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dissertation

 Student researchers from L to R: Sylvia, Donovan, Mia, Kate

Student researchers from L to R: Sylvia, Donovan, Mia, Kate

In my dissertation project, titled Literacy Experience: Towards an Ontological View of Literacies Through Youth Participatory Photoethnography and Art Making, I consider how a group of high school students make sense of their own textual engagement through photoethnographic self-study and art-making. A group of co-researcher youth and I established a working group to critically interrogate the word text and to explore how texts of all kinds participate in the everyday lives of teenagers. Through traditional ethnographic methods as well as youth participant photoethnography and an art-making methodology we designed, the students and I sought to understand the nature of youth textual engagement and the ecologies in which this engagement occurs. By mobilizing Non-Representational Theory (NRT), a theoretical orientation originating in the field of human geography which helps to make visible the often hidden elements in day-to-day relationships, we discovered that the students’ textual networks are governed by affect, people, objects, and the influence of popular culture or, as one student researcher named it, the zeitgeist.