PhD Research Assistant in Curating the Story Museum
Extent of work: Five - ten hours per week for 3 terms
Salary Rate: $35/hr including benefits and vacation pay
Start Date: Sept-1-2019
End Date: Aug-31-2020
Please send cover letter, writing sample, and CV to Dr. Hamer and Dr. Murnaghan at by August 22, 2019 at 5pm EST.
Children's story museums have become distinctive venues for public awareness and critical engagement with the representations and constructions of childhood; however, only limited scholarly work has focused on these sites. This proposed research examines the children's story museum as a dynamic transmedia platform for the design of participatory exhibits and critical dialogue. While many current exhibits affirm idealized childhood representations, transmedia engagements (across old and new media formats) within these spaces have significant potential for critical and subversive dialogue with ideological constructions and representations of childhoods. Framed by participatory and activist museum movements, towards 'queering the museum' and 'decolonizing the museum', this proposed project will focus on the negotiation of youth citizenship through emerging technologies in these spaces. From this perspective, we query how current children's museum exhibits focused on childhood texts and cultures present opportunities to negotiate, subvert, and/or reaffirm cultural discourses of childhood, nationalism, gender, race, sexuality, and ability.
The proposed research aims to harness the potential of transmedia storytelling with the invitation for critical dialogue with childhood discourses across media. While museum education has employed interactive media for visitor engagement, the inclusion of digital storytelling and transmedia practices for critical dialogue and intervention is relatively new. Drawing upon theoretical and methodological frames from museum studies and the field of children's media cultures, this project invites children to engage as collaborative curators in the transmedia design of a pilot story museum exhibit rooted in local rare books and archival collections including the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books, Ryerson University's Children's Literature Archive, Toronto, and Ontario Archives, alongside the child participants' own stories and imagined narratives.
This research is one of the few extensive investigations into children's literature exhibits internationally from a cultural and media studies perspective. The proposed collaborative element of the project with young people as co-curators will expand upon existing work in the field, provide a venue for future partnerships, and raise awareness for children's literature collections and archives in public and university libraries for undergraduate, graduate, and emerging researchers in Canada. Focused on children as active collaborators, this project highlights how citizenship engagement may be mobilized through the use of emerging technologies in museum spaces.
The position may include:
-Assistance with the creation of survey materials and activities for onsite collaboration with young people
-Writing updates for website on the progress of the project
-Collaboration with the research team in the preparation of materials for submission to the Research Ethics Board
-Preparation for and attendance at national conferences
-Collaboration with research team on the progress of the project
This position may be of particular interest to graduate students in the PhD in Communication and Culture program at Ryerson/York. Any other graduate students at Ryerson or in Ontario graduate programs with relevant interests and experience will be considered.
Position supports the following priorities from the Ryerson University Academic Plan:
-Increase scholarly, research and creative (SRC) excellence, intensity and impact
-Enable greater student engagement and success through exceptional experience
-Foster an innovative ecosystem
-Expand community engagement and city building