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The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics

ISSN: 2472-7318

Participatory curation: who has the power to exhibit in a collaborative community-based project?

by Jenna Vinson and Urmitapa Dutta, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Abstract

What does curation involve when guided by feminist, community-based participatory methodologies aimed toward social change? This piece highlights that curation is a critically important intermediary rhetorical action in-and-of-itself when working with marginalized groups in a participatory action project. Participatory curation—a process of eliciting, shaping, and sharing creative-rhetorical works with members of a participatory action research (PAR) project—involves navigating tensions while striving to ensure that differently positioned participants have opportunities to voice their perspectives on when, if, and how to exhibit/disseminate the co-created knowledge. This web-text offers a deeper understanding of the praxis of participatory curation as participatory action research project. Drawing on a feminist PAR project to support marginalized youth in creating and presenting digital stories about critical issues impacting their communities, we argue that participatory curation involves creating a sense of “we” by prompting interpersonal moments of discovery and by confronting the commonplaces and structures that would immediately authorize those with privilege to decide when, if, and how to disseminate or make public collaborative creative-rhetorical works.

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