Montreal – 2011

The Girlhood Exchange: Dialogues between and amongst practitioners, researchers and policy makers working with and for girls

Comparative and International Education Society
Fairmount Queen Elizabeth Montréal. Floor C, Duluth.
May 5, 2011 1:45-3:15

This panel comes out of a recognition that the lives of girls and young women are not easily and neatly carved up as ‘policy’ and ‘practice’, or as ‘global’ (development in the Global South) and ‘domestic’ (in the Global North) and yet too often that is the way programming and research is carried out. This carving up often results in critical gaps and the tensions over scant resources. This panel aims to highlight and interrogate some of the ways in which ‘exchange’ can become a working principle for critique, advocacy and research across a wide range of issues of significance to addressing key issues in the lives of girls and young women: media and technology, reproductive health, leadership.

 

The Tanzania Girl’s Puberty Book Project: A model for promoting girl’s agency
Marni Sommer, School of Pubic Health, Columbia University

The onset of puberty, and specifically menstruation, is an opportune moment for reaching girls as they transition into adolescence and young womanhood. Yet the education and reproductive health communities have tended to overlook the onset of menstruation and early puberty in policy and practice. A girl’s puberty book was developed and published in Tanzania with the intention of complementing a larger national push towards assuring girls’ healthy transitions to young adulthood and closing the gender gap in schooling. It provides a model for encouraging agency and independence through its age appropriate content that is designed to empower and educate girls about their changing bodies and about managing their menses successfully in girl unfriendly school environments.


Reflexivity as a critical tool in community based approaches to work with girls
Tatiana Fraser, Executive Director, Girls’ Action Foundation, Montreal and Stephanie Garrow, Independent Consultant; Relebohile Moletsane, University of KwaZulu-Natal

This presentation takes the form of a dialogue with 3 girlhood activists who themselves work across several sectors (NGO, policy and NGO, and academic and NGO), and at the same time represent different sectors (NGO, policy, academic) and different cultural contexts in the Global North and Global South. The common thread is reflexivity. How do different models of reflexivity (e.g., individual self-study, feminist collective, participatory visual methodologies) contribute to the overall agenda of working with girls? How does this work contribute to deepening an understanding of the links between the lives of girls and women, and what are some of the lessons learned to apply to enriching community-university partnerships with girls?


Live Visual Mapping: A participatory arts-based approach for transforming ideas and concepts into art in a group setting
Pamela Teitelbaum & Jennifer Thompson, doctoral students, McGill University; Stephanie Garrow, Independent Consultant, April Mandrona, doctoral student, Concordia University

Live Visual Mapping is a participatory training technique that uses artists and their tools to visually capture ideas and concepts from a conversation of small or large groups during an educational training session, or a workshop into “visual knowledge builders” (Hyerle, 2009). Building on concept mapping which uses a more systematic approach for moving towards knowledge production, live visual mapping seeks to map concepts artistically and organically, as the conversation unfolds. We will present the advantages and disadvantages of using this type of visual participatory training technique, reflecting on the development and design of this methodology as well as our implementation of it and the resulting artistic creation.

 

Chair and Discussant:    Claudia Mitchell, McGill University 

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