3000 Individual Talks CE: The Role of Participatory Technology in Understanding Identity and Challenging Injustice
12527 Ind Talk CE:First in our Families: Digital Storytelling and First Generation College Students
Organizer: Jane Van Galen
This talk reports on a study that explores digital storytelling and social media as a means of enabling greater voice, visibility, equality, and agency for First Generation College students in the U.S. In digital storytelling workshops held at four campuses across the country, marginalized students crafted first-person stories weaving images, video, sound, and silence to craft multimedia pieces about pride, growth, resilience, anger, tenacity, doubt, shame, and discovery as they navigate the economic, cultural and social barriers to access to higher education.
Working at the intersections of art, sociology, democratic education and storytelling, participants collaboratively re-examined their own narratives of educational success as they developed counter-narratives to the deficit-laden language of much of the academic literature on First Generation students.
Students then screened their digital stories at public campus events and disseminated them via social media and a project website. As these stories name the political, emotional, and intellectual work of claiming one’s place in college against barriers placed in their way, we are inviting all stakeholders to imagine new means for making college more inclusive.
Finally, each storyteller was interviewed about how writing and mediating a personal narrative of Being First affected their sense of agency and identity and their contributions to broader discourse about equity in college.
In screening two stories followed by open discussion, this talk with examine digital stories as mediated authoring within contested social and cultural spaces.
This project is a partnership between a university faculty member located on the west coast (who facilitates the workshops) and a national non-profit focused on eradicating class barriers and class privilege, headquartered in Boston.
12582 Ind Talk CE: Young British Muslims, Youth Media, and ‘Justice-Oriented’ Citizenship
Organizer: Alicia Blum-Ross
Drawing on two years of ethnographic fieldwork with participatory filmmaking projects for young people in London, this short presentation explores the competing understandings of ‘citizenship’ that emerged within an initiative for young British Muslims. Funded by the UK government’s ‘Preventing Violent Extremism’ program, this media production project was conceived around a normative concept of ‘participatory citizenship’ (Westheimer and Kahne 2004) in which the young people were invited to take part in pre-sanctioned civic pathways. Instead, some of the participants chose to act as ‘justice-oriented’ citizens (ibid) in providing a challenge to the very premise of the project itself by exploring forms of protest outside of the formal political process. This included, in their final film, a discussion about the rationale for joining the armed jihad and whether this can be conceived of as legitimate a form of protest.
Here I argue that participatory media offer distinctive technical, social and creative affordances through which possibilities for civic engagement can be explored. However, this case study underscores the ways in which youth media projects are discursively positioned within funding regimes and oriented towards audiences that privilege specific forms of storytelling and youth subjectivity. This example demonstrates the potential for youth media to offer young people an opportunity to ‘speak truth to power,’ but also evidence for the potential pitfalls for such a process.
12777 Ind Talk CE: I, Too, Am Here: Digital Youth Challenging Racial Microaggressions
Organizer: Diana Lee
Launched in March 2014, “I, Too, Am Harvard” is a photo campaign featuring portraits of over 50 black and mixed race students at Harvard College holding up dry-erase boards with handwritten examples of racist comments, microaggressions, talk-balk messages, quotes, and other responses to difficult interpersonal and institutional interactions they’ve experienced as students at Harvard College. This powerful youth-created and youth-led counter-narrative challenges complex issues such as post-racial ideologies, tokenism, the myth of meritocracy, color blindness, devalued and dismissed perspectives, stereotypical exchanges, and other problematic everyday interactions. The campaign deeply resonated with many people and rapidly spreading across the Internet, inspiring minority students on over 30 campuses across the country and world to create and share similar projects, and even garnered the attention of the White House.
This is just one example of connected young people harnessing the power of social media to shed light on the kinds of institutionalized and interpersonal racism people of color face on a daily basis. Young people are increasingly using the Internet – through blogs, spoken word and satirical performance videos, hashtags, social media movements, and more – to connect and organize online and offline, using whatever tools and resources they have to actively participate in their world, including challenging, learning, and teaching about race in the U.S. and beyond.
How can educators and researchers understand and highlight these engagements and what can be done to foster their educational and empowering potential?