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Achieving co-presence when together and apart: Hybrid engagements and multi-modal collaborative research with collaborative research with urban indigenous youth

Philipp Horn, Olivia Casagrande

2023 Bolivia, South America, United Kingdom

This article reflects on collaborative research carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic involving indigenous youth co-investigators from different urban settings in Bolivia and a UK- and Bolivia-based research coordination team. Unlike previous studies that highlight the potential of generating a shared co-presence via virtual engagements and digital methods when face-to-face interactions seem less desirable, this article offers a more cautious account. We question the existence of a shared co-presence and, instead, posit co-presence as fragmented and not necessarily mutual, requiring careful engagement with power imbalances, distinct socio-economic and space-time positionings, and diverse priorities around knowledge generation among team members. These considerations led us to iteratively configure a hybrid research approach that combines synchronous and asynchronous virtual and face-to-face interactions with multi-modal methods. We demonstrate how this approach enabled us to generate a sense of co-presence in a context where collaborator access to a shared space-time was limited, differentiated, or displaced.

Hybrid research, shared space-time, multi-modal methods, co-presence, participatory video, pandemic, youth, urban indigenous, Bolivia