UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Collective memoir as public pedagogy : a study of narrative, writing, and memory Robson, Claire Elizabeth


This dissertation investigates the ways in which literary practices can be used to generate learning. It is guided by the following research questions: • How can the processes of writing memoir change our perceptions of the past? • How can these writing processes be theorized and understood as educational events? Data are provided by two research groups, one composed of seven older lesbians and one composed of 26 older LGBT individuals known as the Queer Imaging & Riting Kollective for Elders (Quirk-e), an arts-engaged community group with whom I have worked for the last five years. In the first case, practices of close reading, memoir writing, and discussion were conducted, and discussions were digitally recorded and transcribed. In the second, data are provided by the artwork produced by the members of Quirk-e and by my reflections upon my practices as their writer-in-residence. Data are also provided by my own creative compositions, which serve as interludes between the standalone papers that comprise the body of the dissertation. Data are analyzed through critical and literary interpretations, autobiographical and narrative methods, and conceptual inquiry. I conclude that unpacking memories and life experiences by writing memoir can lead to more nuanced understandings of the self and the culture in which it has developed. I also conclude that such learning can be assisted by paying close attention to specific memories, using processes of association, and then by considering the emergent genres and structures that frame the work as it is revised. Finally, I consider my practices as a public pedagogue in the light of these reflections, to begin to consider how teaching might be usefully considered as a form of artistic composition, with its own emergent genres.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International