Visual matrix – a developing methodology

A method development project in collaboration with the Psychosocial Research Unit at the University of Central Lancashire.

Through the new Visual Matrix (VM) method we have explored the use of free association and imagistic thinking in a contained space, allowing for the emergence of thoughts, feelings and imagery which may be difficult to articulate.

Associations in the VM are free and not initially directed at a resolution of a specific problem. VM provides a contained space for sharing images that arise when engaging in free associative reflection with others. It accesses aspects of experience, including the emotional and aesthetic, which do easily resolve into discourse. The matrix affords a site of interaction between personal and cultural experience: single utterances may have a highly personal origin, but by virtue of being presented in a group and in cumulative process, they contribute to an understanding of how experience is culturally formed and shared.

After two initial explorative VMs, the method was applied more thematically to explore associations to the breast in lived experience and culture, and breast cancer (forthcoming).

Research team: Professor Ellen Ramvi, Post-doctoral Fellow Birgitta Haga Gripsrud and Associate Professor Ingvil Hellstrand at the University of Stavanger, in collaboration with Professor Lynn Froggett and Senior Researcher Dr Julian Manley at the Psychosocial Research Unit, the University of Central Lancaster, UK.

Dissemination: Gripsrud, B.H., Ramvi, E., Froggett, L., Hellstrand, I. & Manley, J. (2018). Psychosocial and symbolic dimensions of the breast/s explored through a Visual Matrix. NORA: Nordic Journal of Gender and Feminist Research. DOI: 10.1080/08038740.2018.1482958.