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Connecting Experiences Across Communities

As part of a plan to create a Tradeswomen Archives, labor studies faculty from California State University, Dominguez Hills collaborated with experienced tradeswomen and Mentoring Youth Through Empowerment (MYTE) a youth group that meets at the Center in Long Beach, a lesbian and gay organization. As part of this project, the faculty and the group’s coordinator developed a plan that would be of interest to the youth and help build the archives. Eight tradeswomen would share their stories and photos in a particularly animated way by addressing the MYTE members, who would find the challenges tradeswomen face useful for their own journeys.

Together, the group’s coordinator, MYTE mentors, an oral historian, and the CSUDH faculty research project director designed questions to be used during the interviews. MYTE members conducted the interviews using the interview schedule as a base, and operated the video cameras. After each of the monthly interviews, participants read selected quotations from the transcripts, and fashioned the tradeswomen’s photos together to create a message in collage. A graphic designer helped to transform the quotations and images into a unique poster for each tradeswoman.

The resulting posters will be exhibited in several venues, and the project will also be the basis of a paper for a Visual Sociology conference. Three groups of people, tradeswomen, academics, and youth-club members, collaborated to create a unique set of messages. A key lesson learned was the importance of intergroup information sharing during all phases of the project.

Vivian Price, Labor Studies
California State University, Dominguez Hills

Rikka Racelis, The Center, Long Beach
Laura Talamante, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Key words: women, youth development, GLBT, Southern California, Long Beach

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Last Updated: May 06, 2016