Collecting Older Lesbians' and Gay Men's Stories of Rural Life in South West England and Wales: "We Were Obviously Gay Girls ... (So) He Removed His Cow From Our Field"

Kip Jones, Lee-Ann Fenge, Rosie Read, Marilyn Cash


The emerging recollections, perceptions and storied biographies of older lesbians and gay men and their experiences in rural Britain are presented in the article, alongside consideration of the multiple qualitative methodologies used in a unique multi-method participatory action research project. The project aimed to empower older lesbians and gay men in rural areas through a collaborative design and meaningful participation in the research process itself. Methods included the core Biographic Narrative Interpretive Method (BNIM) (JONES, 2001, 2004; WENGRAF, 2001) with its interpretation of data by panels of citizens. In addition, visual ethnographic site visits, a focus group and two days of theatrical improvisation of interview data to explore action within the texts were used. The project embraced the principles of a performative social science (GERGEN & JONES, 2008; JONES, 2006, 2012) in its dissemination plan.

Four of the collected stories are elaborated on here. These and other stories, reports and observations contributed to the creation of the main output of the project—a short professionally made film (Rufus Stone). The film is used to encourage community dialogue and inform service providers, opening up new possibilities of connectivity, communication and common ground at both macro and micro levels.



ageing; biography; gay; lesbian; rurality; south west England and Wales

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Copyright (c) 2013 Kip Jones, Lee-Ann Fenge, Rosie Read, Marilyn Cash

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