Kayla Rush

School of Theology, Philosophy, and Music, Dublin City University


This essay probes questions of ‘self’ and ‘other’ in ethnographic encounters and knowledge-making, through the use of auto-ethnography and a more literary, narrative approach to anthropological writing. I begin with an account of a fieldwork experience with Acting Up, a community theatre group for older people in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I retrospectively examine my fieldnotes and the prejudices and misunderstandings they reveal, and I use these to discuss the ways in which my research participants changed my opinions of older adults and ageing. I suggest that such personal transformations are a component of anthropological knowledge-making, a process that is only possibly through the meeting of individual selves within the field.


Community Theatre; Ageing; Auto-Ethnography; Transformation; Intersubjectivity

Author contact: kayla.rush [at]

Citation: Rush, K., 2019. “Coconuts”, Irish Journal of Anthropology, 22(1), 122-125.