In My Life: Following Young AIDS Activists Over Time

Educational research using visual methods has transformative potential, yet structural violence, poverty and other factors can inhibit the possibilities of positive life-long impacts for participants. In response, longitudinal perspectives that focus on life events through time can give researchers a better understanding of how educational work is effected as participants intersect with the communities and societies in which they live. (Mitchell 2014; Walsh 2013; Weller & Shirani 2010; Neale 2010). While these insights can be valuable into developing more effective programs, it is increasingly difficult for educational research to have the resources, or time, to conduct such long-term qualitative work.

This study addresses this gap, through a longitudinal analysis of an educational research project in which we followed participants from teenagers to adults over the past 18 years. Critically, the study explores the following questions: In what ways do experiences with educational, arts-based research around HIV prevention remain with participants over their transition to adulthood? What are the limits, and potentials, of such educational projects? How do issues of gender, class, and race intersect with interventionist education initiatives? What can we learn from taking a longitudinal approach to research on HIV education that can help improve long-term outcomes? This study draws on research started in 2002.

Soon to be released book and short film.