When producing ethnographic media always make sure you have everything that you need to do the job (i.e. batteries, AC adapter, memory cards, etc.). Or you will have problems that will occur often when you don’t want them to happen. Like for example I was recording the reaction(s) of our ambassador to the current edit(s) of the media that we had produced. After recording about three or so minutes of footage my camera flashed “card full” and stopped recording. I could have avoided the problem occurring if I had checked to see how much memory I had available on the memory card. Then I could have erased some of the content off the card to make space or secured extra memory card(s) so that I could just swap a fresh card with a full one.
Always know what you have and what you need to get any work done. It will help you avoid pitfalls like the one I experienced today.
This past tuesday (26Jun2012) I participated in the City Uprising event held here in Baltimore, Md. In the following words that I will write I will endeavor to explain my thoughts, experiences, and feelings that I have from my participation in City Uprising and conduct a kind of after action report:
I along with my partner and our ambassador were stationed at Payne Memorial AME church which is located at 1714 Madison Ave. My assumption is that locations used in City Uprising were chosen for various reasons such as availability, location, and local need for testing. Payne Memorial as a location for Hiv/Aids testing was adequate for the amount of traffic it received throughout my time there. I am uncertain what level of traffic accessibility that location has but just by looking at the church on a map I believe that a significant amount of people could reach the church by whatever mode of transportation they chose. Looking over how much traffic that area experiences particularly on high traffic occasions (i.e. Sunday) might give an idea about how much traffic the area could actually bear.
Most of my time was spent behind a table pushing paperwork so my perspective is largely limited compared to other participants that were present but it seemed that everything was going fairly smoothly except for the blacklog of people waiting for testing. It didn’t take long before I was just referring people to whatever open seat they could find instead of to an escort. I don’t know what kind of training, experience, or other factors were used to determine who would conduct testing but it might prudent to consider increasing the amount of testers. A potential resource for such individuals might be medical students and interns.
One problem that might arise with a larger amount of testers is the necessity for private spaces to conduct and report the results of the test(s). This issue might be alleviated by determining just how private the testing should be. You might be to set up some kind of cubicle(s) in various places for testers.
The ethnic homogeneity present in the people attending wasn’t surprising but the homogeneity in the ages of the various people I saw was. The people that came in for testing were primarily African-American and older with an est. median age between 45-55 and my estimate is probably off a bit. With some of the people that came in I had to provide some assistance in filling out the paperwork. I explained, read, reviewed, and in one case filled in a gentleman’s paperwork myself as he told me the relevant information.
Having a number of forms in larger print would have been recommended since some of the people I saw had vision problems and needed help in reading the material. Another problem that came up was that some of the people had problems understanding some of the sections of the paperwork. The sexual and drug history section of the self-risk assessment was one part of the paperwork that people needed explanation on. What was the source of issue was the two answer columns that were divided into two different time periods: last 12 months and since 1978. Most of the people would just answer the 12 month column if they had ever done in the activity period and leave the other column blank unless given some kind of elaboration.
Sometime in the afternoon the amount of people slowed and I started with working with the various out of state volunteers that decided to get tested during the lull. I remember that even they inquired about the sexual and drug history of the self-risk assessment so some kind of elaboration in that section of the paperwork might be called for.
Eventually my partner and I were able to be relieved sometime around three. We attached ourselves to a group of canvassers from Georgia. After recording a short interview we interacted with the group occasionally shooting some B-roll. The group seemed to experience some degree success though I don’t know how many people actually went to Payne Memorial to get tested. After walking several blocks with them we broke away from the group and headed back to Payne Memorial where things had picked up a bit linked up with our ambassador and left.
Overall I think that the City Uprising that was held at Payne Memorial AME was successful in it’s endeavor. People came in, did their paperwork, and got tested.
Tori and I met KG who is one of our ambassadors at the Jacques Initiative and along with fellow researchers Assim, Blessing & their ambassadors walked towards the Barnes & Noble Power Plant. The festivities were still ongoing as we made our through the crowds. I’ve posted the pictures that I took below in sequential order: