roundtable interview idea06 Jul 2020
the other day i was on the phone with jeff rosenblum talking about a potential collaboration and i shared an idea that he said was a good one! so i’m writing it out here so that if others think that too, it can be shared and used.
the story: as danya sherman and i we were preparing for an in-person convening, covid struck. like everyone who was trying to plan for in person convenings, we were in the hectic decision-space of: cancel, post-pone, shift to virtual, or some combination.
as part of one of our planning meetings, we had a brainstorm expand our imaginations about what we could do if we were going to go fully virtual. we came up with a bunch of ideas, most of which probably won’t ever see the light of day. but i’m sharing this one since jeff thought it was a good one.
the idea: the whole group is given a set of interview questions. person 1 calls person 2 and asks the questions. the interview is recorded and transcribed. the project coordinator distills the conversation into a summary with highlights. the document is shared with the entire group. then person 2 interviews person 3. rinse wash repeat until person x calls person 1.
a few other thoughts:
- the goals of this activity are to build relationships between people, to familiarize the group with everyone’s work, and to create a container for surfacing how covid was impacting their work in the moment
- this interview circle was the pre-work that we hoped would till the relational field before we gathered people together simultaneously for 1 or more facilitated online meetings
- we imagined this for a group of 5-10 people. it’s unclear if it would effectively scale beyond that number
- we intended participants to be compensated for their time and energy
- this idea hopefully intevenes on some of the power and lack of transparency issues with most academic approaches to interviewing. also, it might not be a new idea. there’s probably something in PAR() that’s very similar.
i could say a lot more to the project conditions that gave rise to this particular but i’m just gonna leave this here for now. #doneisbetterthanperfect
if you use this, credit us (the idea came up during a paired brainstorm activity if i remember correctly) and let us know how it works (or doesn’t). me or danya will write up something about how our use of it goes if we ever fully roll it out.
words / writing / post-processing
381w / 13min / 6min