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My academic interest and research centre on the well-being of humans and other animals in shared social environments, including social services. Debates in my field of research include questions of oppression of other-than-human (OTH) animals, and whether well-being of humans and other animals is mutually dependent. This larger study will fill a gap in scholarly literature by documenting how OTH animals are integrated into and neglected by social work practice in Canada's most populous province. The broader aim of this project is to increase positive outcomes for both humans and OTH animals involved in social services.

Using critical, posthumanist, and queer theories as my framework for this investigation, I will attempt to investigate and represent multiple subjective social realities within this project, including the realities experienced by OTH animals. Operationalizing the posthuman construction of digital technologies as prosthesis, in this case extensions of the researcher, I hope to engage with multiple forms of representation, including statistics, text, video, photography, and audio. To this end, I plan on a mixed-methods design, including engagement with emerging, non-invasive digital video and sensory technology coupled with methodology inspired by critical photovoice and critical ethnography. My goal is to attempt to partially document the experiences of OTH animals involved in AAI with the hopes of gaining greater understanding of how they are impacted by their involvement in these interventions.

I intend to use my graduate fellowship to begin to explore innovative ways of collecting data with OTH animals, through using GoPro digital cameras as well as veterinary data collection sensory technology. The Centre offers me technical assistance and infrastructure to explore ways of building mounts for GoPros that allow me to use them with various species of OTH animals. There is potential for use of 3D printing technology in building these custom mounts. Second, I hope to build on my knowledge of basic coding to use Arduino open-source electronics in order to engage with accelerometers and potentially other sensory technology for further data collection. Finally, the Centre supports me in exploring new ways of analyzing the digital data collected through these means. My goal is that by the end of the year, the second year of my doctoral program, I will have the knowledge and resources to be able to engage with digital technology effectively as a method of collecting data for my dissertation research project.

Melissa Marie (emmy) Legge BSW, MSW, PhD (student)

Page last modified on September 22, 2016, at 09:29 PM