In this paper, I invite you into some considerations of what autoethnography might do in research, what it might teach us as researchers. In doing so, I return to an autoethnographic study I engaged in a few years ago which was contoured through the question: How do teachers experience student voice pedagogies? In that study, I experienced autoethnography as a creative methodology that allowed me to go back to two experiences I had with youth, or student voice projects. The paper embodies a return to the autoethnographic study of my doctoral research, which itself was a return to the previously experienced student voice projects; a return that is being propelled by my new position as a professor, supervising students in the mappings of their research landscapes. Returning, thus, becomes a central motif that invites dwelling in the simultaneity of pastpresentfuture – wherein the present is the folding in of the past and the future through attuning to embodied ways of knowing, sensing, being, and doing -- disrupting colonial epistemological legacies of progress and linearity found in conventional and taken-for-granted research practices. I ask, what does it mean to go back, in efforts oriented towards a future (such as social justice)? What might it mean to conceptualize time differently within our research, teaching, and learning? I argue that autoethnography, when engaged through an active nomadism, opens space for learning about our research practices, ourselves as researchers and pedagogues, as well as deeper understandings of our research topics.


Autoethnography, Student Voice Pedagogies, Social Justice

Author Bio(s)

Mairi McDermott, PhD, is an assistant professor and Chair of Curriculum and Learning at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. Her interdisciplinary work overarchingly engages the ways in which discourses, structures, institutions shape experiences and imagined identities in teaching and learning. Importantly, in tracing those processes, her work tends to the affective attachments we have to prescribed and over-populated identity possibilities, as well as the effects of disrupting those identities. Please direct correspondence to mairi.mcdermott@ucalgary.ca.

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