Research Expanded | Dr. Jennifer Good

Research Expanded | Dr. Jennifer Good


I think the job of research is to stop
and think and unpack those opinions and ideas and effects that images have every
day without us even noticing. I’m Jennifer Good. I’m a Senior Lecturer in
the History and Theory of Photojournalism and Documentary
Photography here in the Photography Programme at London College of
Communication. I’m a writer and a researcher. I supervise PhDs.
I also am part of the Photography and the Archive Research Centre here. I
originally trained as an artist, specifically as a printmaker, I worked a
lot with printmaking and textiles. But, during that original degree I actually,
by the end of that degree found the reading and writing element of my course
which we called contextual studies, the most interesting and that aspect that
suited me the most. My PhD ended up having very little to do with art
history and everything to do with these photographic responses to the 9/11
attacks and so that work kind of went in a direction that I never imagined,
initially, and ended up placing me very much in terms of a subject specialism
having to do with photojournalism and documentary photography which is how I
ended up here at LCC. My research is predominantly cohered around ideas about
photography and violence, that’s really the main thread that runs through
everything that I’ve done in my research practice. So, not just photographs of
violent events but ideas about the sort of social uses of photography in the
aftermath of violent events, so, I’m really interested from a kind of a
social and even a psychoanalytical perspective in the role that photographs
play in the aftermath of violence. And what we use them for? And how we use them
for processes of commemoration and sense-making? Well, I’m currently kind
of moving from a focus on terrorism as a particular form of violence into a
consideration of more intimate forms of violence. So, domestic violence has been a
recent focus. I’m looking at the work of Donna Ferrato, who’s a photographer who
very famously photographed, at very close quarters, as an eyewitness, incidents of
domestic abuse. And so, I’ve been interested in the role that photography
plays in capturing that kind of an event and communicating ideas about that kind
of violence more socially. Well, I’m a member of PARC, the Photography and the Archive Research Centre. I’m also a member of the War and Conflict Research
Hub that is kind of a subgroup of that. There are a number of us, particularly
working within the area photojournalism and documentary photography, who have an
ongoing interest and in some cases a very high-profile interest and practice,
in relation to violence and terror and particularly, ideas of state violence and
how state violence becomes visible or invisible. Yeah, there is a second strand
to my research which has to do with teaching and learning and ideas about
learning and that has been quite an exciting and new development for me in
the past few years. Involving my students in research workshops and experiments
and finding ways of connecting what I learned from my students with how I
inform my practice going forward. So, that’s something that I’m still
developing and it’s really exciting to be working with my students, not just PhD
students, but also my BA students as part of my research practice. The kinds of
work that I write have a number of different audiences so I do write for
magazines and for other kinds of academic journal publications, for
example, but it’s really in the book format that I feel I can have much
more of a kind of in-depth engagement with subjects but also a more direct
kind of relationship with readers. So, for example, there’s a book project that I
recently published with my colleague Paul Lowe, who’s also in the
photography department, which is for students. It’s really an outcome of 10
years or so of the teaching practice that Paul and I have both been engaging
in in different ways and for me it’s been a really interesting way of
reflecting on my teaching but, also obviously, of communicating it. I
supervise 3 PhD students currently, I’m relatively new to PhD supervision,
but it’s been a fantastically rich and stimulating part of my practice as a
teacher and as a researcher. The 3 PhD students who I’m working with are
all in the areas of photography or lens- based media. Some have to do with looking
at the history of photobooks, for example. Others are looking at ideas
around the relationship between photographer and subject and the news
media and different aspects of those things. The PhD supervision relationship here
at UAL is very different from what I experienced when I was a PhD student. I
had one supervisor and it was a very isolated and intensive kind of singular
pursuit but here it’s much more open and much more connected. So, all of the PhD
students who I supervise have a team, I’m part of a team supervising them, which is
a really interesting and productive way of working. So, it’s really discursive,
it’s really based on conversations and the sharing of views. Sometimes
supervisors disagree. Sometimes that’s really interesting. Sometimes the
meeting consists of the student arguing for their position against what the
supervisors think and to me that’s really productive and exactly what a
supervision process should look like. I think the research culture at LCC is really
interesting and one of the reasons for that is because of the number of
practitioners and research students who are working in a practice-based way, in
relation to their research. And practice- based research, practice-based PhDs, is a
really wide open field and LCC, I think, strikes a really interesting balance in
supporting and supervising that kind of research. While also, leaving lots of
space around it for us as a collective, as a group of practitioners and
researchers to understand what practice- based research is and what it means. And
not just practice-based research but also how more traditional research like
mine, that takes a written form, relates to the practice that goes on around us
in this space every day.

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