Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Amy Stornaiuolo


This study followed 15 secondary students as they moved across multiple spaces of an unfolding writing program: a journalism summer writing camp; an educational online community for youth centered on social justice; and school year, drop-in writing workshop sessions. Aiming to understand how adolescent writers shifted participation and writing across these spaces, their perspectives are centered, in line with methodological and epistemological framing in YPAR and theoretical framings focused on movement in relation to power asymmetries: transliteracies and critical literacies. Program spaces were liminal and framed as “Third Spaces.” Data collection was both individual and collaborative with youth and included field notes, surveys, discussions, multimodal artifacts, and interviews. Data analysis involved early collaboration with youth and open, in-vivo coding and narrative analysis. One findings set unpacks liminality as intentional aspects of writing space construction and co-construction characterized by multiplicities in genres, modes, and adult-youth relationships. A second findings set attends to tensions between youth and adult participants (including me) within our spaces, positioning tensions as generative sources of transformation when directly discussed with youth. A third findings set examines interplays between journalism as a shifting genre and our liminal spaces, describing convergences between “citizen journalism” and youth journalistic engagement as personal and social, specifically as creative, narrative, and activist. Collective implications point to the importance of surfacing metacommunicative awareness in writing teaching, learning, and research and suggest participatory ethnography and participatory narrative analysis as future directions for engaging in participatory work with youth that allows choices and practices to emerge.

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