Deirdre Kelly

Professor

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Mar 2019)
Parental perceptions of an arts-integrated focus school : a case study of a public fine arts elementary school in British Columbia (2014)

In the current educational marketplace, the range of school options has made parents key players in their children's school education. Unlike previous decades, where students typically attended their neighbourhood schools, today's parents are more likely to transport their children greater distances to their school of choice. This case study tells the story of one British Columbia public elementary school that transitioned into an arts-integrated school--usually referred as a fine arts school. The arts-integrated curriculum attracted a growing number of families who resided outside of the school's catchment area. As a teacher at the school before and after its transition, I began to notice trends in students enrolling from outside of the school catchment area. Those trends included issues pertaining to behaviour, social interactions and academic challenges. Thus, my research investigates parental perceptions of arts-integrated (fine arts) focus schools. Data collected through interviews with both parents and educators detail: (a) parents' expectations and understandings of such schools, and the complex reasons why they enrol their children; and (b) the difficulties in implementing an arts-integrated curriculum. Interview data also became the impetus for the self-study which runs in tandem throughout the research chapters. The self-study speaks to my own childhood and teaching experiences: to an extent corresponding with the way in which students in dance classes are taught to negotiate self within defined and discrete spatial areas. Because the study is situated temporally in what is commonly termed a neo-liberal era, I include discussion of the wider political environment, particularly with respect to parental choice. My case study demonstrates that arts-integrated (focus) schools are accessed chiefly by middle-class families seeking advantage for their children. The study reveals that the main value of fine arts schools may be as enablers of student success in behaviour, socialization and academic terms. Finally, I argue that arts-integrated schools can also be spaces of fulfillment for parents who, through choice of school and active participation there, feel that they have played a more profound role in their child's education.

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Writing/righting truths across borders : learning from transnational peoples' journalism and politics (2014)

My dissertation explores how journalists who self-identify as “transnational” shape their journalism to make human rights claims that trouble, open up and go beyond the nation-state. The project is a multi-sited, ethnographic, comparative case study of journalism education among two different transnational peoples: Romani/Gypsy and Saami (the Indigenous peoples in the current states of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia). Drawing upon 45 interviews with journalists and journalism educators, my research suggests there are two distinct strategies in how transnational peoples’ journalism is conceived, taught and assessed. These strategies influence and are influenced by larger socio-political contexts: the Saami media work within an Indigenous rights framework; their goal is to engage with journalism as a form of self-determination. This differs from Romani media programs, which are funded by non-state donors who aim to use Romani media as a form of claiming citizenship. These citizenship claims are both within a specific state as well as within Europe. In short, the political, economic and cultural contexts shape the journalism, and the journalism in turn shapes the politics.Although the differences are significant, both transnational groups recognized the power of journalism in agenda setting within, between and across borders. Through the framing of information in particular ways, journalists, editors and the media outlets, as well as the funding sources for this journalism, were all engaged in a form of agenda setting (Carpenter, 2007; 2009) and productive power (Barnett & Duvall, 2005). My findings indicate that a unique feature of transnational peoples’ journalism is recognizing and operationalizing power beyond that of the state; another contribution is a more robust understanding of objectivity in journalism – one that demonstrates how journalists can be credible, without pretending to be neutral. These are all important contributions to reimagining human rights advocacy beyond current discussions of transnational advocacy which still often privilege the state and tends to pay scant attention to journalists themselves. Learning from transnational peoples who are creating, teaching, and participating in journalism education in its many places, forms, and media allows us to make more sound connections between human rights and journalism.

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The failure of antihomophobia education : embracing the hope of an impossible future (2013)

In recent years academic attention, educational resources and popular media have turned to the issue of homophobia in schools and the violence facing LGBT youth and those perceived to be LGBT. Consequently there has been an increase in the development of curricula and other pedagogical tools meant to address the problem of homophobia. Yet there has been very little qualitative data exploring the success of these pedagogies, or the implications and efficacy of these programs for LGBT students.This qualitative extended case study addresses this analytical gap through an examination of the media and educational discourses employed by one urban community organization in Vancouver, Canada and the youth filmmakers with whom they work. The organization, Out in Schools, takes film, much of it youth produced, into educational settings throughout British Columbia in the hopes of breaking the silence surrounding gender and sexual diversity. In addition, they run a one-week filmmaking camp for aspiring youth filmmakers. This project utilises a number of ethnographic methods including participant observation, face-to-face interviewing, and researcher fieldnote reflections. Participants include adult facilitators, teachers, and youth filmmakers. Interviews took place over a three-year period. The theoretical framework for this research is largely poststructural drawing extensively from queer and feminist theories. As part of this project’s theoretical investigation, I juxtapose the voice of queer youth and queer youth media production alongside the larger narratives of queer and neoliberal politics.Analysis revealed that the messaging of antihomophobia education has influenced and limited the ways in which Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer youth are able to articulate queer identities. This study concludes that antihomophobia education is largely a normative project, that it is wholly implicated in discourses that arise from heteronormativity, informed by liberal understandings of individualism that invariably identifies the queer victim as a way of negating responsibility. Lastly, through a synthesis of data and analysis, I investigate the future of queerness within educational discourse, and drawing upon the work of Muñoz (2009), Duggan (2002, 2009), Bruhm & Hurley (2004), Bryson and MacIntosh (2010), I advance a notion of queer futurity in educational spaces.

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Bottom-up educational leadership and policy-making through storytelling : language policy in practice at a Canadian institute (2012)

This research focuses on storytelling as bottom-up educational leadership and policy making. The researcher examines language policy in practice at a Canadian post-secondary institute, following an institutional ethnographic approach and using discourse analysis tools. Stories about everyday experiences with English language placement testing, communication course marks reassessments, plagiarism, and prior learning assessment and review (PLAR) of communication skills are collected from 9 students, 6 instructors, 5 program heads, and the researcher herself as an associate dean. The researcher’s own identity negotiation as an insider at the institute is explored through discussion of tensions around the handling of people’s stories and the role of reflexivity in shaping the research. The research links the personal to the institutional while exploring connections between everyday experiences and processes of administration and governance. Exploration of policy moments in participants’ stories uncovers a discourse of control and homogeneity where difference is constructed negatively, several language myths operate as forms of domination, and storylines suppress conflict. Exercises highlighting dilemmas that people face at the institute are presented to enable dialogic politics. It is argued that storytelling proved to be a powerful method for surfacing everyday struggles, and the sharing of stories led to a new awareness for participants. Storytelling proved to be a generative form of talking back to policy and policy making as it repositioned policy review as a bottom-up exercise and captured moments of policy as struggle and change. Dialogic exercises are presented as tools for reconstruction of language practices that are more equitable and humane.

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How school principals understand and respond to homophobia : a study of one B.C. public school district using ethnodrama (2012)

This research focuses on educational leadership and social justice in British Columbiapublic schools. Specifically, the study looks at how principals and vice-principalsunderstand and respond to homophobia in one school district. The researcher examinessix administrators’ understandings of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited,intersex, queer, and questioning (LGBTTIQQ) issues following a critical approach andusing ethnodrama to present and analyze the data. The researcher is an insider as she is aprincipal in the district being examined. The resulting tensions, confusion, and reflectivepractices all assist in the exploration of the research. The study makes connections fromthe general to the particular, from the personal to the institutional, and from the page tothe stage all the while examining and spotlighting thoughts, values, beliefs, and opinionsaround LGBTTIQQ issues in our public schools. The research uncovers a lack ofcatalytic leadership in support of social justice. Ethnodrama proves to be an imaginativeand powerful tool not only in highlighting the “truth” in the data collected but inrevealing people’s inner understandings and, sadly, lack of responses, to the needs of theLGBTTIQQ community. Not only is socially just leadership faltering, but principals arenot supported at the district and provincial levels by explicit policies, adequate postsecondaryeducation, or professional development around LGBTTIQQ issues. This research aims to make visible the invisible and help lead the way toward more socially just schools.

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Disrupting "bully" talk : progressive practices and transformative spaces for anti-violence work in schools (2009)

No abstract available.

Preparing to appear : a case study of student activism (2009)

This study is an attempt to understand how it is that high school students come toparticipate as democratic citizens in the public sphere. A great deal of time and effortgoes into providing students with the opportunity to participate in making decisions thataffect their education and their lives in schools. Student Voice is the term often used todescribe those attempts. In most cases, a small minority of students participate and mostof the decisions that students are involved in relate to planning events, fund raisingactivities or serving on Student Councils. The provincial government has attempted toprovide an opportunity for student voices to be heard through School Planning Councils.Each high school in the province is required to have a student representative on theSchool Planning Council whose mandate is to set goals for improvement in studentachievement. Students participate, usually at the request of the principal, but theirinfluence is limited. How is it then that students come to be involved in influencingdecisions that directly affect their education? This study is an attempt to find out.This is a qualitative case study of a group of high school students who becameinvolved in campaign to prevent their high school from being reconfigured into a middleschool. Their campaign spanned a period often months and included presentations to theBoard of Education, letters to the editor, protests, and appearances on radio andtelevision. As a participant observer, I kept notes of all the activities that students wereinvolved in. Through focus groups and interviews, I tried to gain a better understandingof why students decided to get involved and how they made decisions about what actionsthey wanted to take. What I learned was that the students valued their school and wanted to engage in a dialogue with trustees about what was important to them. When the trustees used the power of their position to attempt to silence the students, the students decided to take their concerns to the broader community, to participate in the public sphere. They engaged in dialogue and planned activities in private. When they were ready, they ventured into the public sphere. They were unable to influence the trustees' final decision, but they garnered a great deal of community support. They learned that communicative action generated a power of its own that made an impact on what came to be discussed in the public sphere. The findings of this research study will be useful to educators willing to support students in their attempts to be involved in the democratic process either in their classrooms, schools or the wider community. Creating private spaces for this kind of dialogue is a challenge for all of us in public education.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010-2017)
Matters of care in Alberta's "Inspiring Education" policy : a critical feminist discourse analysis (2015)

This thesis explores the discursive treatment of care and caring relationships in educational policy in the Canadian province of Alberta. The object of this exploration is Inspiring Education, an ensemble of K-12 schooling policies. Feminist ethics of care literature and the work of theorists Joan C. Tronto, Virgina Held, and Hannah Arendt inform a critical interpretation of the policy texts. Closer analysis is achieved through techniques of discourse analysis, drawing primarily from the work of Norman Fairclough. This thesis is guided by the question “How are ‘care’ and ‘caregiving’ discursively represented—or not represented—in the policy texts of Inspiring Education?”  The purpose of this project is two-fold: (1) to illuminate particular discourses within educational policy texts and to consider the impact of those discourses on care practices across our society; and (2) to consider how the discursive treatment of teachers within these texts influences the possibility of a caring teacher-student relationship. The four discourses identified each constrain the possibility of caring relationships in particular ways. The first two discourses are related to the construction of the “educated Albertan of 2030” (Alberta Education, 2010, p. 5): Personally Responsible and subject to Private-Sector Norms. The second set of discourses is related to the construction of the teacher: Neoliberal Professionalism and Teacher-as-Facilitator. The implication of these discourses is that the maintenance of caring relationships will require greater sacrifice, that it will continue to be the hardest work, done by the very people excluded from the political process of assigning care responsibility.  By not acknowledging the role of care in our society and in our school system, we risk permitting the de facto methods of assigning responsibility to remain undisrupted and unfair.

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"Building Peace" through quiltmaking : the role of participatory artistic quiltmaking in supporting peacebuilding among grade 4-7 youth (2011)

This thesis explored how participatory artistic quiltmaking contributed to peacebuilding asdefined by Bickmore (2004) among grade 4, 5, 6, and 7 students in one classroom at aninner-city elementary school in Vancouver, BC. Using Bickmore’s (2004) frame, thefollowing 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 theexperiences 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 issuesin the school from a social justice perspective; (2) participatory artistic quiltmaking on thetheme of inclusion and exclusion with one class of participants including students, theclassroom teacher, educational assistant, volunteer quiltmaker, and me; (3) interviews withparticipants and parents.Analysis of the data revealed several themes. The artistic component of the quiltmakingprocess contributed to three outcomes: (1) the fostering of individuality and collectivityamong participants; (2) the fostering of self expression; and (3) the fostering of creativity.The participatory component contributed to three outcomes: (1) the fostering of groupdevelopment; (2) the fostering of a sense of inclusion; and (3) the connecting of personalexperiences and stories to the theme of inclusion and exclusion. The quiltmaking processcontributed to three outcomes: (1) it promoted a shift in perspective about others, whichfostered new and deeper relationships; (2) it fostered confidence and pride; and (3) it fostereda sense of hope and hope for peace while sending a larger message or statement. Theseoutcomes demonstrate peacemaking and peacebuilding, as defined by Bickmore.The findings from this study have implications for administrators involved in curriculumdevelopment, particularly in peace education; teachers involved in supporting social justice; policy makers involved in developing school policies; and individuals who conductcommunity-based participatory research in school-based settings with youth.

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Educators' dilemmas : post high school transitions for students without documentation (2011)

Through an institutional ethnography in two secondary public schools in northwest Washington State, this research explores the web of social relations coordinating the lived experiences of students without legal immigration status and the educators who taught them. The U.S. Supreme Court decision, Plyler v. Doe, guarantees students’ access to a public K-12 education, regardless of immigration status. However, without a pathway to legalize their residency, unauthorized status inevitably denies these students full social membership in a polity, which excludes them from assuming paid professional careers, presents significant obstacles in pursuing higher education, and precludes their full social and political participation. Those without authorized status are unable to fully actualize the dreams, knowledge and skills developed throughout their education. Situated in this tension, I examined educators’ everyday schooling activities that prepared students for life after graduation. Educators’ daily practices groomed students to become college-bound and career-driven. To pursue these goals, my research suggests that ruling relations positioned educators to enact depoliticized discourses of meritocracy and a decontextaulized student-centered practice, as well as practices that silenced the social, political and economic contexts of students’ lives. Situated in a contradictory intersection of education and immigration policy, I argue that redressing the root cause of the injustice that students without legal status experience requires political action. This research suggests that educators dedicated to a socially just education grounded in human rights would commit to political action, express passionate and informed encouragement to their students, and acknowledge and engage status as a lived experience in their students’ lives.

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Recent Tri-Agency Grants

The following is a selection of grants for which the faculty member was principal investigator or co-investigator. Currently, the list only covers Canadian Tri-Agency grants from years 2013/14-2016/17 and excludes grants from any other agencies.

  • Conceptual mapping of reflexivity: a critical inquiry - UBC Humanities and Social Science (HSS) Research Fund - Faculty of Education HSS Seed Grant (2015/2016)
  • "Girl power": Study of adolescent decision-making and the empowerment of women - UBC Humanities and Social Science (HSS) Research Fund - Faculty of Education HSS Research Dissemination Grant (2014/2015)

Publications

Current Students & Alumni

This is a small sample of students and/or alumni that have been supervised by this researcher. It is not meant as a comprehensive list.
 
 

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