My funded research and much of my teaching and community engagement relates to participatory visual work, particularly in the context of university and school-based responses to gender and HIV & AIDS in Southern African (Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Kenya) as well as with aboriginal youth in the Canadian context. This includes research on youth participation and sexual violence in and around schools, teacher engagement through memory work and digital media, and the uses of social media and popular culture in relation to social change more broadly. This is work that is located within the James McGill professorship “Social policy ‘from the ground up’: Youth participation and social change through digital media” and which builds on the research that I have been conducting for more than a decade on the use of visual arts-based methodologies in working with youth in relation to gender and sexuality in the age of AIDS. What has been central to this research has been the testing out of such visual methods as participatory video, photography, and participatory archiving in engaging young people, teachers, and community health care workers, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, in addressing HIV&AIDS prevention and education. This work is also located within the growing body of work in youth studies and youth engagement, which points to the significance of the participation of children and young people in contributing to the official dialogue around issues of concern to their everyday lives. This is an area of significance in Canada and of concern globally. Indeed, there is a growing consensus among those involved in social programming that, unless young people are given a more significant voice in participating in policy dialogue about their own health and well-being, the programs themselves are destined to fail. What has interested me also is the engagement of teachers and others working with youth as central to participatory work. Doctoral and masters students work across a variety of geographic contexts (Canada, Cameroon, South Africa, Mexico, Ethiopia, China), and focusing on school-based and community research related to gender, HIV&AIDS, girlhood, language and teaching.
Claudia Mitchell, PhD, F.R.S.C.
James McGill Professor
3700 McTavish St.
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1Y2
Phone: 514 398 4527 ext. 09990
Fax: 514 398 4529
Co-Editor of Girlhood Studies: an Interdisciplinary Journal
YAHAnet (Youth, the arts and HIV&AIDS network)
Participatory Cultures Lab
Interim Director, Institute of Human Development and Well-Being