In February of 2016, Testimonial Cultures awarded two scholarships to graduate students conducting research in the area of testimonials as a social and cultural interventions. The Scholarship Evaluation Committee (Simon Corneau, Aurélie Hot and Karine Espineira) wishes to congratulate the winners!
Here are the recipients’ profiles:
PhD student in sociology, concentration in feminist studies (UQAM)
Research Project : ”Gender technologies : Drag King Workshops in France and Italy as The Micropolitical Subjectification of Transmasculine People”, under the co-supervision of Janik Bastien Charlebois and Alexandre Baril.
The Drag King (DK) workshops are collective practices where, in a “non-mixed” setting (defined differently depending on the workshop), one learns to perform a male character temporarily, through exercises and accessories allowing him/her/them to be perceived as a cisgender male in public spaces. The identification, the study and the re-enactment of masculinity codes allows participants to experiment “in the flesh” the privileges of the dominant masculinities. At the same time, they can deconstruct essentialist conceptions of gender and highlight its performative dimension. Thus, these workshops contribute to the denaturalization of the heteronormative sex-gender system, because DK explores how social norms of masculinity and, a fortiori, femininity are assimilated and incorporated. The workshops also affect cisgenderism in that they reveal how, from the assignment of gender at birth, bodies are fabricated as “male” and “female” on a daily basis, through the constant intervention of social institutions who construct “gendered” bodies. Through an (auto)ethnographic approach of DK workshops in France and Italy, I will document the potential for subjectivation of these spaces on transmasculine people, as well as the possibility of producing non-hegemonic masculinities. These new forms of masculinities can play an important role in queer and feminist movements, as well as in anti-oppressive practices on a daily basis. In fact, DK can be a subjectivation tool for people who self-identify on the spectrum of transmaculinities. These participants can use DK as a “technology of gender” to construct their masculinity differently, to distance themselves from dominant masculinities and the privileges associated with them.
PhD student in études et pratiques des arts (UQAM)
Research Project: ”Exploring My Intimate Stories of HIV: An autoethnographic study of identity and art making”, under the co-supervision of Maria Nengeh Mensah and Micheal Blum.
My research-creation project is centered on my life and my newly disclosed stereological status as HIV positive. This life shift also marks a turn in my creative practice toward the making art expressly concerned with HIV, while using storytelling and testimonial as my creative core. As a means to study my own identity, as someone with HIV, I will draw on the use of testimonial through an autoethnographic study of my life with HIV through my stories of risk and pleasure. My conceptual framework is based on the idea that as an artist I am a queer storyteller. This concept has three components: identity and positionality, symbolic interactionism, and a sociology of stories. With my method of analytical autoethnography, as a form of self-reflection and writing, I am exploring my personal experience, or autobiographical story, to access wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings. My creative methodologies will rely on that autoethnography to nourish the use of the traditional craft material of glass, to produce stained glass neon work, with the sculptural use of sound, to produce a sound object, which will convey my narratives and their political and social meanings. By means of the gathering of my stories, and the discovery of my own symbols and signs, I will produce an exhibition that articulates my thoughts on sex and marginality, risk and pleasure, as a person living with HIV.