As part of my research and reading for this project, I have been encountering big methodological questions around how to include our non-verbal fellows into geography research. So, I thought rather than write a long, formal blog post I would make this an exercise in comparison between the writing style of my previous assessment blogs and the way that I speak. The reason for doing this is that I believe it is important for there to be clarification in why so many neurodiverse students seek written modes of communication over oral modes. But when you take into consideration that I am not considered a ‘non-verbal person’ but experience these difficulties and mismatches in communication styles, the need for methodologies in research that accommodate those who are strictly non-verbal becomes clear. Any system – including academics – based on verbal communication alone will seriously exclude and restrict those who communicate in other non-verbal languages.
In terms of bringing this back to more-than-human research methods, I think it seems fluidly logical (at least in my mind) that when trying to make sense of lives that are fundamentally non-verbal (plants, animals, landscapes, soil, rocks, mountains, oceans, rivers, climate, etc) there would be a clear benefit to engaging non-verbal researchers/consultants to contribute their alternative perspectives to the pool of knowledge. My essay is going to introduce a few methods that could potentially be used to achieve this, but from my research so far I just want to say – we are doing research in some exciting times, methodologically speaking! There are some cool technologies and ‘out of the box’ thinking going on, and I for one am excited about where this might go!
So, a couple of little additions that didn’t make it onto the video – another issue with spoken word for me, I tend to forget VERY easily what it is that I am trying to say.
1. I have practised very hard to be able to achieve the level of expression you hear in this video! When I am relaxed and speaking, I have been told that I either sound bored or angry most of the time, and I am generally only this expressive when I am either excited or mindfully forcing myself to be.
2. Synaesthesia in presentations – what I left out here was that I feel very disembodied from my voice when presenting, and it is actually the sound of my voice that causes intense tactile and audio-visual synaesthesia. My voice does not feel like it comes from within me and out, but rather from an external source and rapidly towards me in an overwhelming, painful way. It is actually a physically painful experience.
3. Windy audio – I can’t apologise for the wind, but I was just saying something about how most people really love presentation-based assignments because they are an ‘easy’ task. This is not the case for me.
Okay – enjoy the main blog content in my video: