Creating a Critical Pedagogy of Place with Marginalized Youth in Barrio Logan

Gigliotti, Angela. 2019. Creating a Critical Pedagogy of Place with Marginalized Youth in Barrio Logan. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This practice-based research explored possibilities for creating new life narratives through the arts with youth in Barrio Logan, California. The research questions were: How are new life narratives created through the practice of poetry, music and art in the lives of marginalized youth? How can a collaborative curatorial practice be used as a critical pedagogy of place? The questions arose from the researcher’s practice as a teacher/curator and artist and were approached using an emergent arts-based methodology. Conversations, in the form of testimonios, and collaborative curation were also used as transformative and disruptive methodologies. Youth identities and making of place were explored drawing from theories of place and concepts of belonging. Through the work of this practice, a concept termed fugitive space was developed. The notion of fugitive space moved the term fugitive away from the negative connotation to a departure point for escape—rupture. The students, as both participants and collaborators, were encouraged to share alternative stories rather than problem stories often associated with the deficit models used in educational settings. The emphasis was on reflecting, initiating discussions and exposing tensions rather than solving issues. Counter-stories were present in the conversations and offered narratives that disrupted the labels of ‘at risk’ youths or ‘juvenile delinquents’. The writing, performing and sharing of poetry and rap music was central to the telling of these narratives and as a form of collaborative curation. Through the practice of collaborative curation, the students, as artists and activists, took on the role of critical pedagogues which served to disrupt the hierarchies of power within the gallery space. The stories, in the form of testimonios, included symbols of Aztlán that occupied both physical and symbolic spaces in Barrio Logan and contributed to the formation of Chicana/o identity. Through the testimonios, conversations that interrogated power structures were initiated with the community and created a place-belongingness. The outcomes of this practice-based research showed that new life narratives and new stories of place emerged forming a critical pedagogy of place and contributed a place-based educational practice that could be used by educators and other youth practitioners. Furthermore, the practice of collaborative curation initiated dialogical encounters that opened a context for the disruption of dominate narratives and the transmission of traumatic memories— a fugitive space.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Youth arts, critical pedagogy, place-based education, adjudicated youth, marginalized youth, art education

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies > Centre for the Arts and Learning


31 March 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 May 2019 09:46

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:14


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