The storytellers : identity narratives by NZ African youth : a participatory visual methodological approach to situating identity, migration and representation
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Citation:Tuwe, M. (2018). The storytellers : identity narratives by NZ African youth : a participatory visual methodological approach to situating identity, migration and representation. An unpublished exegesis submitted to Communication Studies, Business Enterprise and High Technology Network in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of International Communication, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4318
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can participatory visual methodologies within an African indigenous research framework be used to enable authentic voice representations of African youth in New Zealand? The aim of this Master of International Communication creative research project is to situate identity, migration and representation of African youth in New Zealand using participatory visual methodologies within an African indigenous research framework. This creative project involved a series of workshops, a focus group and reflexive diary entries by a group of ten youths of African descent in Auckland, New Zealand, including myself as a researcher and co-participant over a period of four months. The participants (who were all women of African descent) are referred to as ‘The Storytellers’ or ‘ The Storyteller’. As part of this research each Storyteller developed, created and executed a visual project that serves as a representation of their identity as a third culture youth. Through the creation of content, I explored and examined the co-creative space for African youth in New Zealand and how creating narratives to counter mass media messages can provide a space for self-determination, confidence and a sense of belonging. The research project has two components the analytical and the creative. The analytical component focuses on how a methodology can be used to create new knowledge about people of African descent within the contemporary New Zealand society. The creative component reflects on the process and uses visual images as an expression of identity construction. It is presented in three parts: The first is content exemplars that include photography, memes, narrative essay, audio recordings, music and poetry co-created by The Storytellers and I. The second is a website I developed that serves as a digital platform with the content created. The third is this document, the exegesis that explores the process of creating and developing narratives about African identity in the diaspora by producing a visual participatory project. In this exegesis I examine the ways in which participatory visual methodologies within an indigenous Afrocentric framework can be used to enable the process of collecting and sharing stories of the African community in New Zealand, specifically the youth and our young women, whom I consider as my sisters. In mainstream media people of African descent are commonly 6 portrayed negatively and as the number of people of African descent living in New Zealand increases due to migration and birth, it becomes imperative to create stories that represent the lives of those individuals. I begin this exegesis with a personal narrative I wrote as a reflexive diary entry during the research process. The decision to begin Chapter One with Home but never Home was to highlight the reality of navigating life as a woman of African descent in New Zealand and the conversations I engage in about identity and belonging. The second chapter Methodology and why representation matters explores the media representation of people of African descent and the literature about it. In this chapter I introduce the research project and the rationale behind applying participatory visual methodologies within an indigenous Afrocentric framework. I conclude the chapter with the research questions, objectives and detailing the design and process of the research project. In Chapter Three The Projects I share the projects The Storytellers and I created during the research process. In the fourth chapter titled Reflections on the process , I share my reflections on the process including emerging themes that came as a result of thematically analysing the data from the workshops, focus group and reflexive diary entries. I conclude the chapter by answering how participatory visual methodologies within an African indigenous research framework can be used to enable authentic voice representations of African youth in New Zealand. This exegesis is concluded with Chapter Five which details a recommendation and a way forward. This research is aiming to provide an impetus for researchers, policy makers and those interested in African development to start exploring different alternative methodologies such as participatory visual methodologies within an indigenous framework to countering the issues that come with migration, identity and representation for people of African descent in the New Zealand context. Through critical ethnography I was able to co-create narratives from within the community while actively engaging with the research process, The Storytellers and community. The significance of this research lies in its potential to generate content for mainstream media, inform community media. It also can be applied for the creation of a youth empowerment programme not only for African youth but for other migrant communities in New Zealand.