Research with the Moving, the Vivacious Many

A Practical Poetry of Paces in More-Than-Human Worlds

Keywords: More-than-human, multispecies methodologies, walking, animals, dog, donkey


This paper addresses the methodological question of how researchers can meaningfully and ethically include non-human beings not only as research subjects or informants, but as active participants in the research process. Following a review of relevant existing more-than-human and multispecies methodologies, we recognise that non-human beings are already part of academia, yet their capacity to actively shape research remains largely unaccounted for. We engage Springgay and Truman’s (2018) practice of ‘walking-with’ as a methodological approach for bringing non-human beings into the research process, developing what we call ‘a practical poetry of paces’ as a contribution to this work. We illustrate its application in two different ‘fieldwalks’ – with a donkey in North Kenya and a dog on Canvey Island in the UK – focusing on the absences that can thus be made present, as well as the types of relational engagement this mode of conducting research engenders. We conclude with ethical considerations about the impossibility of dismantling power relations between human and non-human beings and its implications for the ethicality of conducting research with non-human collaborators.

Author Biographies

Johannes Theodor Aalders, Gothenburg University

Johannes Theodor (or just "Theo") Aalders is a PhD Candidate in Environmental Social Science at the School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University. He holds degrees in Human Geography (BA, Bayreuth, Germany) and Environmental Studies (MSc, Lund, Sweden). His main research interests include the politics of scale, relational space, Derrida’s hauntology, comic books walking as an ethnographic method, environmental justice, climate change, critical animal studies and Kenya’s oil infrastructure.

Kate Monson, University of Brighton

Kate Monson is a PhD Candidate in Environmental Humanities and Social Science at the Social, Environmental and Cultural Politics Centre, University of Brighton. She holds degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing (BA, Exeter University, UK) and Human Ecology (MSc, Lund, Sweden). Her main research interests include understandings, experienes and communuications of climate change, the anthropocene, and the environment; more-than-human and feminist geographies; mobile and muddled methodologies; and creative writing as a mode of inquiry.


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How to Cite
Aalders, J., & Monson, K. (2022). Research with the Moving, the Vivacious Many. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 21(2), 205-225. Retrieved from