Ways to create ethical spaces to enhance learning for Indigenous students: A participatory photography study

Our SoTL research was conducted at the Taylor Family Digital Library, University of Calgary, a Canadian research-intensive university. As librarians and educators, we wondered how Indigenous students perceived learning in library spaces. In collaboration with Indigenous students, our co-researchers and study participants, we redefined the research question: How can ethical spaces be created to enhance learning in a good way for Indigenous learners at the University of Calgary? Ermine (2007) defines ethical space as “a space between the Indigenous and Western thought worlds” to meet and work together to build engaging and enduring partnerships (p. 194). Using Photovoice and photo-elicitation methods, we collected students’ stories, then used NVivo software to analyze and interpret student interviews, photos, and discussions. Data illuminated the ways Indigenous students imagined ethical spaces for learning. These data align with the vision identified in the University’s Indigenous Strategy ii’ taa’poh’to’p: Ways of knowing (teaching, learning and research), ways of doing (policies, procedures and practice), ways of connecting (relationships, partnerships, connections to land and place) and ways of being (identity, inclusivity, leadership and engagement) (2017, p. 6) Addressing the conference’s theme of Context Matters, one of Felton’s SoTL principles, “grounded in context”, informed this work (2008, p. 122). A scoping review identified the global literature on library services and resources supporting Indigenous students’ learning, and the local context focused on Indigenous students’ perspectives of learning in informal spaces on our campus through participatory photography methods Our study provided Indigenous students an opportunity to explore ways of creating ethical spaces to support their learning, reflect, and contribute their knowledge. To move forward, recommendations and conclusions will serve to develop a plan for action. References Ermine, W. (2007). The ethical space of engagement. Indigenous Law Journal. 2007; 6(1):193–203. Felton, P. (2008). Principles of good practice in SoTL, Teaching and Learning Inquiry, 1(1), 121-125. https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.1.1.121 University of Calgary (2017). ii’ taa’poh’to’p, Indigenous Strategy https://www.ucalgary.ca/live-uc-ucalgary-site/sites/default/files/teams/136/Indigenous%20Strategy_Publication_digital_Sep2019.pdf
A paper presentation at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL). November 2023. Utrecht, Netherlands
Indigenous students, Ethical space, Informal learning spaces, Photovoice, Photo-elicitation