Probing participatory partnerships: Equitably consequential making by, for and with marginalized youth

Friday, October 14, 2016
Resource Type:
Conference Proceedings | Reference Materials
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Community Outreach Programs, Making and Tinkering Programs
Middle School Children (11-13) | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Learning Researchers
Art, music, and theater | Engineering | General STEM | Technology
Access and Inclusion: 
Black/African American Communities
University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Michigan State University, Boys and Girls Club of Lansing

In this paper we investigated the role youth participatory ethnography played as a pedagogical approach to supporting youth in making. To do so, we examined in-depth cases of youth makers from traditionally marginalized communities in two makerspace clubs in two different mid-sized US cities over the course of three years. Drawing from mobilities of learning studies and participatory frameworks, our findings indicate that participatory ethnography as pedagogical practice repositioned youth and making by helping to foreground youths’ relationality to people, communities, activities and timescales in collaborative, critical and connected ways. This pedagogical stance centralized co-making (including the co-production of design problems and solutions with a wide range of stake holders across setting and time). Three pedagogical principles emerged from analysis of these two interrelated findings: Participatory ethnography as pedagogy 1) emphasized youth participation, not just as respondents, but as people who contribute to the research by bringing in their concerns; 2) situated knowledge production within local contexts in decolonizing ways, and 3) contributed to the improvement of conditions for youth. We conclude with a discussion of how these pedagogical principles can inform the equity agenda in making.

Funding Program: 
Award Number: 
Publication Name: 
FabLearn '16

Team Members

Edna TanEdna TanAuthor
Carmen TurnerCarmen TurnerAuthor

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