Though I uploaded this onto my personal academic blog, I thought I’d upload it on here too! I spent some time writing a reflection on how the fieldwork has gone so far and some of the problems we’ve encountered, so without further ado, here it is! I apologise though, it is rather long… Haha.
On Monday (22.01.18), we had our first official day of official fieldwork. We started the morning in class assigning ourselves into groups, there were three, photography, audio and video. Assumingly, we all thought we knew and were confident in our assigned roles, however when we arrived at our first location, it was apparent that in all the groups, we faced similar, if not the same challenges.
The first most apparent issue was communication between each other. Originally when assigning groups, we summarised what each member must do – though, shortly afterwards in the field it became clear that we did not spend enough time clarifying the tasks at hand. In our group, there were two camera people, we made what we presumed to be a conscious effort to tell all group members that the only photographs we needed were of the buildings themselves to put onto the map, and possibly some portrait photos of staff and community members to add additional depth and personalisation to our content. Katie, doing her dissertation was to photograph the activities throughout the day as documentation for both ourselves and her benefit, though one of our group members ended up following Katie’s lead and taking unnecessary photographs of the happenings, even though Katie’s role was one separate from our group. Whilst the content itself was great, it wasn’t beneficial for us and therefore delayed our process as the other camera person had double the workload. In addition, as that was Katie’s role, we ended up with a lot of duplicate content that was unusable and unnecessary of our aim.
Our second issue ties into the first, and that was uncertainty of our roles, and doubt whether we were gathering the right content. At times, we lost track of group members and we weren’t updating one another on our progression, in a sense, some of us were working as a group, and others were working as individuals. Even though this was apparent, we didn’t rectify the issue immediately which is what should have happened – because failure of the task doesn’t just affect us as a group, but the entire CM4K Asset Mapping process. We do not have the time to return to locations and gather additional content, we must ensure it is completed during our first, and only visits to avoid jeopardising quality.
Finally, the third problem we faced was time management. Once again, each challenge we faced tie into one another and could have an undesirable domino effect on the project if not resolved promptly. Originally it had been planned that the time spent at each location would be 10, to 20 minutes – however we spent around an hour at each which resulted in missing lunch, and spending more time outside in the sunshine which has negative implications on everyone involved. The additional time spent at each location was because of our lack of communication and uncertainty, which meant we weren’t gathering content at a sufficient rate. There were some unforeseen opportunities that arose which also delayed our day, but equally these were beneficial to cease whilst we had the opportunity. Although the opportunities were phenomenal, we have since agreed collectively that if it is to happen again, we must politely decline as it strays from our aim, and can negatively affect the project objective. We must ensure we best keep to our time management plan, and if opportunities do arrive, that we rearrange another occasion where we can commit more time and resources into the events – this promotes equality to everyone as we can only truly dedicate ourselves to one objective at a time to achieve maximum impact.
In addition, I too was personally effected by these challenges as I did not have an official role throughout the day, instead I had intended to help those in my group who needed additional aid. I spent time floating between person to person, however I feel as if I did not contribute anything positive on our first day because I just didn’t know what I was doing. Additionally, at times it felt I was simply in the way, and hindering my groupmates tasks – I was fearful I’d be perceived as uncommitted, though it was simply because I wasn’t sure what exactly needed to be done and did not want to create duplicate content. This could have been resolved if I had spoken to my group members, if not on location it could have been on the coach as we had time between each destination where we could have designated roles and added clarity to the project, though as no one did, neither did I. I should have taken initiative, but I cannot dwell on the past as that cannot be changed, instead I should use these challenges as fuel to guarantee the same problems do not arise for me, or anyone else.
Each point reflects our partnership, and despite the negatives everyone is incredibly hardworking individuals – so these problems should not have arisen if we had only taken an additional moment to ensure everyone was on the same page and knew what they were doing. I do not think that it is anyone’s fault, this could happen in any situation – it was our first day, and often even when you’re confident that you know what you’re doing, problems will always arise. We were all learning the structure, and in ways it has been beneficial to us that this happened early during the process. Despite not instantly correcting our problems, on that same evening we did speak to our lecturer Peter and soon discovered that all the groups had the same problems. This feedback session lead to us concluding a resolution of how we could remedy the challenges we had, to ensure that the same process did not happen again. The next morning, we agreed that after Peter had spoken to us collectively as a class, we’d break into our groups and have a discussion to clarify and address our issues together, and make a solid action plan for the day to ensure we combated our previous problems. After the discussion, we broke into our groups and clarified the tasks at hand. The meeting helped tremendously, and every group had an incredible turn around. We all worked together, and rather than the hour we spent at each location the previous day, we were finished and out in around 20 minutes at every site. We had a clear direction, and gathered so much valuable content. We even arrived back at the University at our originally planned time, and then had time in the afternoon to edit – which is something we had planned for the previous day, though unfortunately could not do.
The third day of fieldwork on Thursday (25.01.2018) once again, went smoothly. Unfortunately, we did forget to get a longitude and latitude of the second location, though Peter is confident he knows where it is roughly on the map, so it shouldn’t cause any problems. I am so proud that we all came together and really proved how hard each one of us could work. It gives me such hope that the rest of the project will go just as smoothly as our second and third day did, if not even better! I feel our bonds are now stronger, and that we are a community within ourselves. With each day and each challenge, our partnership strengthens and each learning experience gives us valuable insight on how to best move forwards. I look forward to continuing to see our progression.