We were delighted to present a paper at this year’s MRS Digital Ethnography Virtual Conference which took place on Thursday 24th March. Research Director, Mandira Kar co-presented ‘Living with head and neck cancer: how digital ethnography was used to capture the individual and shared experiences of cancer’ with Lara Lucchese, Senior Manager.
In their presentation, Mandira and Lara walked delegates through a recently conducted digital ethnography study that sought to understand the quality of life of people living with head and neck cancer, which affects thousands of people across the UK yet does not receive or benefit from the same levels of public awareness or attention as more common cancers.
Delegates heard how there is a general lack of understanding of the severe and lasting impact head and neck cancer can have for years after treatment and how the research team used digital ethnographic methods to capture the journey from pre-cancer to post-cancer and the transition in identity, relationship to the body, and life. In addition, Mandira and Lara explained how the digital ethnography approach was multi-layered, multi-dimensional, and grounded in empathy which empowered patients to revisit their traumatic cancer journeys, enabling the research team to capture unfiltered experiences and uncover suppressed emotions.
The presentation was very well received by attendees with several commenting on how impactful they found it. During the live Q&A, one attendee commented, “no questions but to say thank you. Such a powerful presentation.” Later on, another said, “Thank you so much. Such an emotive film. What an incredible output.”
Find out more about our experience in ethnography research.