Categoria: Scopri il nostro patrimonio

How to communicate with older informants

When your goal is to document traditional handicraft and to do ethnographic fieldwork, you will most likely be working a lot with older people. If you have not had many such experiences, it might be confusing or even intimidating – especially as there are many cultural stereotypes concerning aging. It is helpful to be aware of some age-related issues and your own prejudices about the aging process, before starting to work with them. As an interviewer, you can do a lot to assure a smooth and comfortable trans-generational interaction. Below we share some thoughts and special features of working with older people. Not all of these suggestions may apply to your particular situation – simply use what works for you! Remember: older people are not a homogeneous group and do not let their personalities be defined merely by age. How to prepare your informant for work in front of the camera Invest time in planning and introduction. Define your own goals and intentions and share them openly with your informants. Discuss with them how to make it a rewarding and meaningful experience for both of you. To create an informal atmosphere, prepare your informants ahead of time. They should be aware of how much time the filming session will take, whether or not their participation will be anonymous, and what they can expect during the whole process. As older...

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How to conduct an interview with a master artisan

Interviewing is an efficient way of learning from experts. When producing a handicraft related video, well-conducted structured conversation provides you a lot of background information that would be hard to gather otherwise: a unique personal perspective to the topic, broader background information about tradition and its local formations, and explanations and tips about why things are made certain ways or how to avoid mistakes. A successful interview requires close collaboration and dialogue between filmmakers and artisans. Your job is to put the narrator at ease, listen carefully and keep the conversation on the topic. These tips below could help you gain more valuable information from the informants and help them appear natural in front of the camera.   How to conduct an interview: Good communication Do your homework in advance: think about the focus and topics, prepare your questions and do some background research. It is good idea to send the questions in advance. Time to think about the topic usually results in a richer and more detailed interview. Good communication starts with an appropriate introduction. Think about how you introduce yourself and the institution you represent. It is useful to situate yourself and the master artisans working together on the project as equals. It reinforces that this is a mutually rewarding project for the both of you. Before the interview begins, explain to the informant how you plan...

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How to video-record tacit knowledge and interview a master artisan

Video-recording is a wonderful observational tool and an increasingly popular method to document different kinds of knowledge. It is without equal when it comes to sharing manual skills and tacit knowledge – such as handicraft competencies. The goals and purposes of video-recording master artisans may vary, such as: doing fieldwork and collecting knowledge for one’s own handicraft purposes; capturing and passing on the skilled knowledge of expert craft practitioners; promoting and disseminating artisan’s creations and products; making an educational or research video to examine different cultures and societies; preserving the past and cultural heritage; etc. While different approaches advocate different standards and codes, what we offer here is a general hands-on approach if you are planning your very first video-recording project. These steps will address specific issues, recounting the background information needed to understand the whole process.   Who is your informant? You have found a master artisan whose unique knowledge and working process is inspirational and worth sharing. If s/he shares your enthusiasm about your video project and agrees to participate on-camera – congratulations, you have taken a huge step towards your dream! Now you have to decide the appropriate style of communication, course of action and timetable. Remember: when documenting someone’s creative process, you are also portraying who they are and their life. Be aware of emotional complexities that might be introduced in this process. Think about...

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