Everyday lives in the Maldives

Balancing environmental sustainability, economic development and livelihoods

In October 2017, the project team ran a day-long training workshop for the Research Assistants on methods for researching the everyday. The training focussed on four kinds of exercise in particular: participant observation, photo elicitation, semi-structured interviews and ‘go-along’ interviews.

As part of the training, we ran an exercise on photo elicitation, which is a useful methodology for learning about the meanings and emotions that people attach to their surrounding environments. During the workshop, each participant was given 20 minutes to take a photo demonstrating what the Maldives means to them. The photos and their meanings were then fed back to the group. The five photos taken, which are shown below, reflected a range of themes concerning economic and social change in the country.

Mizna Mohamed used her photo to talk about her memories of Malé as a young girl, and the rapid growth in the size and complexity of her urban environment since that time

In her picture, Uma Kothari spoke about her interests in the Maldives’ colonial past and thinking about the country’s postcolonial future.

Alex Arnall used his photo to reflect upon his everyday yet memorable experiences of walking around Malé on foot when constantly being in the presence of moving mopeds and scooters.

Afrah Rasheed, when presenting her picture, talked about how she enjoys discovering the many artistic exhibits and murals that can be found throughout the city (Exhibit Male).

The theme of Ahmed Inaz’s picture was the differences between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ in Malé, and how these different architectures are often jumbled up together in particular places (Inaz Presentation).