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As always, holler back my way with any music, books, art, etc. that’s been getting your attention.
But first, here’s a photo from a friend’s backyard in Detroit.
I really like all of these different decolonizing research projects listed at Tkaronto CIRCLE Lab, University of Toronto. I like how the description for each project includes an ethical framework guiding the study and its theory of change. Theories of change, from Eve Tuck’s classic piece “Suspending Damage”:
A theory of change shapes what we see as the start or end of a project, who is our audience, who is our ‘us,’ how we think things are known, and how others need to be convinced.
Some of the theories of change look to be simply cut and pasted from sections of an article or grant application, but it’s encouraging to see space for theories of change to be explicit on project descriptions.
I found some time to type up for public sharing a quite massive critical race discussion assignment sheet from my YA Lit course. It has eight parts to it! Here are the assignment goals:
I’ve grown into the habit of designing assignment where the learning ends up happening in much of the work that leads up to the actual assignment and in the structured sense making after the assignment. This is one of those assignments. I don’t think the deepest learning comes from the middle portion where students lead the discussion, but in the many stages before and after it. And that’s why the assignment has 8 steps to it.
I posted something short on microblog about a sense making protocol I used recently with a participatory research team.
At the top of each grid went a research question the team (made up of researchers, instructors, musicians, mentors) developed at the start of the project. I imagine the sequence of rows (insights first and then data sources, or the other way around) matters in the sense making the designs asks people to do. It could be reversed, but I think insight –> sources matches the way this team thinks, and that might be related to how reflective they are as community-engaged artists – always thinking about insights to inform what they do next. The bottom row is really about data sources, but that term is too specialized for the array of folks on the research team, so it says “example, instance, story, etc.”
Regular sessions with tools like this have been much more generative than a decontextualized “coding” process.
Lots of reading this week related to an article I’m working on about theories of change in activist education research. I’ve revisited many of Eve Tuck‘s articles that cross Indigenous thought, theories of change, and participatory action methodologies. A Third University is Possible by la paperson also showed up in the mail right on time, and the decolonizing frames make for good conversation with Tuck’s work. Any time I’m thinking about theories of change, I’m thinking about Grace Lee Boggs again, so I’ve gone down a short path of writings about her work too. Of note is the essay “Living by the Clock of the World” by Matt Birkhold, which provides a lucid clarification of Boggs’ idea of visionary organizing, and the critical reply “In Defense of Struggle,” by Aaron Petkov.
I’m almost to the point of First Shitty Draft for an essay I’m writing on theories of change in activist education research. Writing this piece has me thinking about the various activist traditions from which scholars may think about themselves as scholar-activists. It’s also got me thinking about the different kinds of formations – many of which are not legible to institutional heuristics – that these activities form. The risk in this piece is inadvertently drawing lines in the sand about who is and isn’t a scholar activist. That risk has me thinking about lines and what they do. So the intro has this small part on lines. I’m not sure if it will make it to the final version, but I find myself liking this kind of thinking
I proceed below by drawing lines that connect theories of change through participatory action methodologies. By drawing these lines, I take some risks. Lines can connect dots to renderer a useful sketch, and they can also provide a path to a destination. But lines can also also divide, enclose, and separate.
Mixes I’m playing
Music by Friends
Last year around this time I sent out issue #26, titled Whiteness in Threes.