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Mentorship as Co-Created Relational Learning Alongside Trans and Non-binary Young Adults: A Visual Narrative Inquiry

  • Author / Creator
    Lavoie, Michelle Mary Anne
  • For trans and non-binary young adults, impoverished social support hampers positive identity formation and can have lifelong consequences. Mentorship may provide a platform to voice often silenced stories and counter hegemonic narratives such as hetero- and cisnormativity. Despite its potential, there is a paucity of research on mentorship as social support for trans and non-binary young adults. The purpose of this research is to inquire into the experience of mentorship provided to trans and non-binary young adults. There are four research purposes: 1) Understand the experience of mentorship provided to trans and non-binary young adults; 2) Attend to mentorship as a co-created identity formation and asset-building process; 3) Understand trans, non-binary, and queer intergenerational learning experiences, and; 4) Understand the tensions and possibilities with narrative inquiry to develop new theoretical perspectives. It is important to attend to mentorship as a life making experience that happens in dynamic interactions and in often conflicting constructions of identity, agency, and resistance. I have engaged in narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000), a relational methodology, to understand mentorship because relational learning is tacit to both. I have created mentorship opportunities within this study using monthly sessions in a community printmaking studio to create artwork to deepen reflections on experience. I have used my expertise as an artist, post-secondary art instructor, and queer community activist to facilitate these sessions. This study has been conducted in informal settings over two years in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have used purposive sampling to recruit three trans and non-binary young adults who have engaged in trans and non-binary and/or queer programs and could speak to mentorship experiences. This research addresses a paucity of adult educational scholarship on arts-based mentorship to support trans and non-binary young adults, who often do not feel safe or fully included in formal educational environments. Significantly, this research demonstrates how trans and non-binary young adults transform mentorship into “relational assets” (Sadowski, Chow, & Scanlon, 2009); abilities, skills, and resources co-created in relationship that foster a sense of connectedness to self and others. These trans and non-binary young adults mobilized artmaking to make sense of experience, combat social isolation, and build communities. These findings can be used to formalize trans and non-binary mentorship programs, resources, and services in public schools, universities, and community agencies. Additionally, this research highlights how theory, ground in daily experience, can be utilized as a practical tool to negotiate complex lives.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2021
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-wbx7-a898
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.