Positionality, Power and Participants in Research

A two-hour Masterclass by Professor Karen Farquharson.

African Studies Group
3 min readJul 30, 2022

The Masterclass is part of the 2022 ASG Conference on ‘Reimagining Migration in(out) of Africa in the Post-Pandemic World: Taking Stock and Building Resilience’ at the University of Melbourne from Thursday 29 September to Saturday 1 October (in-person and via Zoom).

A researcher’s intersectional social positioning necessarily affects their research topic, approach and implementation.

  • How do we, as researchers, navigate doing our research?
  • How are research power dynamics shaped by our own positionality and context?
  • If our goal is to enable participants to have a voice, how do we do that?

This will be an interactive session that both discusses the assigned readings[available here] and draws on participants’ personal experiences as researchers in different contexts. We will discuss and consider:

  • How our intersecting positionalities as researchers shape and are shaped by our research context.
  • Issues of power, voice, and racism.
  • The role of our own ontological positioning in shaping our research approach, and the importance of context.
  • The logistics and practical considerations regarding doing research as a minority researcher.

Participants in the session will be asked to reflect on these issues and share their experience, knowledge and tips for successful research.

When: 9:30 am — 11:30 am, Thursday 29 September 2022

Where: Room 230 (Theatre), Kwong Lee Dow Building, University of Melbourne, 234 Queensberry Street Carlton, VIC 3053 (In-person only)

More information on the 2022 ASG Conference and registration for the Masterclass is available: https://ASG2022conference.eventbrite.com.au

Please contact the conference team [africanstudiesgroup@gmail.com] for coupons if you can’t afford the conference tickets.

About the Speaker

Karen Farquharson is a Professor of Sociology, Chair of the Anti-Racism Hallmark Research Initiative, and Vice President of the Academic Board at the University of Melbourne. Her research is focused on the sociology of ‘race’, racism and diversity, particularly in the contexts of media and sport.

Prof Karen Far

Karen’s recent work has looked at how organisations manage diversity including organisational opportunities for and barriers to increasing diversity. She is co-author of three books including Qualitative Social Research: Contemporary Methods for the Digital Age (2016) and co-editor of three collections, most recently Australian Media and the Politics of Belonging (2018) and Relating Worlds of Racism: Dehumanisation, Belonging, and the Normativity of European Whiteness (2019). She is the author of multiple refereed journal articles and book chapters.

Karen was educated at Harvard University (MA, PhD) and the University of California, Berkeley (BA).

Reimagining Migration in(out) of Africa in the Post-Pandemic World Conference -Early Bird Registrations Now Open!

The African Studies Group (ASG), in collaboration with the African Research and Engagement in Australia Initiative (AREiA), invites you to join the 3rd annual International ASG Conference.

This 3-day conference seeks to bring together scholars (students, faculty, and researchers), advocates, practitioners, policymakers, and community members within and outside Australia for a conversation on the increasing politicisation of mobility in and out of the African continent and the experiences of migrant communities and their resilient cultures.

Conference highlights include a public lecture on ‘Decolonising Asylum: Colonialism, Racism and Humanitarianism in the Shaping of Refugee (Un) Belonging in East Africa’ by Professor Patricia Daley (University of Oxford), a research masterclass with Professor Karen Farquharson (University of Melbourne), an Oxford Union-style debate between UWA African Students’ Union (ASU) and Unimelb’s African Studies Group (ASG), a ‘fireside conversation’ on rethinking refuge for refugees in and from Africa, a cultural performance by Drum Voices and many more.

Tickets are between $80 and $200 (click the registration link for details).

While we encourage people to pay for our highly subsidised conference fees to support ASG’s activities, we have limited sponsorship for students, seniors and community members interested in attending the conference. Please contact the conference team at africanstudiesgroup@gmail.com to facilitate free registration.

We hope you are able to join us!

For any inquiries, please contact africanstudiesgroup@gmail.com.



African Studies Group

ASG is an association of researchers with interests in African studies hosted by the University of Melbourne.