The Walker Institute welcomes Montserrat Méndez-Buvandel, a masters student of tropical ecology from the Centro de Investigaciones Tropicales at the Universidad Veracruzana. She will be with us for 10 weeks, during this time Montserrat will be learning more about visual research methods from our Senior Research Fellow Dr Grady Walker, writing up the analysis of her second-year thesis with support from Dr Walker and partaking in GIIDAE’s Principles of Communication Design for Development, Communication and Innovation in Development modules convened by Dr Sarah Cardey; and Global Environmental Change, Justice and Development covened by Andrew Ainslie.
Montserrat arranged this visit with the Walker Institute through her Supervisor, Dr Evodia Silva Rivera, who connected with Dr Grady Walker at a Newton Fund Researcher Links workshop in Colombia. Montserrat’s thesis is evaluating the change in perceptions of a group of young people around amphibians in Mexico, achieved using documentary filmmaking and visual research methodologies.
Recently, there has been a boom in environmental and conservation documentaries, and documentaries in general, says Montserrat, and she believes this boom has led to a decline in the impact of these types of documentaries. However, as Montserrat witnessed during her fieldwork, it is not the end documentary that delivers a change in attitudes or perception but the process of making the documentary. Throughout the process, including local young people in her fieldwork in a truly participatory way, Montserrat noticed both the young people’s and her own perceptions and expectations change. We are looking forward to the full write up of her thesis, get in touch with us if you’d like to hear more about Montserrat’s work.
Following her Masters, Montserrat would like to continue working in conservation, tropical ecology and participatory visual research. We are happy to welcome Montserrat to the Walker Family, however temporary, and look forward to seeing her future work!