Enhancing the Skills of Community and Academic Partners: Digital storytelling as a Method for Engaging Aboriginal Communities

Mullett, Jennifer (2013) Enhancing the Skills of Community and Academic Partners: Digital storytelling as a Method for Engaging Aboriginal Communities. In: CU Expo 2013, June 12-15, 2013, Corner Brook, NL, Canada. (Submitted)

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In attempting to achieve a democracy of knowledge we broadened our conception of rigor in community based research methods. We included the principles of congruence, capacity building, and reciprocal learning. For example, we asked ourselves: Is the method of engagement with the community congruent with that community’s historical and preferred method of communication? Will the procedures of the methodology help to build capacity so that the community can use the research methods to problem solve or celebrate future issues? Are there opportunities for reciprocal learning built into the design? In this presentation, a project with Aboriginal youth is described that used digital stories as a method to gather narratives and photos of cultural practices as the modern vehicle for preserving cultural knowledge. This method was chosen by all partners as most congruent with the historical story telling practices of First Nations and as an opportunity for creating an artifact for community members. However, despite all the dialogue and best intentions there were several roadblocks to be overcome when a large bureaucracy like a university is the medium by which all formal requirements of a research grant are administered and equitable formalized relationships are attempted. Policies for responsibility, employment and ethics have not caught up with community engaged scholarship and innovative methods. Also, it requires patience and planning in order to build youths’ confidence and develop their leadership abilities before they can engage as team members. This presentation will show an example of the digital stories created by the youth and elders and initiate discussion on the difficulties of trying to achieve the lofty goals of equitable relationships and reciprocal learning, and choosing a method that aligns with community values while satisfying the demands of funders and university policies.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1774
Item ID: 1774
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > CU Expo 2013
Date: 13 June 2013
Date Type: Completion
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