Mobile Methods: What are they, why use them and how?

A growing number of studies in cross-disciplinary sport, exercise and physical activity research are adopting and developing mobile methodologies, such as walk/run/bike/swim-along interviews, geo-narratives, and mobile and video ethnographies. Many of these methodologies are presented in the literature in a relatively unproblematic way. Yet more critical insights regarding the practical and ethical logistics of performing – and analysing the data generated by – such methods have considerable value for new and emerging researchers working in this area.

Encouraging honest and open discussion about these challenges, this interactive workshop will reflect on opportunities to use these methods to examine: (a) the sensory, emotional and affective transformations that occur as different people actively transition through everyday life; (b) the socialities and relational configurations that shape diverse qualities of movement and physical activity; and (c) the importance of engaging with stillness, pause and differential mobilities that counter normative pressures to move more, faster and further.

Workshop Convenors

Sarah Bell

Sarah is a Lecturer at the University of Exeter, UK, whose research focuses on the complex intersections between human health, wellbeing and the interlinked physical, social and cultural environments in which people live, work and move. Sarah has recently completed a research fellowship, “Sensing Nature”, exploring how people living with varied forms and severities of sight impairment describe their experiences with(in) diverse types of nature through the life course. View full profile here.

Sarah Atkinson

Sarah has a background in Anthropology and Public Health and is Professor of Geography and Medical Humanities at Durham University. Her research interrogates the hidden assumptions, social meanings and implications embedded in key contemporary concepts, such as wellbeing and care, and how such experiences unfold through diverse more-than-human relations. She is part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s What Works Centre for Wellbeing evidence programme on communities and a member of the WHO Europe Expert Advisory Group on the Cultural Contexts of Health. View full profile here.

Ronan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Maynooth University, Ireland. He is a health geographer with a specific interest in the experiential, embodied and emotional dimensions of ‘healthy blue space’. His most recent work has been on geographies of swimming with a particular interest in health and wellbeing and the idea of therapeutic accretion. He has also been experimenting with visual methods in the water, including new spatial video apps developed at Maynooth University as well as the elusive potential of the swim-along interview. View full profile here.