Public testimony is used by individuals and groups who wish to raise awareness, educate or create with the aim of social change. Testimonial Cultures explores these stories, the people who leap into the void to tell them, and their transformative potential.
Testimonial Cultures is based on the creation of an interpreting community, composed of team members and consultation with people who have publicly used testimony in various contexts. Each of the partners in Testimonial Cultures brings important experiences, reflections, and knowledge to the table about the use of testimonials as a strategy for social and cultural intervention. Areas of expertise within the partnership include:
- Analysis of mediatized discourses and messages.
- Intervention in popular education and social mobilization based on experiential and collective knowledge.
- Development and evaluation of educational strategies for schools based on the use of testimonials.
- The creation of supportive queer community spaces.
- The conceptualization, production, and critical evaluation of our work.
- Participatory methods : collaborative work and collective interpretation.
The scientific program of Testimonial Cultures meets the principles of action research. The team seeks to better understand the experiences of people that use testimonials to speak on reality and those who accompany them. The team also researches the impacts and uses of public testimonials on the audiences reached. With these objectives, Testimonial Cultures aims to change or improve the situation.
Testimonial Cultures also aims to strengthen the capacities of marginalized communities to take action against discrimination, stigma, and other injustices they experience – this includes people living with HIV/AIDS, people who identify as LGBTQI2S+, people who have experience of sex work, people who have been in a women’s prison and people from urban marginality.
Lines of research
Different lines of research in testimonial cultures move the team. Here are some of the projects we have studied as well as those that are currently driving us :
- Democracy, inclusion and recognition
- Ethnicities, disabilities and other intersections
- Oral history and social work
- Intimacy, faith-based society and pornography
- Judicialization and epistemic injustices
- Concurrence of personal stories
- Media coverage and mediation
- Representations of sexuality
- Visibility, digital practices and ethical issues
From these projects have emerged various committees with the mandate to deepen the collaborative work around general and specific questions and set up activities :
- Oral History and Digital Storytelling Committee (2010-2014)
- Sexual and Gender Minority Testimonial Committee (2010-2016)
- Committee on the testimonials of People Living with HIV/AIDS (2010-2016)
- Committee on the testimonials of people with experience of sex work (2010-2016)
- Committee of Elders for the Témoigner pour Agir exhibition (2016-2018)
- Supervisory committee of the Témoigner pour Agir exhibition (2016-2019)
- UQAM Cohabitation and Urban Marginalities Committee (2022-…)
Ethics and respect for persons that use testimonials, especially when they come from marginalized communities or situations, constitute the framework that guides all our activities. Not everyone wants to have the same public visibility.
Respect for human dignity
A fairer social context of solidarity