Collaboration Americas

Life Writing Graduate Student and New Scholar Network
COLLABORATION: An SNS Roundtable Series
IABA Americas May 15-17, 2017
The launch of our Collaboration series will take place on May 16, 2017 (5-6PM) at "Lives Outside the Lines: Gender and Genre in the Americas A Symposium in Honour of Marlene Kadar" (York University, Toronto)

Panel members: Ally Day, Diana Meredith, Laura García de la Noceda Vazquez, Ricia Anne Chansky, Linda Warley, and Teresa Lenzi e Cláudia Mariza Mattos Brandão

Panel moderator: Orly Lael Netzer
Ally Day
Theorizing Collaboratively— New Directions in Feminist Crip Life Writing Research Praxis
In 2013, as part of my PhD research, I began hosting a reading group for women living with HIV, asking how women theorize themes of disability, citizenship, and medical ethics in relation to their own experience with chronic, stigmatizing illness in the United States. In 2015, I began a second stage of this project, hosting a similar reading group with AIDS Service workers. What I found in contrasting the reading reception of these two groups, in conjunction with field research conducted at Columbia University’s 2015 Narrative Medicine workshop, is the subject of my first book; Stigmatizing Narratives analyzes how the stories we tell about ourselves shapes the quality of our healthcare. To participate in your roundtable, I would like to share a bit about the process of this three-stage research praxis and how it opens up space for a transformative, collaborative feminist crip research praxis for and beyond life writing.
Diana Meredith
The Cancer Files: Embodiment in Letters and Visual Art
The Cancer Files: Embodiment in Letters and Visual Art asks how narrative inquiry and visual representations of cancer can critically bridge the gap between the medical establishment’s ownership of the illness and the person’s own experience of embodiment. Collaboration is at the heart of this work both as its multimodal approach to illness narrative collaborates inevitably with the medical people involved as well as the genres’ audiences. Letter writing and visual art imply an audience. The email blast moves beyond an audience of one to an extended audience whose responses have influenced the direction of the letters. Reaction from nurses and doctors to the visual art about cancer has also shaped the conversation as our two spheres of experience interact. This activist art in both visual and epistolary forms brought back from Sontag’s “kingdom of the sick” illuminate how living with a life threatening illness intersects with age.

Laura García de la Noceda Vazquez
Collaboratively building a supplemental textbook
As the result of my thesis project, I will be working on building a collaborative supplemental textbook in which the graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez develop a curricular unit emulating the model used in Diana Fuss and William A. Gleeson’s The Pocket Instructor: Literature: 101 Exercises for the College Discussion, including a pedagogical autoethnographic reflection on the lesson. These units present a single lesson in which the GTAs incorporate a non-canonical text into their English-language classroom for the purpose of stimulating student discussion and writing in English; a self-reflective section, or pedagogical autoethnography, will accompany the lesson and focus on GTAs own perceptions of their teaching and their observations of students’ participation through the lesson. By creating this supplemental text, I wish to create a shareable document which the current and future GTAs can have as a source of different strategies and techniques.

Ricia Anne Chansky
Collaboration As Resistance
The erasure of multiple and diverse voices from public spaces is nothing new. In recent years, many scholars have become more mindful of developing strategies for speaking with and not for others. However, the current palpable backlash against vulnerable and marginalized peoples has caused me to become more attuned to the norms of our academic communities that tend to privilege the exceptionalism of a singular voice and viewpoint over more intricate, multivoiced perspectives. This presentation considers collaboration as a starting point for teaching, research, writing, and publishing that may be understood as a method for engaging in inclusive, sociopolitical activism and resistance to entrenched systems of exclusivity. To illustrate this point, I will discuss briefly some recent collaborative projects that I have participated in and how they have pushed me to conceptualize collaboration as a resistive practice that speaks with and not for others. 

Linda Warley
Letting Go of the Words
I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with other scholars throughout my 20-year long academic career. All but two of those collaborations have been with women. The collaborations have all involved writing—co-authored journal articles, co-authored introductions, co-authored chapters in books—and some have involved editing. But editing involves writing too, more particularly, engaging with writing produced by others. What I want to discuss is the ethics of dealing with others’ words, as well as the necessity of letting go of one’s own in a co-authorship relationship. There is a practice of care involved that I believe is particularly feminist.
Teresa Lenzi e Cláudia Mariza Mattos Brandão
On Sharing Trust and Complicity
The history of our relationship goes back to 1993, when we met at the Federal University of Rio Grande (Brazil), in the far south of the country: one was a young and new university professor, the other was a young engineer returning to school as a student. In this germinal encounter, we began a partnership with very positive characteristics that propagated in time, faithful to its origin: with specific training in art, the young teacher found the support of the young engineer student: pragmatism, discipline, determination, persistence, and will. The young student engineer found the support, the complicity, and the same resolve to fly. Together we developed many activities, and for three years we worked in the photography laboratory of the University, one as a teacher, the other as an academic monitor, but almost always structured by this complementarity. Time passed: the student also became a university professor, and each continued their projects without losing contact. We remain united by the trust of identity and conceptual complicity: the spirit to work with art, art and education, and the vision of photography as a field, means, and device for achieving the goals. The relationship was maintained through dialogue, exchange of experiences, and collaboration in different activities. In these more than twenty years, although sometimes from afar, we published books, organized exhibitions, debates, lectures, participated in evaluations of student research works, collaborated in research projects and study trips. Dialogue, respect, and trust, it can be said, formed the basis of the methodology of work that unites two teachers/researchers/filmmakers.

Ally Day is an Assistant Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Toledo. Her research has primarily focused on the relationship between chronic illness, citizenship and life writing. She has published articles in The Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, The Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, Disability Studies Quarterly, and a/b Journal of Autobiography; she also has a chapter in Disabling Domesticity (Palgrave January 2017). She is currently finishing a book manuscript, Stigmatizing Narrative: Medicine, Memoir, Citizenship and Self in the Age of HIV. Since Fall 2015, she has served as co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Disability Studies Quarterly.
Diana Meredith is an independent artist, writer and critical thinker. The body is at the centre of her practice. As a person living with cancer, she is interested in challenging the dominant medical and pharmaceutical narratives of that experience. Her work is informed by second wave feminist ideas about embodiment and medical humanities. In 2013 she received an MFA from OCADU for her thesis exhibition, Age is Written on the Body, an investigation of the experience of middle age. Until her cancer diagnosis in 2015, she taught digital art at Humber College. She lives and works in Toronto.
Laura García de la Noceda Vazquez is a second-year Master’s student in the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez’s Master of Art in English Education (MAEE) program. She currently works as a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) for the Intermediate English course in the Department of English where she served as instructor of record. She is also the current Graduate Representative for the Department of English. Her focus during her graduate studies is how the use of alternative pedagogy and alternative texts in the classroom helps stimulate discussion in the classroom.

Ricia Anne Chansky is Associate Professor of literature at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. She is a Fulbright Specialist in US Studies; the coeditor of the journal, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, and of The Routledge Auto/Biography Studies Reader; and, editor of Auto/Biography across the Americas: Transnational Themes in Life Writing and Auto/Biography in the Americas: Relational Lives. She has forthcoming projects on contested national identities, feminist visual rhetorics, pedagogical autoethnographies, and Caribbean women writers.

Linda Warley is Associate Professor in the Department of English Language & Literature at the University of Waterloo. She is the co-editor of three volumes: with Candida Rifkind Canadian Graphic: Picturing Life Narratives (WLUP 2016); with Marlene Kadar and Jeanne Perreault Photographs, Histories, and Meanings (Palgrave Macmillan 2009) and with Marlene Kadar, Jeanne Perreault and Susanna Egan Tracing the Autobiographical (WLUP 2005). Her most recent work is a co-authored chapter with Eva C. Karpinski: “Entangled Memories of Expulsion and Resettlement in post-1945 Germany and Poland: Dialogue in Two Voices”

Teresa Lenzi is a director, thinker, and teacher at the Federal University of Rio Grande / RS / Brazil since 1993, ILA / Visual Arts Course - Bachelor's degree. PhD in History, theory and criticism of contemporary art by the program of Contemporary Art and Research, University of Castilla La Mancha, UCLM / Spain (2004- 07). Master in Visual Arts from / UFRGS / Brazil (1996-97), Specialist in Art Education - Qualification in Plastic Arts from / UFPEL / Brazil (1989-90). Graduated in Visual Arts from FURG (1984-86). She works in the research groups INDEVOL / Spain, Photographein / UFPel / Pelotas. She works also in the Visual Arts Course / FUREG, and in the PPG-Professional Master's Degree in History / FURG. Teresa participated in several national and international exhibitions.

Cláudia Mariza Mattos Brandão is a Professor at the Arts and Visual Arts Center – Bachelor’s degree (UFPel, RS, Brazil). PhD in Education (UFPel, 2012), and Master in Environmental Education (FURG, 2003), specialist in Arts and Physical Education in Basic Education (UFRGS, 2008), graduated in Visual Arts (FURG, 1996). She participates in the the teaching group of the PPG - Professional Master in Arts (CAPES, UDESC, UFPel). She is a researcher in the area of Photography and Imaginary theories, with emphasis on (biographical) poetic / symbolic narratives. She is the leader of PHOTOGRAPHEIN - Research and Research Center in Photography and Education (UFPel / CNPq), researcher at NEMEC - Nucleus of Studies in Memory and Culture (UPF / CNPq).
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