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Faculty for Social Wellbeing

Research, Publications and Scholarship Committee

Where do we go from here?

A discussion about gaps, silences and possibilities in emotive qualitative inquiry.

by Dott. Roberta Attard

‘It is not the avoidance of emotions that
necessarily provides for high quality research.
Rather, it is an awareness and intelligent use of
our emotions that benefits the research process’
(Gilbert, 2001, p. 11).

Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Room 420 – Humanities B (FEMA)

Abstract by Dott. Attard:
This discussion is born of a sensory ethnographic study I recently immersed myself in, the scope of which was to come alongside children’s experience of the death of a parent at a young age using participatory methods within an ethic of care. In this inquiry I follow children's experience of their grief by combining ethnography and autoethnography in an effort to respectfully inquire into ‘not the unmediated world of the ‘other’, but the world between ourselves and the others’ (Tedlock, 1983, p. 323).

Throughout this inquiry in all its phases, from being with children who have experienced such loss to being with myself while writing, I seek to apply ‘Deep Listening’, which skill I use therapeutically on a daily basis in my profession as psychologist. As a concept, Deep Listening turns up in different parts of the world in ancient indigenous cultures (e.g Australian aboriginal Dadirri and Gulpa Ngawal) and has been translated in many ways in the helping professions such as Rogerian empathic listening, Gestalt non-evaluative listening, Psychodynamic intersubjective listening and mindfulness practice to mention a few. From a research perspective it involves listening with all the senses in an effort at ‘reframing how we learn, how we come to know and what we value as knowledge’ (Brearley & Hamm 2013, p.259).

I invite you to immerse yourself in and listen deeply to the depictions, linguistic expressions and poetic representations of one of the children who generously permitted me to accompany her on the unfolding and meaning making of her experience of the death of her mother, a privilege I will always be indebted to her for. From this, I hope that a discussion will evolve in which we can collaborate on troubling and problematizing research methods and methodology in emotive research in an attempt at seeing ‘the nakedness of the now’ presented ‘in the twilight between the Underworld and the world of daylight’ (van Manen, 2006, p.718) where ‘absence is a sign of presence’ and ‘[d]arkness is the method’ (van Manen, 2006, p. 719).

For reservations, kindly contact Ms Lucienne Brincat
Tel: 23403732 /



Last Updated: 8 March 2017

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