– Thoughts the complexity of value
Last week A Suitcase of Methods participated in a seminar on Co-Creation in the network Kvalnet (a network for people working with qualitative methods in different ways). Co-creation refers in this context to the inclusion of individuals in innovation and developmental processes, where the outcome will affect their home- or work life. People are for instance asked to participate in interviews, focus groups, or innovation labs in order to ensure a democratic process of development.
Stine Schulze from MindLab presented an example of co-creation. She described how they worked with young people with mental handicaps to create an environment and a physical space, where this group could get help and support. The young people were included in the innovation process in order to make sure that their specific needs and challenges were considered when deciding what this house should offer.
Anne Vorre Hansen, PhD in Social Science and Business presented another interesting perspective: She talked about the terms value and co-creation and argued that we need to be very specific and deliberate in our use of these words. She refers to Habermas’ distinction between the System and the Lifeworld. The System in this sense is the rational worldview that exists in public and private institutions, whereas the Lifeworld is the world, as the individual perceives it. Value and co-creation are in essence terms that come from the System. They make sense in these spheres and in the logic of the market. Here value is often economical or connected to innovation, development etc. In the Lifeworld however, it is less obvious and explicit what is considered valuable. What is valuable to one individual may be trivial and uninteresting to the next. Anne Vorre Hansen thus points at a field in need of more empirical, qualitative studies.
When we consider this in relation to A Suitcase of Methods and our aim to learn more about the audiences’ experienced relevance with performance art, it becomes clear that we need to always remember that experienced relevance and what is considered a ‘good’ and ‘valuable’ experience is a very individual question. We all react differently to what we experience on stage depending on our current mood, our artistic preferences, the overall atmosphere, etc.
This complexity is a circumstance, which we have to embrace as a quality in our qualitative studies. We collect stories, celebrate (and is sometimes frustrated by) the plurality, and now and again we detect a pattern or a theme in need of further exploration.