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Visual methods for social and cultural airport research.

Bloice, Lyndsay; Baxter, Graeme; Gray, David


Graeme Baxter


This report examines the use of still, moving, and 3D images and visualisations for investigation into the social and cultural role of airports. The potential to use these methods to help people remember, connect to, and visualise these social and cultural spaces of the past, present, and future is explored. It follows on from work conducted as part of the SPARA 2020 project Work Package 7 activities which involved: qualitative research on the social and cultural importance of peripheral and remote airports; production of best practice templates for airport engagement with community stakeholders; and development of engagement strategies for case study airports. This report details the results of a literature search into visual methods and critically reflects upon the use of visual methods (specifically photo elicitation) in remote and rural airport contexts. This literature review: gives an overview of visual methods; details how they are used and applied in various fields; discusses research which uses different types of visuals (still, moving, and 3D); engages in a critical discussion of visual methods including advantages and ethical considerations; examines the potential for visual methods to engage with community stakeholders in social and cultural research; and examines the potential for visual methods to be used in airport and transport research more specifically. The report also reflects on the earlier SPARA 2020 research which employed the photo elicitation visual methodology and discusses the role this visual method played in the project. It also draws upon the findings of an earlier photo elicitation study which examined the social and cultural role of the main street in remote and peripheral areas. Although the report details examples from a wide variety of airports of differing sizes, the implications for socially and culturally significant remote and peripheral airports are explored in more detail, in line with the scope of the SPARA 2020 project. As such, this report will be of interest to: those working at remote and peripheral airports who wish to engage in community stakeholder engagement (especially where they are being asked to evidence non-economic impact to funding bodies); and visual researchers (especially those who study community spaces).


BLOICE, L., BAXTER, G. and GRAY, D. 2018. Visual methods for social and cultural airport research. SPARA 2020 Project: WP7 Additional Budget Deliverable.

Report Type Project Report
Deposit Date Mar 11, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 2, 2019
Keywords Still images; Moving images; 3D images; Airports; Social and cultural role
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