#fellrunning (a brief virtual ethnography)

Created sound on the 3rd March and mixed on the 4th.

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14 Responses to “#fellrunning (a brief virtual ethnography)”

  1. Giraf87 February 23, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    hi Phil, this looks great, it’s very immersive. I feel I have been up the hill too! thanks for sharing. Gina

  2. Jen Ross March 1, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    immersive, as Gina says, and evocative. These are like the foundations of a field journal. (as is your pinterest board.) Looking forward to seeing how this develops.

  3. Anabel Drought March 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Excellent work Phil !

    Brand identity plays a big part in bringing together but also dividing communities. It is very important in most sports and I wonder whether this is just good marketing or the community members trying to define themselves through the products if they can’t define themselves through their skill alone.

    I guess with social media increasing awareness and members to a community their will be a disproportionate increase in brand identity and promotions associated with this.

    • Phil Devine March 6, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      Thank you Anabel – I agree with your comments. I’m very interested in how brand uses community value sets to inform identity. I can see this in fellrunning (as in most sports), value sets are obvious. I’m now thinking on how that translates into education, that same design methodology can, I believe, apply in learning in relation to critical design. Design that asks questions of its subject.

  4. Jen Ross March 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    I laughed at the description on one of the videos of fellrunning as an “obscure and reckless northern pastime”.

    I see what you’ve done here as an illustration of how a local community ritual (fellrunning) can evolve to take up new (digital) ways of thriving, carving out territory – you’ve done a great job of telling that story. Do you see the community as being changed by such incursions of the digital? Is this brand focus new, for example? Or is it being surfaced more in digital spaces in ways that matter to the nature of the community? To ask that in a different way, are the ‘humanist’ values you identify being transformed as well as amplified by the digital?

    ps – I officially hate issuu! Unbelievably annoying to have to go fullscreen to see or interact with anything, which means you can’t make notes while reading/watching. Then as soon as you click a link it exits full-screen. And the sound can’t be stopped, started, rewound or fast-forwarded. Bonkers! :-) Please no one use this for their final assignment…

    • Phil Devine March 6, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      Hi Jen – Issuu could be better as you detailed in your comments :) But I do love the transliterate digital book thing. I would have built something myself, but that takes time, and we need to spend more on thinking, rather than building (?).

      If I were to extend the ethnography it would further investigate, as you say, how the digital has grown the community through what I associated as the glamorous / humanist aspect of the sport, and how product and brand has taken advantage of that. But I do think I have addressed how the fellrunning community has changed, how that change is associated with the virtual, and how brand has exploited the ‘humanist’ qualities within that community.

      Over all I like what I’ve created, It works for me, and it has moved my thinking on :)

      • Jen Ross March 7, 2013 at 10:01 am #

        hi Phil – just to clarify that I thought your ethnography was great – very sorry if my (late in the day) comment didn’t convey that (probably not helped by my grumbling about issuu).

        I’m not suggesting you should ‘roll your own’ environments for these kinds of things, but I would encourage you to look for something a little more ‘web-like’ (rather than a digital book). Anyway, on to the substance.

        I think I was associating ‘community’ with the local ‘place’ more broadly, and seeing the fellrunning as a community ritual (I think you described it this way?) that has a very place-based meaning. So my question was about how that place-based community might be shaped and changed by the ways in which the ritual has become full of globalised signs (brands) and being written about and discussed online (by participants, but also more broadly).

  5. Candace Nolan-Grant March 6, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Hi Phil Not having notes to take, I rather liked Issuu in this context–partially because it convinces you that it’s a magazine and then adds all this audio and hyperlinking to take you by surprise : ) I also liked the different sorts of ways in which similar (in some cases cross-over) material is offered–mindmap, Pinterest, etc. It makes you think of the ideas presented in different ways as you navigate through, revisiting something you’ve already seen/heard in a different context. This also made me think of my perception of geographical spaces; we drive through some of the places mentioned on a regular basis, and I think of them as scenery, or something to walk around a bit before going to the pub. This community obviously gives its members a very different perception of the same places…

    • Phil Devine March 6, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

      Like your comment regards geographical space! Fellrunners like wild lonely places, and are often on their own in the mist and rain (or snow). I love the idea of a connected virtual space, and unconnected existent space :) In relation to community. All of these athletes running in the mountains that I never see, and I can see (witness) them all in virtual space! Isn’t that interesting…

  6. sbayne March 7, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    I really enjoyed this Phil – apart from everything else it made me pine for the hills (we used to have a lot of holidays in Dent until a couple of years back).

    You’ve started to sketch out a really interesting ethnographic field here, and I can see lots of ways in which this ethnography could grow, should you ever wish it to. The focus on ‘the run’ (the movement over a landscape), and the emergence of this ‘space’ into social media environments made me think of spatial theory and mobility theory as a way of theorising what you are doing – it’s literally about many kinds of movement (of people, information, image, brand, community) across different topologies, as Candace suggests.

    If you were going to pursue this further, you might find some of the writing on the topology of social space interesting – a classic to start with might be:

    Mol, Annemarie and Law, John (1994) Regions, networks and fluids: anaemia and social topology Social Studies of Science, 24:4, 641-671

    And in thinking about ‘mobility’, this one can’t be beaten as a starting point:

    Sheller, M. and Urry, J. (2006) The new mobilities paradigm Environment and Planning A. 38: 207-226

    You can get both of these via the university’s digital collection (or email me if you have any problem).

    • Phil Devine March 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      Hi Sian – I’m not that far from Dent, often ride out there on my bike, lovely place. As you and Candace suggest the emergence of topographical space in social media has potential for investigation, a kind of social cartography – I’ll take a look at the papers you mentioned in your post.

      I think I maybe more interested (not sure yet!) in how design (or critical design) can use these social interactions to develop new (for want of a better word) product, product in its wider sense, not applications, but designing interactions (if that makes sense). This concept must have potential for education and learning, extending learning design, and must have relation to spacial theory (as you mention).

      Not quite got my head around what this looks like yet, but its on the way :)

    • cmeckenstock March 10, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      Spatial theory and mobility theory – movement across different topologies, that is interesting.

      The use of social media by different communities is really all about that. The question of which makes a stronger and more connected community, a physical moving to the online (or supported by online presence) or the online presence supported by face-to-face interaction?

      Phil, I wonder what you think after looking at fell running, do you think that the online presence has made the community stronger? Or do you think as you and Candance have mentioned, merely a promotion of the product? It will be interesting to see how many people in this community actually utilise the social networking tools to be connected, and to imagine now a scenario without this technology.

  7. Steph Carr March 8, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    Hi Phil. This is great, it makes me think back to my cross country days. Freezing, muddy and a great collective spirit (albeit with an undercurrent of the club tribalism you mention)!

    Thinking about space which you’ve discussed with Sian and Candace, I thought it was interesting that innov-8 had to move out of the geographical boundaries of the fell-running offline communities (the deep countryside) which is their preferred location, in order to get a broadband connection (amongst other things). But clearly this move has not impacted negatively on their status in either the offline or online community – in fact it’s probably enhanced it. Lots of blurry lines here!

  8. Nikki Bourke March 10, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    I really enjoyed this Phil. I’m totally unfamiliar with fellrunning so it was a great introduction.
    I loved the role that sound plays in your presentation. The twittering birds made me feel like I was half way up a mountain taking in the open air! Thanks for this. Nikki

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