"One of the most important things that we learned at this international event is that violence is not just happening in our community." Slight variations of this same statement have been made by Swedish and Indigenous young women participating in an art-making and Gender-Based Violence workshop in rural South Africa. Indigenous girls and young women from across Canada who participated in an international art-making conference (Circles Within Circles) in 2018 along with young women from Sweden, South Africa and Russia. What has been most hopeful in this work has been the ways in which the art-making itself (collage, photography and cellphilm production) has been central, but also the recognition on the part of participants of the significance of having more stakeholder support, something that became key to a 'girlfesto' produced at Circles Within Circles. What can we learn about new forms of activism and how might this work contribute to deepening an understanding of young people's leadership and engagement?
Claudia Mitchell is a James McGill Professor in the Faculty of Education, McGill University, Montreal and is an Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. She is also the Director of the McGill Institute for Human Development and Well-being and the founder of the Participatory Cultures Lab at McGill. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellow, winner of the 2016 SSHRC Gold Medal for the impact of her work with young people, and a 2019 Peter Wall Institute International Visiting Research Scholar. She has authored and co-edited numerous books related to participatory visual methodologies and is the Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning journal Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal.