Project 3: Motherhood in the Digital Age: The Rise of the Breastfeeding Selfie

This project seeks to explore points of convergence and difference within breastfeeding selfie images. We will be considering both the components and aspects of the image itself and also the circumstantial details of where and when the photograph was taken. We are interested in the correlation between the places in which these selfies are taken and the age of the child being fed; any indication of breastfeeding selfies trending around particular times and geographical locations; similarities and differences in the ways in which the images are constructed; discursive connections in the way in which women give meaning to these images. As such this project will take a mixed methods approach (quantitative, qualitative and visual analysis). We will be asking women to donate an already existing breastfeeding selfie image to the project accompanied by some brief information related to the time, place and age of the feeding child. Our participants are also invited to give a brief explanation of why they chose this particular image; what it means to them; or what it captures about their breastfeeding experience. We will put a call out on some Facebook breastfeeding groups and also via Instagram. The data gleaned from this exercise will be presented visually – although at this stage we do not know whether we will be using the images themselves in this visualisation or the data abstracted from them. On receiving the images we will initially look for points of convergence and difference and from this we may amend our initial hypothesis (that images of older children breastfeeding take place in domestic spaces) and pursue a different line of inquiry.

Practical considerations

1) We are uncertain of the Ethics procedure for this project and seek advice on this. As CHASE is a consortium, who do we approach for ethical approval? Of course the images will remain anonymous but we cannot say at this stage whether the image itself will form part of the end product of data visualisation.
2) Where to store and how to circulate the images within our research group (and maintain an ethical stance).
3) The logistics of us working together from 3 different geographical locations
4) Whether between us we have the practical skills to see this task through