Arts­-based participatory research approach: Potential for exploring Asian­ Canadian youth identities through an intersectionality lens

What is this project about? 

To apply arts-based methodologies to explore Asian-Canadian youth identities in Canada. . Our overall research question is: If and how are art-based research methods relevant in exploring hyphenated youth cultural and migrant identities in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada’s largest and diverse metropolitan setting? Youth participants were introduced to visual arts (Self Portraits and Relational Maps), and to drama (Readers’ Theatre). These arts methodologies are considered effective methods for individual level of identity exploration. A key objective was to receive feedback from youth participants on the effectiveness and relevance of these arts-based methodologies in exploring their Asian-Canadian identities. 

How will we go about doing this project? 

We conducted individual interviews with 25 Asian and Asian-Canadian youth participants, and one workshop with 8 Asian and Asian-Canadian youth participants. Study participants were selected into the study by an initial screening to include diverse identity markers in relation to Asian-Canadian youth including (1) immigrant and descendant of immigrants, and (2) between 16 and 24 years of age. 

1) Individual interviews. Youth were introduced to visual methodologies. As part of the interview, they were asked to draw a self-portrait and a relational map, and to explain their drawings, Finally. they provided feedback on these methodologies. 

2) Workshop. Youth were introduced to a drama methodology (Readers’ Theatre). They discussed key themes related to Asian youth identity. Then they were asked to work on small groups to collaboratively, write a script. After this activity, the groups read the scripts to their peers, and finally they provided feedback on this particular drama methodology. 

What will be done with the research findings? 

Research findings will inform analysis on the feasibility of individual level arts-based methods (Self-Portraits, Relational Maps), and group-based arts methodologies (script writing and performing Readers Theatre), to examine Asian-Canadian youth identities through an intersectional lens. 

We plan to conduct the following knowledge transfer and mobilization activities, to promote exchange and disseminate research findings: 1) Community Event; 2) Information Sheet; and 3) Guidelines to apply arts-based methodologies. Other relevant activities include a journal article and conference presentations. 

Want to know more about this project?

For more information, please contact owhchair@yorku.ca or Dr. Luz Maria Vazquez (lvazquez@yorku.ca), research coordinator of the study. For more information about our projects visit: http://nkhanlou.info.yorku.ca/