Knocked back to success

When it was first discovered that you could work in teams for a mini-ethnography, there was no questioning, me and Natasha were definitely going to join up together. We work well as a team and bounce of each other’s ideas, ensuring we have fun whilst doing it. However, the question was where was the mini-ethnography going to take place?

After several discussions, of what sounded like boring ideas, we both excitedly agreed on an organisation that supported the homeless. However, it was not as easy as we thought.

After conduction some research on local organisations within this area, we contacted one based in the city of Manchester via phone call. The organisation delivered services to homeless people, such as activity classes and counselling sessions. After explaining what we were contacting for and going into detail surrounding the assignment expectations, we found ourselves unsuccessful. We were informed that this was due to the high demands the organisation had around similar requests and they do not have the time to accommodate our needs. Following from this, we contacted a different organisation with similar services, again via telephone. From this, we were asked to contact them via email including our outcomes of the ethnography. Unfortunately, we were again, denied access.

It then became apparent that we were approaching the ethnography in the wrong direction and decided to change our process. We choose to go to a food bank rather than an organisation that delivers different services. We believed this may be slightly easier due to it being open to the public. We found a food bank close to our home, at the union chapel in Fallowfield. We decided that instead of contacting them before attending, we should personally visit the charitable organisation, in which we did so.

When we arrived at the Fallowfield and Withington food bank we spoke to the organiser who seemed very compliant with our needs. After explaining our aim of the ethnography he informed us that he does not usually agree to this but if we put it in writing, via email, he would be more than happy to allow us to come back. 

Although we were knocked back on a couple of occasions, we both found this a learning experience on how to approach ethnography. It is apparent that you gain more trust  approaching a situation like this in person rather than through technology, something that will help us both in the future.

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