Utilizing Walking Methods and Mini-Ethnographies in Olympic cities

Presenter(s): Mike Duignan

This three-part series looks at how one can use walking methods in complex organisational environments, using Olympic cities as one example. This is based on a research paper published by Dr Mike Duignan (University of Surrey) and Prof David McGillivray (UWS). The videos illustrate how complex environments are fertile grounds for social analysis. Furthermore, peripatetic approaches like walking are useful for many reasons, some of these include:

  • Walking methods help activate new problems and generate data insights by being present in real-time
  • Specifically, they help understand how space is configured and how relations between humans, non-humans, natural and social environments are transformed as a result (e.g. the case looks at how becoming an Olympic city temporarily changes the way visitors, residents flow and businesses operate during live staging periods and the kinds of social problems that may arise
  • Generates additional data sets that are often highly visual (e.g. images, video, descriptively powerful by taking audio field notes etc) and easy to triangulate with other sorts of data like interviews, surveys, focus groups

Theory of walking methods

Details what walking methods are, how they have evolved, why they are useful. Specifically, details how they have become popularised across a variety of disciplines + fields, including anthropology, human geography, sociology, + tourism. Particularly useful for accessing entangled relationships that exist between humans, non-humans, natural and social environments. And, how complex environments can be rich in data and accessed by walking and associated activities like riding bikes, back of taxi or other modes of public / private transport.


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Walking methods in practice - two international case studies

Two international case studies - details how theory and examples in Video 1 apply to Olympic cities as one example of an extreme environment. Specifically details how Olympic cities become temporarily spatially reconfigured and how this temporarily (though sometimes permanently) changes the way visitors, residents flow and businesses operate across the city. These changes include roads, parks, beaches, whole town centres et cetera, and represent just a few of the complex ways a city is transformed as a result of hosting the Olympics.


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Limitations of the walking methods approach and integrating participatory digital methods for disseminating results

Details the limitations of walking methods, particularly mini-ethnographies that are of a limited length in time and how these can be partially overcome by extending analysis or by triangulating with other methods and data sets. The video closes by discussing digital participatory techniques (e.g. vlogging and micrologging) to help disseminate findings and stimulate dialogue with potential stakeholders who may be interested or may impact your work.


   Download transcript    |   Download slides [ 93 Views ]


About the author

Mike's work spans across management, organisational, and development studies, specifically examining the relationship between events, local communities, urban development, and the visitor economy. Most of Mike’s work focuses on large scale events like the Olympics and the cities and urban neighbourhoods that play host. He frequently works with global organisations like the International Olympic Committee and regional events organisations to evaluate the impact and legacy of sports and cultural events. To date, Mike’s case study work spans across London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast 2018), and regional events. Prior to joining Surrey, he was a Senior Lecturer at Coventry University.

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