Research Update!

On Helen’s Lego/Plasticine workshops and photo study.

As part of my research into people’s experiences of BiCon, last year I ran three workshops in which people were asked to make models in Lego and/or Plasticine of their experiences of BiCon, and talk about what they showed. The workshops were tape-recorded, and photos taken of the models people made, and analysis is now under way.

It’s too early to give any detailed information about the findings of this research, but several themes do seem to keep recurring as the data is analysed. For example, bi spaces like BiCon are often seen as separate from everyday life, yet experienced as ‘homelike’- for many people who took part in the workshops, BiCon is a place where they feel they can truly ‘be themselves’. For example, one participant said ‘[At BiCon] I don’t have a sense of “I’m in bi mode now ” but I’m just in me mode and I can let all those closet doors open.’

BiCon seems to be a space where there is often a feeling of acceptance of other kinds of diversity, too. The same participant went on to say ‘So I can be bi and poly and Pagan and into BDSM and whatever and like it’s just I can just be me. I can just breathe.’

This sense of openness seems to have the effect of making some people feel less bisexual at BiCon than they do in everyday life, because BiCon is a space where people are not made to feel ‘different’ because they’re bi. Another participant, whose model is pictured below, said ‘Erm well. When I’m in, not at BiCon you feel like um, you feel like, kind of like, you are bisexual. And  you’re kinda like separated from everyone else because they think you’re weird or something…But when I’m at BiCon there’s loads of different people. And but we don’t care we just get on and we like feel normal and stuff. And we don’t feel like anything.’

About fifteen people who attended BiCon last year also took part in a photo-study project as part of the same research. They made a photo-diary of their experiences of BiCon, and of a week in their everyday lives, and were interviewed about the photos they had taken in autumn last year. Again, it is too early to give detailed findings, but analysis is ongoing, and the results will appear in future issues of BCN as they emerge.

Thank you so much to all those people who took part in any part of the research last year, especially to the photo study participants who gave so generously of their time, and to the 2008 BiCon team for being so supportive of the project.

Helen Bowes-Catton
helenbowescatton@yahoo.co.uk