Research Collaborations

In 2017, Dr Anna Tarrant, Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Lincoln, approached me with an idea for a collaboration. Anna had conducted a study entitled ‘Men, Poverty and Lifetimes of Care’ which examined men’s care responsibilities, support needs and patterns of care across the life course in low-income families in the UK. She had interviewed twenty-six men in different generational positions during the study and was interested in working with me to explore the potential of using creative techniques to present the data she had collected in a way that would both maximise its impact and reach new audiences.

I combed through a selection of the anonymised transcripts of Anna’s interviews to identify quotes that would powerfully illustrate the key themes of her research. I then used these quotes to create a set of letterpress posters with the support and guidance of the Smallprint Co. in Derby. In a booklet designed to accompany the prints Anna explained the rationale underpinning our work together:

‘A key intention for producing the prints is that they give a voice to men in low-income families who are usually marginalised and vilified by policy makers and the media (Neale and Davies, 2015) and constructed as largely absent, feckless and disinterested in family life. The quotes presented have been carefully selected to challenge these ‘common sense’ ideas, by foregrounding men’s voices. This has been done to demonstrate the capabilities of each of these men to participate in family life, while also raising awareness of the specific challenges they face, in a way that does not contribute to this vilification.’

The outputs of this collaboration were shared at a launch event at the University of Lincoln and the project is an example of how artists and researchers can work together to speak directly to, and challenge, society’s broader structures of inequality and power. Anna’s work was funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

If you are a researcher with an idea for a collaboration and are interested in working with me, let’s have a conversation.