making knowledge visible

VISUAL RESEARCH PROJECT IN PROGRESS: ‘ROLLER GIRLS: PERFORMANCE OF GENDER IN ROLLER DERBY’

Currently, ethnovisions Mara Lin is a visiting researcher at the Research Group of the Cross-cultural Study of Kinship at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, collaborating in research on VulneraSProject, on Childrearing, Abandonment, and Sociocultural Vulnerability. Next to that, I am doing research on queer communities and roller derby. Which you can read about here.

ABSTRACT

Roller derby is a rapidly growing full-contact sport meanly practiced by women. In this research, I explore the gender diversity within the Barcelona Roller Derby community through performance, dress, movement and the body. Through participant observation, interviews and visual methods like re-enactment and photo elicitation, I identify that the “roller girls” perform an alternative gender identity, which is encouraged by the community through the construction of a ‘derby identity’ and a training program called ‘fresh meat’. Although this work is mainly focused on gender expression, it will also assess how the community’s diversity in broader terms (race, ability, class) are prioritized and realized.

FURTHER READING

The content is based on the visual ethnographic research focused on Gender, The body and Community within Barcelona Roller Derby which I am conducting since March. I applied visual methods such as photo-elicitation interviews and reenactment to uncover embodied and ‘self-evident’ knowledge.
My visual observations of ‘bout’ (match), training and event and the roller girls’ knowledge from the base of this visual essay. It shows moving and interacting bodies and explores gender performance, body diversity and self-confidence within and outside of the strong, self-organized community of Roller Derby.
Next to this base of research findings, there are other ‘thought-lines’ unfolding, which reflects on theory, the process of conducting research, analyzing visual data and distribution of images. Quotes of other researchers strengthen my observations. Images of the crew and me filming & interviewing and social media posts of the research participants, reflect on our influence on the situation. Voice messages from my personal archive and desktop images reflect my position as a researcher.

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