Tim Smith

I am a human geography PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. My research examines the interactions that happen as part of street performances, with a particular interest in how passers-by and audience members offer donations to street performers in return for being entertained. As part of this work, I collected video recordings of musical busking, living statue and circle show performances, and then analysed, at a fine grain level, how the interactions were assembled and organised. This required producing detailed transcripts of the participants’ embodied actions, including talk and gesture. I became interested in the methodological possibilities of comics via my PhD supervisor Eric Laurier. In particular, I was attracted to the way that comic strips might be used to present a complex sequence of interaction, and the way that the textual and visual could be combined. Comic strips might offer the potential for readers to grasp what is ‘going on’ in an interaction without having to read a separate set of instructions. I was interested in exploring this further, with the ambition of better understanding the comic form and how it might be used, in some way, as part of researching social interaction.