Robin Hadley: That’s me(n) in the corner, that’s me(n) in the not-right of reproduction…
There is a paucity of material on the interview dynamics when men interview men on a sensitive subject. Childless men are, compared to women, absent from geographical, gerontological, psychological, reproductive, and sociological research. These disciplines have mainly focussed on parenthood, family, and women. Feminist researchers have highlighted the paucity of material on the fertility intentions, history and experience of older men. While reproduction is central to feminisms it is absent from masculinities scholarship. In this piece, I describe my experience of interviewing fellow involuntarily childless men and my experiences as a man in a feminised academic arena.
I was awarded my PhD in Social Gerontology by Keele University in December 2015. My PhD study examined the experiences of involuntarily childless older men. My previous careers included roles as counsellor, deputy technical manager, scientific and technical photographer, kitchen assistant, and bar tender. My training as a counsellor and my own experience of the desire for fatherhood led me to research the subject of involuntarily childless men’s desire for fatherhood as research dissertation for my Master of Arts in Counselling, The University of Manchester. I followed this up with a self-funded Master of Science (again at the University of Manchester) exploring the levels of desire for parenthood (‘broodiness’) in females and males, parents and non-parents. I was born in 1960 and was the 7th of 8 children in a working class area of Manchester. Post PhD I have held a number of short term Research Associate posts on projects relating to ageing, dementia, technology, and fathers influence on infant feeding.
Pat Eyres: Occupational Auto/Biography: narratives in religious ‘doing’
I am an occupational therapist and a newcomer to Auto/Biography as a research method, but have decided to explore this as part of my PhD study into religious practice as a valued occupation. My work sits in the area of occupational science (Whiteford & Hocking 2012) which is focused on understanding the complexity of human occupation to inform and develop occupation as therapy.
I am also interested in creative methods of research (Blackman 2007) that also seek to address the power ratio between the researched and the researcher –so as such auto/biography (Stanley 1993) is an interesting prospect for me. I intend to use an auto/biographical study as one aspect of my work which is structured as a Facet Methodology study (Mason 2011). This study is aimed at an exploration of religious practice from an occupational perspective – what do people ‘do’ and how do they value the ‘doing’ as part of their everyday lives.
I am a practising Christian and have always felt that the influence of my own beliefs needed to be acknowledged within my work (Dahlberg 2006), however during 2016 I found myself experiencing barriers to my religious ‘doing’ and have come to realise that my own story is now, and perhaps always has been, relevant (Letherby, 2002). And what of the stories that other people might tell in relation to the barriers to religious ‘doing’ that they have experienced? I want both my story and others' stories to contribute an occupational Auto/Biography into religious ‘doing’.