PLACES OF ACTIVISM: ENGAGING YOUTH TO EXPLORE THE PLACES THAT MAINTAIN COMMUNITIES OF ACTIVISM
The present study used action research with youth to investigate and create radio shows about the role place has played in maintaining the identities of activists committed to social and ecological justice. The research focused on whether youth involvement in a participatory, critical learning experience of creating radio shows interviewing activists from their community helped those students to develop and maintain their own activist identity and community. The study also examined other aspects of the critical learning process and conditions of the radio studio that affected their identity. Finally, the study asked if the youth participants planned to take any steps to maintain their activism beyond the study. In addressing these questions of activist identity in relation to place, the study is presented as three mini-studies. Mini-study 1 addresses how the experienced activists who were interviewed by youth described the role of material places in enabling and supporting their activism, the final product of which is two radio shows. Four inductively generated, theoretical categories are presented to capture the experienced activists’ descriptions of place including relationality, the act of making place, normalizing transgression in everyday life, and using power. Mini-study 2 addresses how the youth participants perceived the process of interviewing activists on a radio show, as well as other aspects of making radio shows including the radio studio as having contributed to their own activist identities. It also looks at the steps, if any, the youth had planned to stay active beyond the study. Profiles of each youth participant are presented to represent their perceptions of creating radio shows. Mini-study 3 invites the reader on my self-reflexive journey as an educator committed to social and ecological justice including reflections on existing practice in schools, place and youth identity, collective spaces for agency, intergenerational mentoring, slow pedagogy and mindfulness, radio as a pedagogical tool, and my own style of teaching.
youth activism, environmental education, ecojustice, activism, agency, place, action research
Master of Education (M.Ed.)