Becoming Backpack: Towards a Counter-Inscription of Young Adult Collegian Identity Work


  • Kelly Clark/Keefe University of Vermont



arts-engaged research, counter-inscription, new materialist subjectivity, young adult college student identity work


This article invites readers to encounter the author’s early attempts at engaging creatively with data produced during a research project called Life Lines: The Art of Being Alive to Young Adulthood. Launched in January 2019, the Life Lines project was conceived as a critical participatory arts-engaged research endeavor aimed at opening up conventional theoretical wisdom about the nature of young adult college student identity formation. In addition to providing details of the inquiry project’s design and aims, a series of visual and poetic prose narratives open and become threaded throughout the article. These multimodal expressive forms function as a type of creative counter-inscription device, working both to complicate identity development models that limit subjectivity to human consciousness and agency, and to illustrate a more expansive, somatically attuned, and materially-entangled set of practices and productions of young adult identity work’s work and its study.

Author Biography

Kelly Clark/Keefe, University of Vermont

Kelly Clark/Keefe is Associate Professor at the University of Vermont. Her research puts affect and creativity theory to work in studying educational identity and arts-based inquiry. She has published widely on qualitative methods and is author of Invoking Mnemosyne: Art, Memory and the Uncertain Emergence of a Feminist Embodied Methodology.


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How to Cite

Clark/Keefe, K. (2020). Becoming Backpack: Towards a Counter-Inscription of Young Adult Collegian Identity Work. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, 5(1), 158–179.