Listening to and with the lives of adolescents

It's been far too long since I posted an entry here. I have no one to blame but myself... but for good measure I'll also give a little credit to the very long and not always voluntary todo list that consumed me for the past many months.

But another reason is a very good one -- the publication of a new volume that brings a focus of arts and aesthetics to the work my research team and I have been doing over the past several years. Arts, Media, and Justice: Multimodal Explorations with Youth features contributions from graduate students, youth researchers, arts educators, and established literacy scholars who take up various contours of the intersections of the titular concepts of the book. The book is co-edited with Tiffany DeJaynes, a wonderful colleague and friend who is up to some amazing work of her own with high school students turned budding qualitative researchers.

Building from this volume, that draws on the Reimagining Futures Project, last year some colleagues, graduates students and I launched the Youth, Media, and Educational Justice Project -- a consortium that we are building in an effort to bring participatory approaches to the study and support of the lives of court-involved youth, including the young people involved in the Juvenile Justice system with whom we have been working for the past near decade (and a bit longer than that for some of us...!) as well as young people in foster care who will likely age out while still in the the care of the child welfare system.

What, pray tell, might this have to do with adolescent literacies? In this work we are deeply informed by the basic ideas that have always grounded my study of young people's literate lives:

  • youth are engaged in myriad forms of expression and communication (thus rendering the use of "illiterate" utterly moot); 
  • found within adolescents' literacies are markers of affiliation and connection (to communities, to people, to texts, and more);
  • the varied contours of youths' literate lives are replete with evidence of their ways of knowing -- of knowing about the world, of making themselves known in the world.

We bring to this set of underlying assumptions new questions about belonging and becoming, questions that gain new urgency in the current and ongoing discourses of laws and policies that place adolescents' wellbeing at a far remove from decision making. Most notably, these concerns are brought into stark relief in the ongoing and deeply divided debates about the NYPD's #stopandfrisk policies, including today's ruling on the policy.

We take as our mission four entry points into the pursuit of educational justice for court-involved youth in which our position and posture is that of listening both to and with young people:

  • Media making
  • Mentoring
  • Research
  • Education

I, along with my YMEJ team members, will be blogging about these and related ideas over on our YMEJ blog. I encourage you to follow and also to keep up with us on Twitter.

Next up here -- a short post about some of the excellent reads I encountered this summer, all of which touched, in some way, on adolescents' ways of communicating, knowing, being, becoming, and belonging...

Wishing you a restorative August in the meantime.


So that we may shame the shamers

The beginning of the autumn semester brought me into contact with Jessica Ringrose's research on sexting and the related practices of shaming going on in the daily, digitally mediated practices of some adolescents. This past month has brought into stark relief the ways in which shaming and symbolic violence are manifested as actual, heinous, unimaginable violence and violation of another human being. 

Here, I've curated a selection of artifacts -- articles, media, and more -- that touch on various aspects of shaming. These aren't intended to sensationalize, glorify, or horrify. They are meant, simply, to educate, inform, and generate further inquiry. I'll continue to add more over the next few weeks, as well.
  • On "slut-shaming" -- a collection of cites inspired by a youth-produced radio piece 


Calls for scholarship: On Media, Literacies, Pop Culture, and more...

Two calls for proposals and one call for papers -- 

1) National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) Annual Conference - July 12-13, 2013 - Call for Proposals
Deadline: January 21, 2013

About the conference:
We are currently inviting proposals for participation in our 2013 NAMLE Conference to be held in Torrance, CA July 12-13th. As a membership organization, NAMLE celebrates the diversity of voices, pedagogies and technologies that comprise the growing field of media literacy education. 
2013 Conference Theme
Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media
Disruption is a watchword for the time we live in: competing social networking platforms, ever-shifting working styles, novel job descriptions displacing the old, manifold curricular and performance demands. With all these possibilities vying for our buy-in, it is vital to seek commonalities. It is at the intersections that we will begin to make sense and make use of a media revolution well underway and yet incompletely understood by our educational infrastructure. This conference will highlight the role of media literacy educators’ capacity to take a leading role in this nationwide task.
Read more here.

2) Media In Transition (MIT) 8: Public media, private media - May 3-5, 2013 at MIT, Cambridge, MA.
Deadline: March 1, 2013

About the conference:
The distinction between public and private – where the line is drawn and how it is sometimes inverted, the ways that it is embraced or contested – says much about a culture. Media have been used to enable, define and police the shifting line between the two, so it is not surprising that the history of media change to some extent maps the history of these domains. Media in Transition 8 takes up the question of the shifting nature of the public and private at a moment of unparalleled connectivity, enabling new notions of the socially mediated public and unequalled levels of data extraction thanks to the quiet demands of our Kindles, iPhones, televisions and computers.  While this forces us to think in new ways about these long established categories, in fact the underlying concerns are rooted in deep historical practice.  MiT8 considers the ways in which specific media challenge or reinforce certain notions of the public or the private and especially the ways in which specific “texts” dramatize or imagine the public, the private and the boundary between them.  It takes as its foci three broad domains: personal identity, the civic (the public sphere) and intellectual property. 

Read more here.

Deadline: June 30, 2013

About the special issue:
What is the role of popular culture in primary, early years and secondary literacy curricula? In what ways can children and youths’ popular culture knowledge and familiarity with the artefacts of their popular culture be viewed as an asset that can be utilized in their literacy learning?
This special edition of  Literacy,  focusing on popular culture and curriculum, aims to
explore different perspectives about the place of popular culture within children’s literacy 
education.  Contributors are invited to submit articles that focus on popular culture, 
curriculum and literacy from different theoretical, pedagogical, practical, policy and/ or 
research perspectives.

Read more here.


2012 - A year in photos

LondonLondonLake Vembanad, India.Kumarakom, India.Munnar, India.Munnar, India.
Munnar, India.Munnar, India.Palghat, India.Kalpathi, India.Kalpathi, India.Kalpathi, India.
Perinkulam, India.London.LondonNicosiaNicosiaNicosia
For complete set, click: 2012 (flickr).

A few of the thousands taken in 2012, a year of moving and being moved, of kind invitations and newly nurtured friendships, of breaking bread and sharing drink, of seeing and hearing and falling in love time and again, and an intimate understanding of the word gratitude.