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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"Building Peace" through quiltmaking : the role of participatory artistic quiltmaking in supporting peacebuilding among grade 4-7 youth Verwoord, Roselynn Eileen Marie


This thesis explored how participatory artistic quiltmaking contributed to peacebuilding as defined by Bickmore (2004) among grade 4, 5, 6, and 7 students in one classroom at an inner-city elementary school in Vancouver, BC. Using Bickmore’s (2004) frame, the following questions were explored: 1. What makes participatory artistic quiltmaking an effective vehicle for grade 4, 5, 6, and 7 students to engage in peacebuilding? 2. How are peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peacebuilding evident in the experiences, processes, and interactions among the participants involved in the project? 3. How does Bickmore’s frame provide an adequate theorization for understanding the experiences and processes among the participants involved in the project? 4. How does the data gathered in this project challenge and extend Bickmore’s frame? This study was composed of three parts: (1) ethnographic observations to understand issues in the school from a social justice perspective; (2) participatory artistic quiltmaking on the theme of inclusion and exclusion with one class of participants including students, the classroom teacher, educational assistant, volunteer quiltmaker, and me; (3) interviews with participants and parents. Analysis of the data revealed several themes. The artistic component of the quiltmaking process contributed to three outcomes: (1) the fostering of individuality and collectivity among participants; (2) the fostering of self expression; and (3) the fostering of creativity. The participatory component contributed to three outcomes: (1) the fostering of group development; (2) the fostering of a sense of inclusion; and (3) the connecting of personal experiences and stories to the theme of inclusion and exclusion. The quiltmaking process contributed to three outcomes: (1) it promoted a shift in perspective about others, which fostered new and deeper relationships; (2) it fostered confidence and pride; and (3) it fostered a sense of hope and hope for peace while sending a larger message or statement. These outcomes demonstrate peacemaking and peacebuilding, as defined by Bickmore. The findings from this study have implications for administrators involved in curriculum development, particularly in peace education; teachers involved in supporting social justice; policy makers involved in developing school policies; and individuals who conduct community-based participatory research in school-based settings with youth.

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