Interviewing Images: How visual research using IPA (Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis) can illuminate the change-making possibilities of place, space, and dwelling.

Andrews, Jorella G.. 2020. 'Interviewing Images: How visual research using IPA (Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis) can illuminate the change-making possibilities of place, space, and dwelling.'. In: 3rd International Conference on Dwelling Form (IDWELL 2020). Department of Architecture Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia 27 - 28 October 2020. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) is a qualitative method mainly used in psychology, the social sciences and health science. Beginning with processes of open question interviewing, and taking an idiographic approach, it elicits unusually rich data from persons about specific life experiences, opportunities, and challenges. In so doing, it generates flexibility of thought and feeling, and evokes unanticipated insight.

As a visual culture scholar, and inspired by the distinctly visual connotations of the word inter-view, I propose that our understanding of contemporary lived experience and our attempts at change-making might be extended if the descriptive, analytical and interpretative techniques of IPA were applied to the image-worlds (and object-worlds) that play a role in shaping us as individuals, citizens, and researchers. But is it possible to interview images without this being merely or wholly a process of projecting our own perspectives onto them?

This question has been central to a series of workshops I began developing and delivering in 2018 called ‘Using Phenomenology in Contemporary Arts Research and Pedagogy’. In this paper, I present the philosophical underpinnings for the “interviewing images” methodology I have developed and report on the techniques involved. I also foreground its decolonising potential. For purposes of demonstration, I draw on my use of this technique in early-stage research for a small-scale community-based urban development project I am hoping to initiate in the underprivileged area of the city where I live and teach.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Identification Number (DOI):


Interviewing images, Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), visual research, image-analysis, decolonising orientations, change-making

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


3 August 2020Submitted
24 August 2020Accepted
10 October 2020Published Online

Event Location:

Department of Architecture Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia

Date range:

27 - 28 October 2020

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Aug 2020 11:49

Last Modified:

15 Dec 2021 10:46


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