Methodological Innovations Conference 2018
  • Room 406, Babbage Building

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The Institute of Health and Community are delighted to invite you to their annual interdisciplinary Methodological Innovations Conference with a theme showcasing methods and methodologies for exploring everyday life.

The conference offers a unique opportunity to debate current and future issues of methodological relevance, with delegates drawn from different disciplines and professional areas.

The keynote presentation will be given by Professor Chrissie Rogers, Division of Sociology and Criminology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Bradford (see below for details).

Booking is essential for this event - please register your place via the above link.

Contact for any queries.

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Today's events

Keynote: Chrissie Rogers, Professor of Sociology, University of Bradford

Necessary connections: “Feelings photographs” and doing care-full criminal justice research


Prisons and their inmates are commonly reported in the news media with stories about riots, squalor, drugs, self-harm and suicide hitting the headlines. Prisoners’ families are left to worry about the implications of such events on their kin, while those less able to understand social cues, norms and rules are left vulnerable to deteriorating mental health at best, to die at worst. As part of the life story interview method in my research with offenders and prisoner mothers I asked participants to take photographs between interviews to help us think about and articulate feelings. As it is, seeing (and imagining) is often how we make an immediate connection to something or someone, such that images in fiction, news stories, drama, art works, film and social media can shape the way people think and behave – indeed feel about things. Notably, John Berger, in the 1970s, commented: 

'…image is a sight which has been recreated or reproduced. It is an appearance, or a set of appearances, which has been detached from the place and time in which it first made its appearance […] every image embodies a way of seeing' (Berger, 1972: 2).

Moreover, I agree with Jo Aldridge (2007: 13-14), when she says about eliciting photographs from people with LD, the 'photographs command viewers’ attention and, as the photographs have been taken by the participants themselves, they are also absorbing in a personal sense in that they provide direct insight into the experiences of those participants who have taken the picture in the first place'. Images and representations ought to be taken seriously in researching social life, as 'the social conditions and effects of visual objects need to be considered' (Allan 2012: 78) and 'researchers need to account for their own particular ways of looking at images' (Allan 2012: 78). Critically: 

'visual criminology brings the possibility of a new rigour and new life not simply to the discipline of criminology but to the key social issues of our past, present and future in its commitment to understanding the power of the image in perpetually mediated worlds of harm, violence, control and resistance in which we exist’ (Brown and Carrabine, 2017: 8).

How we interpret photographs, paintings, stories and television shows is always based on our own imaginings, biography, culture and history (Mills 1959). Therefore, we look at and process an image, a story, an icon, before words escape, by seeing and imagining. How my participants and I make meaning of the photographs taken in storying their feelings, is both unique and insightful and we sometimes have different readings. As it is I want to enable my participants to make and create their own stories via these pictures rather than have their lives completely interpreted via me, although there is that too. Therefore, as we interact with images and stories, we imagine, at the very least. We then make a judgement, or an interpretation. I hope to add the layer of the participant to that interpretation in every photo, every interaction, and every story told. Moreover, I propose that via a care ethics model (Rogers, 2016), if we understand caring relations, while carrying out research, we will aid a deeper understanding of doing care-full research by clarifying different ways of producing knowledge and grasping how the socio-political, as well as practical and emotional spheres merge and facilitate one another. In doing so, we might incite changes that remove oppressive barriers and enable a deeper understanding about ‘hidden’ lives. 


Aldridge, J. (2007) ‘Picture this: the use of participatory photographic research methods with people with learning disabilities’ Disability and Society 22 (1) Pp 1-17. 

Allan, A. (2012), ‘Doing ethnography and using visual methods’ in S, Bradford and F, Cullen [eds.] Research and Research Methods for Youth Practitioners, London, Routledge.

Berger, J. (1972) Ways of Seeing London, Penguin Books.

Brown, M. and Carrabine, E. (2017) (eds.) Routledge International handbook of Visual Criminology, London, Routledge. 

Mills, C. W. (1959) The Sociological Imagination New York, Oxford University Press. 

Rogers, C. (2016) Intellectual Disability and Being Human: A Care Ethics Model London, Routledge.


I joined Bradford as a Professor of Sociology in September 2017. I graduated from Essex a PhD (ESRC) in Sociology in 2004, after which I took up an ESRC post-doctoral fellowship at Cambridge. The PhD research was with mothers and fathers who have children identified with ‘special educational needs’. I subsequently published this as a monograph with Palgrave in 2007 as Parenting and Inclusive Education.

I have previously held academic posts at Aston, Anglia Ruskin, Brunel and Keele. I have published in the areas of mothering, intellectual/learning disability (including ASD and ADHD), care, intimacy, education and have recently published more theoretical/ philosophical with Routledge in a monograph called Intellectual Disability and Being Human: A Care Ethics Model. I have also collaborated with Susie Weller, when we edited a book called Critical Approaches to Care: understanding caring relations, identities and cultures. I also have research papers published in, for example, Sexualities, British Journal of Sociology of Education, Disability and Society, Sociological Research Online and Women’s Studies International Forum. 

Most recently I have completed a Leverhulme Trust research fellowship called ‘Care-less Spaces: Prisoners with learning difficulties and their families’. I remain passionate about challenges that impact upon education and learning via social justice and sociological discourse.

My profile on the University of Bradford website 

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