This is a reference for Elena A. Russo

PracticeLab of ethnography

The training activity took place
in Narni (Terni), Italy
organised by University of Perugia
04th,08th,11th,16th and 18th of May 2017

Aims & objectives

--- General Aim:
Encourage 36 students of Criminology BA attending the course of Anthropology of Violence to connect theories of anthropology and social science with the practice of qualitative research (ethnography).

--- Specific Objectives:
1 Use NFE learning methodologies and methods to make students discover ethnography as a practice to investigate violence in its different shapes.
2 Make them carry out a small group ethnography on a local level, concerning violence, conflict and diversity issues.
3 Create a baseline of competence for semi-structured and narrative interviews, group, project writing and presentation giving.
4 Boost passion and dedication toward anthropology and qualitative social research methodologies and methods.

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

Most of students were Italians (31), while some were international students (5) participating to the Erasmus semester abroad (from Spain, Romania and France). Working language was Italian with some translation in English for erasmus students when needed. Therefore it suits as an international training activity.

Training team:
While a professor was in charge of the course of Anthropology of violence (Cristina Papa), the spin-off training was an activity of which I was fully in charge.

Training methods used & main activities

Workshop lasting 1 month divided into 4 training meetings (3 hours each) and 1 presentation meeting to other students and professors.

The workshop relied on Non-formal education strategies, methodologies and methods, with a special focus to the active involvement of students in their learning process, the practical experience of theory through group sessions divided into activity time and debriefing space (following the Kolb's learning cycle). Cores of sessions were empowerment of students, boosting their creativity and flexibility toward their studies, stimulating their curiosity and providing useful working tools for their learning route. Unusual setting for a formal university environment have been used, such as being in a circle, playing simulation games, experimenting theories in a practical, fun and interactive way, etc.

More in detail, each training meeting of the workshop focused on next items:

Training Meeting 1:
Quantitative vs Qualitative research, What is ethnography, How to carry out a focus group and a semi-structured interview, Do's and dont's of anthropologists, Active listening.

Training Meeting 2:
Group division for small-researches to be carried out, Topic assignment for each group (How a local traditional celebration turns into legalized violence, Life of people around the prison of Terni, etc.), Research planning, Practicing narrative interview.

Training Meeting 3:
Troubleshooting on researches going on, Intergroup feedback, Tips&tricks for presentation giving.

Training Meeting 4:
Sharing of the research experience, Creative problem solving of open issues, Quality check on the presentations, Evaluation of the workshop, Ideas for follow-up.

Presentation Meeting 5:
The 7 groups present their research to the rest of students of Antropology of violence course, to their professor and a visiting professor., Q&A, Feedback

Outcomes of the activity

Aim and objectives have been reached, even exceeding the expectations in terms of students'dedication to the project. The outcome was meaningful from a qualitative perspective, in fact: 5 out of 7 groups gave good presentations, 2 very good ones, while 1 was outstanding. Some of the students decided to continue their workshop research for their thesis and kept in touch for follow up.

Evaluation proved a general high level of satisfaction.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

This workshop happened within the 25 hours of integrative didactics foreseen for PhD students, as I was back in 2017. This workshop took place for the first and unique time, as an idea and responsibility of mine, since I have designed and facilitated it. Prof. Cristina Papa, in charge of the course of Anthropology of violence, to which this training was a spin-off, supervised the work, who gladly welcomed non-formal learning as an educational tool for such an experiment.

I worked on this training for 4+1 days as a full time trainer.

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