour interview. I perhaps should have been more strict and just asked the questions, and posted unedited videos which would have taken much less time. I feel the editing and transcribing was important to make the material accessible and the long interviews enabled me to dig deeper into the concept/philosophy of stewardship rather than merely report back on the project structure and implementation. A few posts were based on people answering questions via email so those posts took very little time.

The Ruddymoor Allotment video is one end of the spectrum with several interviews - lots of b-roll and 2 visits to the place which I estimate came in at about 15 hours of work. The other end is Art and the Commons which I just posted answers as they were written to me in an email, which I estimated was 30 minutes work in total as it took several emails and reminders to get answers and pictures together.

Time estimates do not include travel time so in some cases I spent 2 hours or so on a bus getting to and from the interviews.The costs I incurred were mostly for travel-- which would be my flight to Newcastle from Rome- bus and train to Newcastle and Scotland from Crook( little town where I was based near Durham.) I was staying with friends so housing was free but it should be a consideration for any budget.

I agree with Lauren that in order to do a successful series of case studies it is important to have enough time in the area, probably 2 weeks, and at least one strong contact on the ground to make the initial connections. I hope this is the information is helpful as we move forward.

It is also important to think about how we describe what will happen to the information we collect. The people I interviewed were open to speaking with me about stewardship for the purposes of elevating the level of conversation at the conference but I am not sure if this would change if they were informed about using the posts on the platform as data, or if I was a paid researcher rather than a volunteer as it begins to make their participation more of a commodity.

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Thank you

Maria, thanks for your honesty and making things clear when they may not be for all here. Obviously many of those coming to Lote4 did work, and as it usually happens, some more than others, yet we should all be proud. The earning of Lote4 tickets idea was to find a way to compensate this with 1) invitation to the event = shared pool of knowledge and networks and 2) travel grants, only the latter being actual financial compensation (far from being enough, it was the main resource that the ER company could put on the table this time based on this years fundraising, which is already an improvement from last year).

I know you know this already, just restating in case others don’t…

Following our session on transparency and Patrick’s post on community transitions, I will be preparing a post on all Lote4 related, budget, decision making and hours Edgeryders have spent collectively to prepare it.

Following the Open Ethnographer session and the discussion about ethics, it’s becoming clear we need to come up with a comprehensive consent from Edgeryders site users which informs participation in ethnographic research more than legal terms of reference… I will come back to you on that after talking this through with @Inga_Popovaite.

Thanks for taking the time to put this together

It’s important that everyone get a sense for who’s especially interested in /passionate about, and has a realistic understanding of how long it takes to produce something like the case studies. Most of the time this kind of work will be done on volunteer basis as a contribution towards the community members being able to make sense of a topic or question.

In the rare case that other community members offer paid work opportunities this kind of transparency makes it much easier to harmonise expectations.