Informed by the results of a collaborative project carried out with six secondary school students, this paper reflects on the methodological and epistemological issues related to the representation of informal learning practices. Borrowing a concept from the arts, I suggest that a representationalist logic in both schooling and educational research contexts can produce a negative space, a data site composed of practices, gestures and experiences that are rendered invisible within dominant narratives on learning. In an attempt to revisit and resignify the negative space of my fieldwork, I use Michel de Certeau’s theory on tactics in an attempt to rethink youth participation. Finally, I explore how an arts-informed approach to educational ethnography can account for learning that falls outside the realm of assessment, tracing a connection between artistic modes of knowing, research practice, and the performance of learning as gesture.
Congratulations, Dr. Fendler, for this exceptional and outstanding achievement!