Elicitations

The researcher plan: use the method “photo-elicitation”.

Way before I get ready to do so, many of the people I talk to ‘self-elicit’ their lifeworlds, showing me pictures on their phones and explaining without me even asking. I learn a lot about the idea of privacy, I reach regions that I cannot access physically as Foreigner at the moment, and understand where new design ideas come from.

I did so similarly with some photographs from Germany at times for the general interpersonal exchange. Now,  I want to use the method in a structured and thought-through way. Finally, I found all locations that are part of the production process, document them and print the pictures. With these images I plan some questions for conversations. I would like to learn, which associations come up about other places and learn more about the relations of their own businesses/families.
In reality it didn’t go the way I expected – of course.

Location 1

The whole family was present, the two ladies that also work here were not.
With the ladies who run the business I went through these images. They recognized some of the production sites and then went to the back of their house to show me their samples – which we talked about before, but suddenly it seemed more clear that I am honestly interested in these. It turns out that they have a sample collection in perfect condition. I was able to document everything and in the end I even received one as a present (which I refused vehemently but they insisted) so that I am the happy owner of a fantastic piece of work now.

Location 2

This workshop is bigger and only one of the sisters has the time to talk to me today. Usually they are very talkative and I have slight problems following our conversations due to amount and speed of input – so also today I put on the record first thing, so I can go through it again afterwards. The parts I still don’t understand I will have to ask for help. I could review some of my information with the help of the pictures as well as finally find that silk colouring workshop that I have been looking for quite a while. It is not that I didn’t ask about it before but the answers I received from different people were not clear enough to find it yet.

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All in all, the method is definitely very useful in breaking with the one-sided concentration on my questions – which for this context proves a repeating pattern although I am trying to not open up this kind of interview situation it often happens that people stop working and expect me to ask questions. As a result, I will definitely continue to bring pictures but probably less in quantity so single processes receive more attention.

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Elicitations

The Sunflower Gallery in Yangon

This gallery is one of my favorite places in Yangon! Where else to find a jewel like this Acheik silk fabric in all natural dye?! This is the most beautiful and artful piece I have found so far!

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Acheik silk fabric in natural dye

The owner Daw Phyu Ei Thein is not just doing a fantastic job in running this textile gallery with fabrics and products of high quality from all areas of Myanmar – she also follows the concept of a social enterprise. Her aim is the promotion of sustainability at all stages of the production – e.g. by using natural dyes and paying a stable salary to the weavers she works with – in contrast to the usual wage per piece.

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And on top she is a super lovely and knowledgeable person! I would like to give back some of her support in connecting me with others in my particular research area in this form.

You can find the Gallery at:
Sanchaung, Yangon
Shangone St (near the junction Dhammazedi & U Wisara)
No.54, 1st floor

https://m.facebook.com/Sunflowers-Organic-Dye-Textile-Crafts-Shop-1603943643211553/

The Sunflower Gallery in Yangon

Circumventing the Language Barrier

For the time being, I am still not able to conduct in-depths conversations in Myanma. And the very specific terms necessary for my research have to be collected at various points, like dictionaries,  materials of the weavers and schools as well as orally transmitted and written down by whom ever happens to be around.

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Sometimes it helps just to point at words if my pronunciation is not understandable – so my personal dictionary is very useful at the moment.

At the weaving school there is also a scheme with basic Acheik patterns and their Myanma names that I was allowed to photograph. The next step is to print these out to take along and show whenever necessary and to learn them by heart to hopefully get closer to talking conversations soon.

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Circumventing the Language Barrier