Friday, May 16, 2014

Border-Crossing Research Update in Syracuse

Open House & Research Update, Syracuse University, May 8, 2014. Short subtitles are included.

A more detailed description of the slides in the video in GoogleDoc
A more detailed description of the slides in the video in PDF
[Right-click to open document in new tab on browser] 

Sometimes, a somewhat ordinary remark dwells longer than it probably should in my mind.

"You like research, right?" Said in the context of new job duties being articulated at my workplace. 

I like doing research, just as I would likely say I like designing, painting, writing, storytelling, and several other things. My "like-ness" level for each of them, however, is slightly different and the nature of each "like-ness" is unique. The commonality among each of them is that these processes allow me to search for, express and synthesize ideas. The process is far more valuable than the outcome.

For instance, in conducting this research study among some Deaf people, I found the language to articulate some of my own struggles as a multicultural person and border-crosser. Who is the "other"? When difference is made visible, how do we handle it? Deaf people taught me to look beyond their mode of communication to see the whole person. Whether a person signs, writes notes or uses an interpreter, an individual is shaped by multiple dimensions. I may specialize in instructional design largely through my formal education and work, but I'm more than that, the sum of many things. For a long time, my Deaf friends were not aware that I was a Ph.D. student -- largely due to my inadequate signing (?) and me not wanting to talk about it when I'm away from my desk, not writing my dissertation. I simply just wanted to be me, Yin, at those intersectional spaces.

I cross intersectional spaces or borderlands (Anzaldua, 1987) everyday and my research interest centers broadly on how people learn and interact at places of change, hybridity and/or liminality (van Gennep, 1908). The above video archives an event that provided me an opportunity to give back to the community in some way by sharing what I had learned from them. The intrigue in doing research is in making connections among ideas and people and being in the intersectional space of change. Whether I write or talk about it, I find joy in sharing what I learned with people.

So yes, I like research, because I like people, ideas and learning. Most of all, to combine elements in an interesting way. The same with drawing, writing, designing, learning something new... Each activity is just another medium I've found and learned to use to express my creativity.

The pursuit of purposeful creative expression (through synthesis) that will make an impact on lives is my true love.

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