Blog Post

Representing the Self (Literally... and theoretically!)

Update 10/6: Edited this a little, to include TL;DR bold text and some links to specific projects. Inspired by the crowd!
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Dear Peers in Collective Inquiry,

Ah, you are all so cool! Seriously, this is such a special group of folks. It's really quite amazing to feel such solidarity with internet strangers -- not because I haven't felt that before, but because actually, I probably haven't felt it quite like this since being a teenager on LiveJournal (it's safe to confess that here, right?). As an adult, I have been lucky to find and create spaces for self-expression and community IRL. But there are certain trade offs to privileging the physical. Despite the bond with my peers in graduate school, I can't help but feel a certain widening distance with each other as we dive into the particularities of our specialized interests. Our private themes can be possessive lovers; they demand so much time and cognitive intimacy! So I am grateful to find some recognition for my partial identities and disciplinary crushes among all of you.

Anyway. Hello. I am Natalia, a 2nd year PhD student in Learning Sciences (the study of how people learn, cognitively and culturally, and how we can better design technologies and spaces for learning in context) at Northwestern University. I have been a "member" (aka a registered user) on this site for a few months, but have been really too overwhelemed by all the existing content to contribute. As a newly minted HASTAC Scholar, I feel that I can finally proudly own my status as a novice participant. Coincidentally, this kind of identity shift is the thing I am deeply interested in understanding and writing about: how people learn to belong and imagine themselves as part of a civic community and partcipate in public discourse. I focus on youth media production and the multimodal, dialogical ways young people author themselmes as legible civic agents. I also care about the processes, pedagogies and tools to support these kinds of shifts, both for individuals and collectives, and really like thinking of culture as a unit of analysis. I am happily see-sawing between theory and practice, with lots of different intersecting influences. Before coming to grad school, I worked with young people in Philadelphia to develop and produce POPPYN - a public access news show presenting missing perspectives of Philly youth missing from mainstream media. Currently, I am partnering with amazing youth media projects here in Chicago - the Chicago Youth Voices Network and Convergence Academies, and supporting civic journalism curricula in Chicago Public Schools. I am really excited about using multimodal discourse analysis, participatory design-based pedagogy and participatory games and simulations as research tools. Finally, as an embodied being myself, I am constantly encountering other subjective and situated knowledges that make me endlessly curious about how community, technology, identity and social change intersect. I really like book clubs, post-it notes, and all things carnivalesque.

I am so excited to be part of this group and am really looking forward to sharing and connecting with all of you this year!

EMBEDDED OPPORTUNITY TO RESPOND: Any Rhetoric and Visual Culture people out there? I have been thinking about the concept of "visual citizenship" as one way to describe the work of self-representation in youth media production. There have been a few folks who've used that term (and at least one conference on the topic) but I am struggling to find useful literature to help me ground the concept. Any recommendations? Tx!






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