Week 1 – Research Methods

First topic of the new module is about contextual research before and during the creation work. Find a practitioner whose research forms their final body of work and make some notes and a comparison with your own approach to research.

Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden by Lisa Barnard was researched, filmed and photographed by the author and explores the relationship between the military industrial complex, the entertainment industry and technology. All interviews were in person and on location in either the US or Pakistan.

An example of a collaborative approach with a research scientist and photographer working together on a body of work is Porkopolis / American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm by Alex Blanchette. Sean Sprague provided the photographic imagery which spanned several years and documented aspects of the agribusiness, in particular the factory pig farm and meat industry in North America. Not unlike the research of Lisa Barnard this also touches on the American pastoral ideal and the machine in the garden.

Sean Sprague, Porkopolis, 2021

Personally, I do not have the time available to undertake such comprehensive research objectives, including all the required photography and production. Although this is certainly a direction I would take with my practice if the opportunity arose. The time spent in the previous three modules researching the meat industry has been insightful, but it lacks depth in actually getting on the ground and interacting with the people, animals and facilities.


BARNARD, Lisa. 2014. Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden.

BLANCHETTE, Alex. 2020. Porkopolis | American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm. Duke University Press.

SPRAGUE, SEAN. 2021. ‘SEAN SPRAGUE’. SEAN SPRAGUE [online]. Available at: https://seanjsprague.com [accessed 25 Sep 2021].

MARX, Leo. 2000. The Machine in the Garden. New York: Oxford University Press, USA.

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