I am thrilled to have been invited to participate with a group of youth interested in being positive change agents in their community. Called AltAction their team is serious about engaging in critical and creative action. I have only met with them twice, and I am already inspired.
In the coming weeks, they are going to engage in some community photo ethnography in order to “make the familiar strange,” to step close in order to step back in perspective. To this end, they presented me with some homework. (It’s been a while since I had homework assigned!)
Bring three photographs that tell the story of what brings you to AltAction.
I’ve been thinking about this prompt all week, and am so pleased to have been asked to think both critically and creatively in tracing across the moments of my life. I have learned from educators and artists, such as Janis Jones and her series on beach debris, how composing through image can be incredibly powerful social action.
It also reminds me of something Jay Lemke (2009, p. 273) asked that I am taking up in my current work on tracing writing development across lifespans with Paul Prior:
How do moments add up to lives? How do our shared moments together add up to social life as such?
Just this last week, my grad students traced their uses of technology across various timescales—across their careers, their courses, a unit—and I really saw the power of not just communicating through photographs, but also tracing across time as a reflective activity. Take Aaron’s reflection as just one of many examples.
So, here are my three photos in timeline form, representing the laminating of experience across my life that ultimately brings me to AltAction.
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