Hi, I’m Ash Watson, a sociologist and writer based in Sydney, Australia. I like swimming in the ocean, cooking elaborate vegetarian dinners, reading novels and going to zine fairs.

What do I do?
I am a qualitative researcher and ethnographer. This means I do research that involves interviews and observation—I talk to people and watch what happens in different places, to make sense of why particular things take place when, where and with the people that they do.

I am also an expert in creative methods. I think that watching and listening in the usual ways only gives us part of the picture. So, I like to get people making things with their hands and imagining things that they haven’t personally experienced. Human experience is so complex, and the arts are one valuable way to explore and make sense of that complexity.

Where do I work?
I currently work at the Vitalities Lab, UNSW Sydney, as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on an ARC Discovery Project. Before this I taught at the University of Sydney and was a doctoral Endeavour Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London. I am also Fiction Editor of The Sociological Review and the creator/editor of the public sociology project So Fi Zine. My PhD was awarded in late 2018.

What am I working on?
I am really interested in the micro and macro of DIY cultures and innovative technological developments. My current projects span these two themes. I’m researching: how people make sense of/with data generating technologies; the digital storymaps of LGBTQIA+ communities; and why people read zines. I also do a lot of work on sociological fiction, and am working on my second novel. You can read about my debut novel here.

Find a short version of my cv here.

Email me at ashleigh.watson@unsw.edu.au
follow my updates on substack
or follow me on Twitter at @awtsn