Chronicling Black and Other Underrepresented Lives, Jillian Abbott
I will present a paper in the form of a pedagogical autoethnography covering the strategies I use in my creative writing classes. This pedagogy empowers students, especially students of color and other minorities to tell their stories, most recently about COVID-19 and/or systemic racism, particularly as it impacts their encounters with law enforcement. Inspired by my Spring 2020 classes at York College CUNY, where students drew on their experiences of lockdown to frame their final digital products. In this paper I will address my teaching decisions and showcase my students work. (see link below). https://www.york.cuny.edu/news/hastride-animates-her-story-of-covid-19?utm_source=phpList%20utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=York+Weekly+Update%20&utm_content=HTML
Jillian Abbott’s Instagram Blog, @TheMindfulMouth, a memoir in food, has 20,000 followers. Her short stories, op-eds, and essays have won awards and been published in the US, Australia, Europe, and India, including Queens Noir, The Guardian, and the Washington Post. She lecturers in Creative Writing at York College, CUNY.
Life Writing Through Living Archives, Beth Yahp
Storytelling is vital for marginalised communities, yet the curation and construction of these stories may disguise and reinforce inequalities. In 2019 I co-designed a ‘Living Archives Workshop’ with Malaysia Design Archive, an activist archive that documents Malaysia’s visual culture and history. Using creative writing pedagogy, I worked with marginalised Malaysian participants to produce life writing narratives via ‘visual artefacts’ belonging to them. I discuss the notion of a ‘living archive’, the methodology, workshop, material produced and feedback from participants. The project’s value was evident: triggering deeply-felt life narratives, often leading to a re-evaluation of the artefact and participants’ own stories.
Beth Yahp’s fiction and creative non-fiction include: The Red Pearl and Other Stories; a memoir Eat First, Talk Later, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Adelaide Festival Award for Literature (Non-Fiction); and a prize-winning novel, The Crocodile Fury. She is the Creative Writing Degree Coordinator at the University of Sydney.
Portraits of Self and/as Life Writing Praxis, Gina Snooks
Self-portraiture is a form of visual life storytelling which allows portrait-makers to explore one’s subjectivity and lived realities through photography. The act of creating self-portraits is personal, but it can also be political. In this presentation, I consider the political and pedagogical potential of self-portraiture, combined with personal narratives, as a mode of critical inquiry in feminist classrooms. In doing so, I examine life writing as a mode of social justice, thereby raising questions about what it might mean to curate our life stories for political purposes.
Gina Snooks is a PhD Candidate in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research at Western University, London, Canada. Her academic interests include autoethnography, life writing (particularly life stories of women in Newfoundland and Labrador), trauma studies, and spirituality.