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Fabricating future bodies: making digital sexualities research matter

Marston, Kate 2022. Fabricating future bodies: making digital sexualities research matter. Qualitative Research Journal 22 (1) , pp. 67-80. 10.1108/QRJ-01-2021-0014

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Purpose This paper critically examines the development and direction of the Fabricating Future Bodies (FFB) Workshop. Troubling notions of co-production as enacting equality or empowering participants, it draws on feminist posthuman and new materialist concepts to understand it as an eventful process that occurs in unpredictable and shifting affect-laden assemblages. Design/methodology/approach The FFB Workshop formed part of the final phase of my Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded doctoral study, titled “Exploring young people's digital sexual cultures through creative, visual and arts-based methods”. With additional support from Wales' Doctoral Training Partnership, the workshop provided sixteen young people (aged 11–13 years) from one fieldwork school with the opportunity to work with two professional artists in order to creatively re-animate research findings on the digitally networked body. In a three-hour workshop, participants produced cut-up texts and life-size body fabrics that re-imagined what bodies might do, be and become in the future. Findings This paper finds that co-productive practices cannot flatten out the institutional and societal power dynamics operating within schools, highlighting how adult intervention was necessary to hold space for young people to participate. It also observes the agency of the art materials employed in the workshop in enabling young people to articulate what mattered to them about the digitally networked body. While the workshop was limited in its ability to renegotiate institutional and peer power dynamics, it produced rich data that indicated how carefully choreographed arts-based practices offer generative possibilities for digital sexualities research and education. Originality/value By employing speculative fiction, cut-up poetry and textiles to explore the digitally networked body, this paper outlines an innovative methodological-pedagogical approach to engaging with young people's digitally networked lives.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: RMIT Publishing / Emerald
ISSN: 1443-9883
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 November 2021
Date of Acceptance: 29 June 2021
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 20:28

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