Comedians love the sound of laughter. It encourages them to continue. Similarly in normal conversation a listener gives feedback by way of words words like “yeh”, “right” and Wow!”. This is important as, subconsciously, it informs the speaker that they are saying something interesting and should continue. This week I conducted more interviews for the COVID Brighton project and one thing we learnt about interviewing is that we must not speak over the interviewee as this can muddle the audio.
However, I must still supply feedback to make the speaker comfortable and encourage them to continue speaking. So without the ability to speak I do this by nodding, facial expressions, eye contact and general body language. Under COVID restrictions this could have been a problem. Having both of us masked up would have made it difficult for the interviewee to read my expression and made for fairly boring visuals. Luckily we’ve been able to maintain social distancing and so, in most instances, we’ve both removed our masks. I think one requirement for providing feedback is to be interested in the story the person is telling and since I seem to have an innate ability to be interested in everything this has not been a problem.
I have also been transcribing interviews. This is done in order to get a text of what was said so that it can be more readily reviewed and statements of particular interest identified. It’s a long process but can be interesting. People speak in different ways. This week I transcribed two interviews, one by someone who continually muttered “um” and “ah” and restarted their sentences as well as often leaving parts of sentences hanging. The other spoke in concisely formed paragraphs. The amazing thing is that humans are so used to communicating in these ways that I understood both and hadn’t even realised the difference in the way each person spoke until I came to transcribe the interviews.
Interviews conducted this week include the leader of a Brighton Wheelchair basketball team and the manager of an animal sanctuary. Both supplied fascinating insights into how COVID is effecting Brighton.
We are still looking for people to interview and specifically:
- A commuter turned home worker
- A new mother or maternity worker
- A mature person who may be struggling with lockdown or, who knows, may appreciate the change of pace.
If you are interested then please get in touch via the contact page.