2015 Noted Summer Scholar


Public Lecture

1:00 – 2:00pm, Scarfe 310, August 5, 2015

Looking at showing: On the politics and pedagogy of exhibiting in order to engage communities and policy makers

This presentation responds most directly to projects of visual art-making (digital stories, participatory videos, cellphilms, photography) where either virtual or physical exhibitions are seen to be central to reaching audiences, particularly community leaders and other policy makers, as part of the process of social change. For social science researchers working in the area of participatory visual research, the idea of the exhibition has increasingly come to be regarded as an essential component of such projects. But should it, and under what circumstances? Who should decide on which images? What are the ethical issues in relation to the question typically posed to participants, ‘who should see this exhibition?’ How can exhibiting be seen as central to the work and not just an after thought? At the same time, how can we ensure that the idea of exhibiting does not drive the project or study? Drawing on a series of cases of exhibiting, particularly in school and community settings, the presentation addresses the politics, procedures and pedagogy of exhibiting and curation in educational research.

About Dr. Claudia Mitchell

Claudia Mitchell is a James McGill Professor in the Department of Integrated studies in the Faculty of Education, McGill University, Canada and an Honorary Professor in the School of Education, University if KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa where she established the Centre for Visual Methodologies for Social Change. She is currently the Interim Director of the Institute of Human Development and Well-Being in the Faculty of Education of McGill University. Her research interests span work in schools with teachers and young people, particularly in the context of gender and HIV&AIDS, studies in Higher Education in the study of mainstreaming issues of gender and HIV&AIDS in South Africa and Ethiopia, and girlhood studies and in particular work related to gender based violence, and to participatory visual methodologies and community-based research in health education, housing and agriculture).

In 2008 she was given an award by the Canadian Bureau of International Education for her innovative work with young people in development contexts. She is involved in a number of research projects. These include studies funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada on the uses of digital technology with teachers, and research on ‘what difference does this make?’ in relation to arts-based methodologies for addressing HIV&AIDS in rural communities in South Africa; the Canadian Institute for Health Research in relation to the uses of participatory methodologies for working with aboriginal youth in addressing HIV&AIDS; and the National Research Foundation (South Africa) focusing on two key areas (gender and sanitation; indigenous knowledge and women teachers in the age of AIDS).

Founder of YAHAnet and the Participatory Cultures Lab at McGill, Claudia is also an editor of the academic journal, Girlhood Studies.