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Darcy Alexandra

Darcy Alexandra

P: +353-1-4027191
Campus: Aungier Street

Research Topic: Making Voice Matters: Narrating Migration through Digital Storytelling

The question of how we do justice to experience - the methodologies scholars engage to listen to, document, reflect upon and explore the lived experiences of diverse constituents - is intimately connected to the contemporary question of what it means to be human in an increasingly changing and technologically mediated world. As an emergent scholar in migration studies and collaborative media practice, my doctoral dissertation explores the possibilities and limitations of ‘doing justice to experience' through the development of a longitudinal digital storytelling practice, the first of its kind in Ireland, and the creation of individual yet multi-mediated artefacts - the digital story. Digital stories are short narratives that combine moving and still images with the spoken word and can be used as a means to communicate across distances; analyse social issues; develop educational outreach; advocate for policy changes; build social networks and artistically express oneself in ways that underscore the vibrant and heterogeneous realities of living migration. In collaboration with the Forum on Migration and Communications (FOMACS) and their advocacy partners, this doctoral project commenced in July 2007 and unfolded over a period of three years. Participants in this study, 14 men and women overall, are positioned as the central actors/producers of their migration stories. By engaging the audiovisual medium of stories created digitally among communities of practice, my research explores how - within the context of contemporary Ireland - migrants define, make meaning and represent their own stories of migration.

Darcy began working with Central American refugees as a Spanish-English interpreter in 1987. This experience interpreting human rights testimonies led to work coordinating solidarity delegations to El Salvador and investigating environmental and human rights issues in the region from 1989 - 1998. In 1998 Darcy moved from San Salvador to Tucson, Arizona where she worked with migrant communities as an adult educator and ethnographic researcher. While participating in diverse community-based arts initiatives as a vocalist, creative writer and dancer, Darcy has become interested in multimedia narratives and storytelling as a dynamic and generative means for sharing knowledge about experiences that often require time to articulate and a ‘community of listeners' to receive. This interest led to training in multimedia narration with the Berkeley-based Center for Digital Storytelling and collaboration with the Forum on Migration and Communications (FOMACS) as their digital storytelling coordinator. Darcy moved to Dublin in June 2007.

Selected Productions and Screenings

Living in Direct Provision - 9 Stories (9x3-5min Digital Stories, Director, FOMACS Production). Screenings include: Guth Gafa Documentary Film Festival, Donegal, Ireland (2009; Irish Film Institute, Dublin (Inaugural Screening) (2009); Dundalk Institute of Technology (2010); NUI Galway (2010).

Undocumented in Ireland: Our Stories (4x3-5min Digital Stories, Director, FOMACS Production). Screenings include: University of Arizona, Department of Language, Reading and Culture (2008), Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), Inaugural Screening, Launch of 'Life in the Shadows' (2007).

Placing Voices, Voicing Places: The Monto Stories (4x3-5min Digital Stories, Director). Screenings include the Dublin City Council and University College Dublin Inaugural Launch (2009).

Nowhere Anyhow (1x3min Digital Story, Director). Screenings include: Aspen Summer Words (2010), Wales Digital Storytelling Festival (2010).

Forced Reality: Educators Discuss Sites of Practice, Interactive CD-Rom incorporating audio-visual data and conversation analysis of a discussion between community, high school and adult educators concerning communities and sites of practice, USA.

Performing Historic Memory - Pilot Ethnographic Film Project with Salvodoran Asssociation in Search of Disappeared Children (Pro Búsqueda), USA/El Salvador, 4x60mins,Director/Principal Investigator.

Selected Publications
‘San Salvador 1989,' poetry competition finalist, Many Mountains Moving Literary Journal (forthcoming).

‘Digital Storytelling as Transformative Practice: Critical Analysis and Creative Expression in the Representation of Migration in Ireland’, Journal of Media Practice 9(2).

Reyes, I., Alexandra, D., Azuara, P. (2007) 'Literacy Practices in Mexican Immigrant Homes'. In Cultura y Educación, Volume 19, Number 4, pp 463-474(12), Madrid: Fundación Infancia y Aprendizaje.
Selected Conference Papers

‘On the Borders of Listening: Visualizing Voice and Implicating Practice in Collaborative, Multimedia Ethnography,' American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, USA, November 16.

‘Thinking with and through Image and Voice: Participatory Visual Ethnography with migrants in Ireland,' Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology Colloquium, University of Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland, October 10.

‘Un retrato audio-visual del asilo: Vivencias construidas desde la imagen y la palabra,' International Oral History Association, Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 6.

‘Visualizing Voice and Contextualizing Images: Digital storytelling as collaborative inquiry,' Digital Storytelling Festival, Cardiff, Wales, 7 June.

‘Encountering "Other" Stories through Collaborative Research Practice,' Storytelling: Global Reflections on Narrative, Prague, Czech Republic, May 15.

‘Social documentary, engaged listening and embodied objects: digital storytelling with migrants in Ireland,' American Anthropological Association Meetings, Montreal, Canada, 16 - 20 November.

Invited Presenter and Co-Facilitator, Aspen Writer's Foundation Conference, The Aspen Institute, Aspen, USA, June 19 - 24.

‘Digital storytelling as inquiry interface: collaborative media ethnography with migrants in Ireland,' Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ., USA, June 16.

‘Contar desde la comunidad; digital storytelling en Irlanda,' VIII Congreso Iberoamericano de Psicodrama, 15-21 May, La Habana, Cuba.

‘Making Voice Matters: Longitudinal digital storytelling with asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland,' Listen-Create-Share: 4th International Conference on Digital Storytelling, Lillehammer, Norway, 7 February.

Panel Discussion: Representing Reality Beyond Verité: New Forms for documentary. 'Living in Direct Provision: Ethical Considerations,' Guth Gafa Documentary Film Festival, Gortahork, Donegal, Ireland, 13 June.

Panel Discussion: 'Serving Sectors - Social Applications: Case Study Dublin,' International Digital Storytelling Conference, Obidos, Portugal, June 26-27.

‘Communities of Practice and Digital Storytelling', Living Cultures - Contemporary Ethnographies of Culture Conference, Institute of Communication Studies, University of Leeds, UK. (Paper accepted and presented in absentia)

‘Narrating Migration through Digital Storytelling, Case Study: Undocumented in Ireland: Our Stories,' Migration Studies in Ireland: An Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. March 26-28.

‘Digital Storytelling as Qualitative Research Method,' Trinity Race and Ethnicity MPhil Seminar, Dublin, Ireland, 28 February.

‘The Politics and Ethics of Digital Storytelling with Undocumented Migrants in Dublin,' European Migration and Trafficking Workshop, School of Ecumenics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, 21 February.

‘Archival Forensics and Memory Poetics in Transitional Justice Projects: The Salvadoran Association in Search of Disappeared Children,' Institute for the Trans-national History of the Americas, Tepoztlán, Morelos, México, July 27-31.

‘Emergent Literacy and Language Development in Latino Children Project,' American Educational Review Association(AERA), San Francisco, USA, April 7-11.

‘The Poetics of Memory: Auto-ethnography and the Salvadoran Association in Search of Disappeared Children,' Rocky Mountain Conference on Latin American Studies, Tucson, Arizona. March 30-April 2.



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