Workshop One: Methodologies

Convenors: Catherine Thill, Tanja Dreher, Kate Crawford

Friday 31 July, 2009
University of Technology, Sydney

This workshop builds on and extends the productive discussions generated through The Listening Project in 2008 by focusing on methodologies for researching ‘listening’. The question of appropriate methodologies has arisen in several of the themed workshops and is of particular interest to a number of CRN members seeking to develop ARC grant applications on listening for 2010.

The workshop will focus the question of methodologies through attention to another challenge identified in the 2008 workshops: the need to develop better understandings of the differences and interrelationships between private and public as well as between individual and institutional listening. The challenge is to develop methodologies which can integrate micro and macro perspectives.

The workshop moves beyond established traditions of listening as methodology (eg. interviewing, participant observation, anthropology, oral history) to focus instead on the methods available to document and analyse listening itself – especially where ‘listening’ is understood figuratively as political and ethical practice. Workshops to date have found that ‘listening’ understood in this way is particularly difficult to ‘pin down’. The methodologies workshop will therefore progress the 2008 discussions towards the development of empirically grounded research on listening.

A full day workshop in two halves. Participants will be asked to prepare and circulate beforehand a 1-2 page overview of a methodology that they are either using or would like to propose, or an overview outlining issues relating to methodologies of listening.

Workshop aims

Workshop outcomes


The Methodologies to Capture Listening workshop was an extremely successful CRN event in July 2009 that consolidated and extended productive discussions from the 2008 themed workshops on listening. A/Prof Kate Crawford (CRN, UNSW), Dr Tanja Dreher (CRN, UTS) and Dr Cate Thill (CRN, UNDA) convened the workshop, which brought together CRN members and others who have been involved in the listening project since 2008 (Justine Lloyd, Penny O’Donnell, Mark Gibson, Jean Burgess, Rosemary Kayess, Vera Mackie, Stephen Muecke, Wanning Sun and Jo Ann Tacchi) as well as new participants/provocateurs including Tripta Chandola, Chris Chesher, Chris Healy, Christina Ho, Ben Hoh, Jan Idle and Jemima Mowbray.

The workshop was an opportunity for participants to consolidate the research agenda articulated in the special issue on ‘Listening: New ways of engaging with media and culture’ by turning attention to the question of methodologies. This question arose in a number of the themed workshops and is of particular interest to CRN members seeking to develop ARC grant applications on listening for 2010.

One of the most immediate outcomes of the workshop was to identify a set of methodological problematics:

These problematics will be explored in a co-authored article by the conveners as well as ARC grant applications on listening being developed by participants, which constitute the medium-term workshop outcomes.

Additionally, the workshop has also contributed significantly to ECR development, including providing an opportunity for further research leadership by the conveners as well as participation by Tripta Chandola, Ben Hoh, Jan Idle and Jemima Mowbray. One of the CRN participants commented particularly on this aspect as a strength of the workshop:

I really enjoyed the workshop, it was well organised and run … I found it extremely useful for me in my research endeavours , and I know it was very helpful for my PhD student. She got a lot out of participation in terms of building her confidence about her work and its relevance.

The workshop conveners are extremely grateful for the ongoing CRN support of the Listening Program and to participants in the workshop for sustained, generous and creative engagement.

Report to the ARC’s Cultural Research Network, prepared by A/Prof Kate Crawford, Dr Tanja Dreher and Dr Cate Thill, August 2009