Is it ethical to conduct interviews about leisure and cinema-going during a lock-down? Are there any benefits in switching to on-line and remote interviewing?
In this paper I will reflect on the challenges of conducting qualitative audience research during the COVD-19 pandemic. The topic will be framed in the context of my on-going project “Investigating Cinema Memories and Transnational Practices: A Qualitative Study with Female Latin-American Audiences in Barcelona and Milan”, which is based on a series of in-depth interviews to Latin-American women, focusing on their memories and practices of cinema-going and media consumption, both in the country of origin and the current place of residence. Between April and June 2020 I’ve conducted 14 remote in-depth interviews, while my field-work in Milan and Barcelona has been postponed. The impossibility to establish in-person relationships and being on site has significantly challenged my methodology as well as the angle of my analysis, encouraging a more intimate and analytical approach. By adopting a feminist stand-point, which engages with reflexivity and valorizes women’s experiences as “situated knowledges” (Haraway, 1988), the project now focuses primarily on the exploration of memories as transnational practices, namely as border-crossing experiences. Following Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson’s notion of border-crossing as “knowledge production” (2013), I am testing the potential of the memories of leisure and cinema-going for the everyday negotiation of borders and distance.
Dalila Missero is a Research Fellow at the School of Arts, at Oxford Brookes University, where she is working on a project on Latin-American women’s media memories. She has received her PhD in Visual, Performing and Media Arts at the University of Bologna and has published essays on gender, sexuality and cinema in the Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies, Feminist Media Histories, About Gender, and The Italianist. In parallel with her new project, she is also completing her first monograph “Italian Women and Cinema: The Making of a Feminist Film Culture” for Edinburgh University Press.