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ERIC Number: ED508576
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 58
Artistic Production Processes as Venues for Positive Youth Development. WCER Working Paper No. 2010-2
Halverson, Erica
Wisconsin Center for Education Research (NJ1)
Educators must consider how learning environments can structure experiences to produce desired learning outcomes. In this paper, the author describes one type of learning environment where youth have the opportunity to construct adaptive, emergent identities--a "dramaturgical" process that structures the telling, adapting, and performing of personal narratives (Halverson, 2007, 2008; Wiley & Feiner, 2001). Using her own research on the dramaturgical process over the past 7 years, as well as other empirical studies documenting this type of work, the author argues that the dramaturgical process is a powerful learning environment for understanding positive youth development. She begins by reviewing the literature on the positive youth development movement in youth-based organizations, and specifically the role "identity" plays as a construct in this movement. She then describes how the practices of arts-based youth organizations can be analyzed in terms of four key elements of positive youth development models: (1) Positive development in art making involves a "dramaturgical process"--the telling, adapting, and performing of narratives of personal experience; (2) Participating in the dramaturgical process facilitates youth in "exploring possible selves"; (3) Participating youth often engage in "detypification", a mechanism for affiliating with a traditionally stigmatized identity in a positive way; and (4) Participating in the dramaturgical process can support both individualistic and collectivistic conceptions of identity. The choice of orientation shapes the way youth work to create autobiographical art. The author concludes by discussing why making art, particularly autobiographical art, provides a viable learning environment for the positive development of adolescents. (Contains 1 footnote.) [Funding for this report was provided by the MacArthur Foundation.]
Wisconsin Center for Education Research. School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1025 West Johnson Street Suite 785, Madison, WI 53706. Tel: 608-263-4200; Fax: 608-263-6448; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Center for Education Research
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota; New York