What can he know? What can she know? Who needs to know?


Seminar by Dr Harriet Rowley, 15th Feb 2017.


Harriet Rowley presented her work with The Men’s Room as part of the Partispace project. The project included the development of art installations around Manchester, walking tours delivered by members of The Men’s Room, and a film about the project.

As the title of the session reflects, Harriet has been thinking about epistemological understandings of knowledge in this project, drawing on Code (1991) to ask ‘who can know?’ In addition, the role of the researcher as advocate in this kind of project is important – self advocacy is difficult for marginalised groups, whose members are treated as lacking in credibility. We also talked about relation based practice, how to build trust and relationships in this kind of research, whilst also acknowledging the temporariness of researcher’s presence in that space.

We watched the film made as part of the project and then discussed it afterwards, thinking in particular about

  • Reactions to the film
  • Ideas for further dissemination
  • Advocacy/self-advocacy and alliance building
  • Role of arts-based methods
  • Further development of theoretical considerations

We left reflecting on the potential for film as a visual method to afford advocacy particularly for marginalised groups and the role academic researchers may have in supporting this.

Who stories the film itself?

How can film account for complexity?

How are participants portrayed in visual outputs?



Code, L. (1991) What Can She Know? Feminist Theory and the Construction of Knowledge, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

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