Connecting Participatory Methods in a Study of Older Lesbian and Gay Citizens in Rural Areas


  • Lee-Ann Fenge Bournemouth University
  • Kip Jones Bournemouth University
  • Rosie Read Bournemouth University


The aim in this paper is to present a discussion of the participatory research methods employed to explore intersectionality between sexuality, rurality and age through consideration of a research project investigating how older lesbian and gay citizens in rural southwest England and Wales interact with their local community. The aim of the project is to explore how older lesbian and gay citizens adjust to and connect with their rural environment, exploring the notion of a “rural idyll” for groups who may be seen as different. Discussion of the different methods used to explore themes surrounding connectivity, place, space and identity will be offered. These include a core biographic narrative interpretive method (BNIM), a visual ethnographic method, and an overarching participatory methodology. This methodological approach is reviewed using the six principles for working with disempowered groups identified by Whitmore and McGee (2001).

Author Biographies

Lee-Ann Fenge, Bournemouth University

Senior Lecturer

Kip Jones, Bournemouth University


Rosie Read, Bournemouth University

Senior lecturer