This methodological essay describes the generativity of collaborative collaging in a qualitative inquiry project with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters who serve D/deaf students within a public university. Sign language interpreting is a demanding profession requiring physical endurance, creativity, and quick mental processing to switch between spoken and sign language. Interpreters’ visual communicative culture aligns conceptually with the embodied arts-based, visual, and tactile research technique of collaging. We first introduce collaging scholarship to ground our discussion of using collaging as a method within this case study of ASL interpreters. We then provide an overview of ASL interpreter research and our case study to situate the collaging method used alongside other approaches, asking, “How was collaging a productive method for exploring interpreters’ understanding of their work experiences?” We describe the use of the method and the productivity of interpreters’ collaging for surfacing embodied experiences, fueling collaborative meaning-making, and showing rather than telling aspects of interpreters’ labor in another expressive language. We conclude by identifying the value of collaborative collaging in this case study and for other researchers, issues, and contexts.


arts-based research, collaging methods, collaborative methods, sign language interpreting

Author Bio(s)

Lucy E. Bailey is faculty in Social Foundations and Qualitative Inquiry, and the Director of Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies at Oklahoma State University. She specializes in non-positivist methodologies and diversity and equity issues in historical and contemporary perspective. She is the editor of the international journal, VS: The Journal of Educational Biography. Please direct correspondence to lucy.bailey@okstate.edu.

Taylor Woodall-Greene is an Assistant Professor of American Sign Language at Oklahoma State University in the Department of Languages and Literatures. She is an interpreter. Please direct correspondence to taylor.woodall-greene@okstate.edu.


Thank you to all the sign language interpreters who shared their insights, time, and for all the work they do for social justice.

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