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(Re)Generating Queer Curriculum: Fostering Epistemic Agency Through LGBTQ+ Intergenerational Artmaking

Molly Fulop
Completed for a Masters of Art in Art Education 2023
As part of Molly’s thesis project, they presented at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Masters of Art in Art Education (MAAE) 2023 Symposium and facilitated a panel discussion with four Dialogue Project members who participated in the research. This video is part of the panel discussion. Seated from left to right are Danie (she/her), Lonnie (he/him), Saida (she/her), Katia (she/they), and Molly (they/she).
Research summary: The goal of this thesis project was to explore the potential for an LGBTQ+ intergenerational collaborative arts-based curriculum to foster epistemic agency in 32 LGBTQ+ students and older adults. Within epistemology, epistemic agency describes minoritized individuals’ ability to see themselves and other community members as agents who can access, learn from, and be affirmed in the value of their own and each other’s lived experiences. Within education theory, epistemic agency describes individuals’ ability to self-direct their learning processes and bolster their capacity for knowledge creation. In this study, I suggested an equivalency between these understandings within the context of LGBTQ+ epistemic agency and proposed intergenerational collaborative artmaking as a possible method. I tested the viability of this method by co-creating, activating, and evaluating an LGBTQ+ intergenerational arts-based curriculum in partnership with The LGBTQ+ Intergenerational Dialogue Project. This three-part study spanned three semesters and included a week-long public art exhibition featuring participants’ artworks. Data collection involved two sets of interviews conducted at the curriculum’s mid- and endpoints. The resulting 50 interviews produced a majority of responses indicating that engaging in LGBTQ+ intergenerational collaborative artmaking increased participants’ feelings of epistemic agency. This increase was primarily demonstrated by participants’ use of language communicating greater confidence and recognition of the value of their knowledge as it was created, shared, and expressed through their artworks. These responses illustrated the positive impacts the curriculum and public exhibition had on participants, with a majority citing the exhibition’s reception as a catalyst for their heightened feelings of epistemic agency. These findings place new emphasis on the importance of sharing-out one’s work in the process of fostering epistemic agency and forward intergenerational collaborative artmaking as a viable method for further research on LGBTQ+ epistemic agency.