Life Challenge Memory Work: Using Collaborative Autobiography to Understand Ourselves

  • Judith C. Lapadat University of Northern British Columbia
  • Nancy E. Black University of Northern British Columbia
  • Philip G. Clark University of Northern British Columbia
  • Richard M. Gremm University of Northern British Columbia
  • Lucy W. Karanja University of Northern British Columbia
  • Miss Mieke University of Northern British Columbia
  • Loriann Quinlan University of Northern British Columbia

Abstract

Using memory work, a group of eight adults in a university setting wrote, shared, and theorized memories of life challenges we experienced. In this study, we have adapted and refined memory work as a method, and we model this by presenting and examining a comprehensive case example of memory work. Our memories were of four main types: stories of dangerous events, the unruly body/self, leaving home/returning home, and negotiating social relationships. Processes of writing, performing, witnessing, and theorizing led us to identify ruptures and turning points that revealed ways in which we have been culturally inscribed as well as our agency in integrating social discourses into our identity. Our results point to the value of collaborative autobiography as a route to insight, a way to build community, and a means to democratize research.

Author Biographies

Judith C. Lapadat, University of Northern British Columbia
Judith C. Lapadat, PhD, Northwest Regional Chair and Professor, School of Education, University of Northern British Columbia: Terrace Campus.
Nancy E. Black, University of Northern British Columbia
Nancy E. Black, MLS, Manager, Access and Information Services, Geoffrey R. Weller Library, University of Northern British Columbia; also affiliated with the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, University of British Columbia.
Philip G. Clark, University of Northern British Columbia
Philip G. Clark, MEd, Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education, University of Northern British Columbia.
Richard M. Gremm, University of Northern British Columbia
Richard M. Gremm, MSc, Community Health Program, University of Northern British Columbia.
Lucy W. Karanja, University of Northern British Columbia
Lucy W. Karanja, MEd, Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education, University of Northern British Columbia; also affiliated with Education Studies, University of Western Ontario.
Miss Mieke, University of Northern British Columbia
Miss Mieke, MEd, Counselling, School of Education, University of Northern British Columbia.
Loriann Quinlan, University of Northern British Columbia
Loriann Quinlan, MSc, Psychology Program, University of Northern British Columbia.
Published
2010-01-07
Section
Articles