Theses Doctoral

Becoming Tapestry: A Multimodal Ethnographic Podcast Exploring Storytelling and Belonging in a Faith-Adjacent Foster Youth Mentoring Network

Oliver, Kyle Matthew

Against the backdrop of religious disaffiliation and social fragmentation in the United States, the future of both practices and venues for American religious education is uncertain. In this study of Tapestry, a church-run foster youth mentoring network, and St. Sebastian’s Summer Camp, a predominantly Latinx church-run community day camp, I develop and document one promising pairing in response to this quandary: an adapted form of Digital Storytelling (Lambert, 2012) as a communal spiritual practice appropriate to what I call faith-adjacent spaces. Such spaces are convened by modes of activity separate from formal institutional programs and rituals but still connected to religion in meaningful, visible ways.

In this participatory multimodal ethnography, I draw on socio-spatial and narrative analytic frameworks to reveal and explore (1) organizational practices of belonging that already exist at Tapestry, (2) the function of new collaboratively designed Digital Storytelling practices at Tapestry and St. Sebastian’s, and (3) the role of my various researcher-facilitator identities in this work. I present these findings in the form of a four-part audio documentary that interweaves recordings from my ethnographic fieldwork, excerpts from the artifacts that participants and I co-created, audio engagements with academic and practitioner literature, and researcher narrative and analysis. The annotated production scripts for Becoming Tapestry comprise both the bulk of this manuscript and, together with the four podcast episodes themselves, the dissertation proper.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Thesis Advisors
Vasudevan, Lalitha M.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 15, 2022