Geography of hanging-out - integrating personal geographies to teaching
Last modified: 2011-02-14
This presentation is based on my dissertation work, which sheds light to teenage girls' hanging-out practices in urban public space and the effects of the regulation and commercialization of youth leisure environments. I will conduct my field studies in Helsinki and San Francisco. My aim is to introduce new ways to integrate personal urban geographies with education and to encourage young people to critically reflect on their citizenship and position in society. Young people are affected by the surrounding world more than ever before, but neither have the reference points for collective identification been so unstable. It is thus crucial to develop our teaching practice to include more exploration to urban environments. Young people can then become skilled and competent subjects in their home cities. My methodology draws from participatory research epistemology. Young people are treated as active producers of knowledge and research is conducted with them, rather than on them. As a part of their geography studies, the participants will map their hangout places (with GIS). They will then collaboratively produce a participatory diagram of their views about their hanging-out, after which the diagram will be "interviewed". The girls will be also asked to take photographs of urban spaces that are of special importance for them and collect these as photo-diaries of one week. The photos are later used to stimulate interview talk (photo-elicitation). We will evaluate the methods and outcomes of the project together. This will be followed by presenting their work at school and possibly by collecting the photo-diaries together as an art exhibition.