Approach

Testimonial Cultures is an action research and knowledge mobilization project. From the action research perspective, identifying problems is not enough: collaborating with community groups to address them is also necessary. To this end, the research group includes both academic researchers and community partners.

Methods

Our methods include the development of an interpretive community, content and discourse analysis, and consultation with people who have given testimonials in various contexts.

As an interpretive community, project partners and other contributors play an active role in the collective interpretation of issues and research data.

The project also incorporates archival methods, interpretive methods, and approaches from the field of oral history that allow a range of activities to be undertaken:

These methods allow community members and researchers to collaborate in studying the various contexts of testimonial production and reception as well as the conditions that are required to make use of testimonials for social and cultural intervention. They also provide the occasion to work on action strategies aimed at positive change greater social inclusion for sexual and gender minorities.

Research axis and work committees

The scientific program has three main axis of research.

  • Axis I - « Visibility, digital practices and ethical issues » brings together projects studying the role that play (or can play) digital technologies in creating a more inclusive social environment for various sexual communities.
  • Axis II - « Democracy, inclusion and recognition » brings together projects examining gateways and obstacles surrounding social recognition and inclusion, as well as the strategies and methods used to create a powerful collective identity.
  • Axis III - « Intimacy, confessional society and pornographies » brings together research projects that address the testimonials' sexual content exposed by communities, such as educational and artistic messages, autopornography and the value accorded to intimacy on the Internet as in society.

Four committees meet in order to develop activities and deepen reflections on several general and specific questions.

  • Committee on the testimonial's of sexual and gender minorities
  • Committee on the testimonial's of people living with HIV/Aids
  • Committee on the testimonial's of people with sex work experience
  • Committee on Oral History and Digital Storytelling

 

Democratic governance

Testimonial Cultures is based on a democratic governance structure in which all partners have equal representation on working committees and in decision-making (via the project's general assembly). For researchers and community workers who have occasionally collaborated in the past, the project provides an opportunity to share experiences and expertise on a more regular basis and undertake projects and activities. All partners have signed a partnership agreement that they were actively involved in developing and that defines and guides collaboration by members of the research group.

Photos: Marie-Ève Gauvin