Crafting a DIY Campervan and Crafting Embodied, Gendered Identity Performances in a Hyper-masculine Environment




adult learning, gender, craft, identity, autoethnography, wellbeing, DIY, campervan


This paper presents a multi-media textual collage that shows rather than tells the lived experiences of my conversion of a DIY campervan over several months in a diesel mechanic workshop in Sydney, Australia. This is a “small culture,” (Holliday, 1999) to which I gained limited access as I developed craft skills and the confidence to speak back to relative, milieu-specific, gendered power. I use autoethnographic textual fragments written shortly after the moment to depict the struggle to acquire skills, build confidence, and cross “small” cultures in an unusual crafting context. Grounded theoretical insights are suggested as they relate to three things. First, I examine the nature of individual, self-directed learning as engendered by the non-expert, hands-on doing of craft supported by YouTube instructional videos. Second, I consider positive and negative affective identity factors, particularly feelings of competence or incompetence and challenges to my own (female, middle-aged, injured, and non-expert) embodiment. Third, I consider the collaborative, discursive ways in which hegemonic and non-hegemonic masculinities were talked into being as contingent, relational identities against the foil of a constructed “other.”

Author Biography

Phiona Stanley, Edinburgh Napier University

Phiona Stanley is an Associate Professor of Intercultural Business Communications at the School of Languages and Tourism at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. Previously, she was a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Over the past twenty-five years, Phiona has worked in Peru, Poland, Qatar, China, England, Australia, and Scotland. This paper was written in —and of— Sydney, Australia.


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How to Cite

Stanley, P. (2019). Crafting a DIY Campervan and Crafting Embodied, Gendered Identity Performances in a Hyper-masculine Environment. Art/Research/International:/A/Transdisciplinary/Journal, 4(1), 351–380.