What’s in the Water? Exploring watery relations of female youth through art


 Presenter (s) Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, University of Western Ontario; Ashley Do Nascimento, University of Western Ontario

Paying particular attention to climate change and its intersections with water, this presentation will consider research conducted in the summer of 2018 and 2019 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Young female identified youth spent a week at a camp grappling with sophisticated feelings, emotions and intra-actions with/to water (Barad, 2007), as they explored the question “what’s in the water?”. The youth explored their relations to climate change, plastics, chemicals and garbage that were present in their daily interactions and engagements in thinking about, working with, and in being water (as “watered bodies”) (Neimanis, 2009). In considering their daily happenings with and around water, the youth created a “zine” (short for magazine) in an attempt to further untangle the complex, intertwined human and nonhuman relations that were present while participating in the camp. These interactions allow for reconsiderations of the entangled, messy, and often chaotic relationships between “…human and nonhumans, [and] social and environmental issues and concerns…” (Pacini-Ketchabaw & Blaise, 2019). Through engaging and thinking with their “zine” as the material manifestation of the youth’s experiences and moving away from anthropocentric thinking, this presentation will consider the youths insights regarding moving towards sustainable futures in light of current climate change that will creatively reconsider the future of water and our complex relationships with /to it (Taylor, 2017). This will make a contribution in the field of education as it proposes a different way of engaging methodologically with youth in relation to climate change matters.

Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw: My current research traces the common world relations of children with places, materials, and other species. In particular, I am interested in the real life-worlds that 21st-century children inherit, inhabit, and share with others – human and more-than-human; and how these life-worlds are shaped by the legacies of anthropogenic environmental damage, imperial expansion, colonial dispossession, global inequalities, and displacements. I am keenly interested in how we, as educators, can develop pedagogies that attend to children’s real world relations in the places they inhabit.
For further information about current research, courses and selected publications, visit http://www.veronicapaciniketchabaw.com/

Ashley Do Nascimento: I am currently a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario. My research focuses on the exploration of polluted waters in the Hamilton Ontario area with female youth. Thinking with climate change in the 21st century, the youth and I explore toxic waters as they relate to challenges of the local community and that extend globally through water flows.

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