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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Making Stories, Writing The World: Critical Strategies for Arts-Based Practices with Los Angeles Urban Youth

  • Author(s): Delgado, Jennifer Monique
  • Advisor(s): Gere, David
  • et al.

This dissertation is an interdisciplinary analysis, utilizing oral history, ethnographic methods to interrogate three community-based arts intervention projects spanning a twenty-four year history in Los Angeles, California. Engaging with arts practice, critical film theory, critical pedagogy, empowerment theories, postcolonial theory, and third wave feminism this dissertation analyzing how these projects attempted to create significant change in response to three devastating social issues affecting urban youth (the AIDS crisis, poverty, and the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising). Analysis includes a historicization of the interventions’ designs and pedagogies, including how understanding dialectical art theories and lived experience pushed these programs to better serve their communities. The dissertation concludes with the definition of seven radical maneuvers identified across these projects that can be utilized to bolster the efficacy of arts engagement in working toward social justice. The resulting framework supports the development of critical consciousness through art process to best support urban youth in navigating their social conditions, validating their experiences as culture-makers, and creating social change through the arts.

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