International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 12 Number 4

July 8, 2011

Portraiture as Pedagogy: Learning Research through the Exploration of Context and Methodology

Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández
University of Toronto, Canada

Katie Cairns
University of Toronto, Canada

Yuko Kawashima
University of Toronto, Canada

Lydia Menna
University of Toronto, Canada

Elena VanderDussen
University of Toronto, Canada

Citation: Gaztambide-Fernández, R., Cairns, K., Kawashima, Y., Menna, L. & VanderDussen, E. (2011). Portraiture as pedagogy: Learning research through the exploration of context and methodology. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 12(4). Retrieved [date] from
In this reflective essay, five members of a research team involving graduate students and a faculty member offer individual "studies" of specific moments in the field in which lessons about methodology, the research context, and the researcher herself/himself crystallized. The article highlights the pedagogical possibilities of portraiture for introducing graduate students to qualitative research methodology. Each "study" illuminates how different kinds of boundaries are negotiated: whether it is the boundaries of access to a research site; the boundaries of personal or professional recognition; the boundaries of the body and physical space; the boundaries of racial identification; or the boundaries of the interior and exterior selves. These are not lessons that can be taught/learned within the constraints of a classroom, whether a lecture hall or the most progressive seminar. It is in the actual experience of negotiating these boundaries that the intricacies of the research process manifest, and in the process, the inquiry itself grows and moves through the necessary explorations that are the heart of qualitative research.

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