Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Beginning


Welcome to my virtual office and my first blogpost.

This first post is rather long so that I can explain what I am actually trying to achieve through my presence in the blogosphere.

I am a social anthropologist with a PhD in “Rumor and Gossip – as Social Resistance” and a trained cameraman and director from the National French Documentary Filmschool. I’ve made more than 30 short documentaries since I joined the Ida Institute in 2008. Many of my documentaries are available on our website and more are coming.

Our main goal in producing the ethnographic documentaries is to inspire audiologists worldwide to reflect upon their own practice and promote a more patient-centered approach. We strongly believe that a cornerstone in changing deep-rooted behavior is awareness of your own practice – even though it can be a burdensome task during a busy day at work.

And that gets to my goal for this blogspace.  I want to know what you see when you view the documentary videos – the “ethnographic mirrors” -- on the Ida website

Perhaps I should step back and start by explaining how these ethnographic mirrors are created.

It is a simple process. When I visit a hearing care professional in his or her clinic, I use a small handheld camera.  As part of my method, I take a participatory approach. I very deliberately avoid becoming the detached fly on the wall…instead I insist on being the friendly fly in the soup.
  
You might say that I am almost an irritating presence with my camera. If I am not being accepted and given “permission” to enter the comfort zone of people I film, these documentaries will never succeed. You, the audience, will immediately sense that there are signs of resistance in the body language of my subjects, indicating that my camera is intrusive and unwelcome. Luckily, it very seldom happens!

Because I am getting up close and personal with the camera, it often feels a bit like dancing a tango.  It can be quite intimate and, of course, requires at least two participants!

The camera itself always plays a role in setting the scene. The challenging part is to create a safe space where the interactions becomes real, honest and trustful – where the patient’s worries of losing more than “just” hearing are expressed and where the audiologist does not have all the answers.  

The goal of an ethnographer/anthropologist is to reveal the yet unarticulated differences between what people say they do and what they actually do.

But, we do more than this.  We make the documentaries common points of reference for reflection and discussion as part of the co-creative learning principles that you can find on our website and at Ida seminars and workshops. It is my experience that these ethnographic documentaries work as excellent “mirrors”, reflecting common challenges for all audiologists.   

Through the conversations on this blog, I aim to help you observe other practices -- and your own -- through my “ethnographic eyes.”  I hope to provide you with a new and thought-provoking way of looking at the clinical encounter between hearing care professional and client. And I hope to inspire you to rediscover your own clinical practice.

By doing this, I provide you with a unique possibility to overcome your professional and personal barriers by enabling you to share your everyday dilemmas, challenges and successful experiences.

I look forward to sharing with you!

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