A key focus of the Networks for Change and Wellbeing project is to produce a range of documents to capture and disseminate knowledge produced from the partnership work being undertaken. These include articles, briefing papers, tool kits, book chapters and books.

Publications List

Mitchell, C., & Rentschler, C. (Eds.). (2016). Girlhood and the Politics of Place. New York: Berghahn Press. web

Examining context-specific conditions in which girls live, learn, work, play, and organize deepens the understanding of place-making practices of girls and young women worldwide. Focusing on place across health, literary and historical studies, art history, communications, media studies, sociology, and education allows for investigations of how girlhood is positioned in relation to interdisciplinary and transnational research methodologies, media environments, geographic locations, history, and social spaces. This book offers a comprehensive reading on how girlhood scholars construct and deploy research frameworks that directly engage girls in the research process.

Girls Leading Change. (2016). 14 Times a Woman: Indigenous Stories from the Heart. Port Elizabeth: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

This collection of autobiographical stories were written by young women – all from rural areas of Eastern Cape of South Africa – enrolled in the Faculty of Education of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University: Sonwabe April, Sandisiwe Gaiza, Zethu Jiyana, Melissa Lufele, Bongiwe Maome, Bongiwe Mhambi, Lelethu Mlobeli, Asisipho Mntonga, Takatso Mohlomi, Wandiswa Momoza, Happy Mthethwa, Elethu Ntsethe, Zikhona Tshiwula, and Thina Kamnqa. Their stories are reflections on the most important events and experiences that have made them who they are today.


Mitchell, C, De Lange, N. & Moletsane, R. (under contract) Participatory Visual Methodologies: Social Change through Community and Policy Dialogue. Sage.

De Finney, S. (2016). Under the Shadow of Empire: Indigenous Girls’ Presencing as Decolonizing Force. In C. Mitchell and C. Rentschler (eds.), Girlhood and the Politics of Place. (pp. 19-37). web 

This chapter calls for a reconceptualization of Indigenous girlhoods as they are shaped under a western neocolonial state and in the midst of overlapping forms of colonial violence targeting Indigenous girls. By disrupting the persistent construction of Indigenous girl bodies as insignificant and dispensable, de Finney explores alternative conceptualizations of trauma, place, and girlhood that might enact a more critical, politicized girlhood studies. She links this analysis to Leanne Simpson’s (2011) notion of “presence” as a form of decolonizing resurgence. Drawing from participatory research studies and community-change projects conducted with and by Indigenous girls between the ages of 12 and 19 years in western British Columbia, Canada, girls’ everyday processes of resurgence and presencing are highlighted in the hope of expanding understandings of their cumulative effects as decolonizing forces. 

Mitchell, C., De Lange, N., & Nguyen, X.T. (2016). Visual ethics with and through the body: The participation of girls with disabilities in Vietnam in a photovoice project. In H. Cahill, J. Coffey & S. Budgeon (Eds.), Learning bodies: The body in youth and childhood studies (pp. 241-257). Dubai, UAE: Springer-Verlag Singapore. web

This chapter comes out of a two year study in Vietnam with a group of girls with disabilities. It focuses on the ways in which the use of the well-known visual tool of photovoice in a project where issues of embodiment are already critical, can contribute to re-framing the idea of a body politic in participatory visual research. For example, how can work with girls with disabilities inform such typical ethical issues in visual research as ‘a no faces approach’ in the context of anonymity? Why no ‘faces’ (vs no hands or no feet) and where does the anonymity of the body reside? At the same time, what are the ethical dimensions of the use of the visual in a study associated with a population that has typically been ‘hidden from view’? What are the rights of the ‘learning bodies’ of the girls with disabilities to be seen and heard? In drawing on work in the area of Critical Disability Studies, Girlhood Studies and Participatory Visual Research, the chapter has key implications for research ethics boards and raises critical issues of human rights. Critically it asks the question: what is the place of our own researcher reflexivity in relation to ‘learning bodies’, advocacy and research ethics?

Mitchell, C. (2015). Girls’ Texts, Visual Culture, and Shifting the Boundaries of Knowledge in Social Justice Research. In C. Bradford and M. Reimer (eds.), Girls, Texts, Cultures. (pp 139-160). Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier University Press. web

This chapter takes up the critical role of the visual in deepening an understanding of the experiences of girls and young women, as well as the political project of addressing the invisibility of girls across a broad range of sectors. For close to two decades Mitchell has been studying various aspects of girls’ lives, including barriers to their education, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and in the context of such critical issues as poverty and gender-based violence; the significance of girls’ voices and their participation more generally in informing policy about their own lives; and girls’ popular culture, including digital media. Increasingly, she has found that working with girls through their photographs, drawings, and video productions has contributed to what can be described as a “shifting” of the “boundaries of knowledge” (see Marcus and Hofmaener). In this chapter she highlights some of the ways that this shifting can take place, and why it needs to be an important component in also shifting the agenda for work with girls more broadly.

Moletsane, R., Mitchell, C. & Lewin, T. (2015). Gender violence, teenage pregnancy and gender equity in South Africa: Privileging the voices of women and girls through participatory visual methods. In J. Parkes (ed.), Gender violence in Poverty Contexts. (pp.183-196). London, UK: Routledge. web

This chapter reflects on two ‘epidemics’ – gender violence and teenage pregnancy in South Africa – and asks why, despite the impressive rhetoric of change in the country’s educational and gender policies, children continue to experience the negative effects of gender inequality in the country.

Lindquist, K., Wuttunee, K., & Flicker, S. (2016). Speaking Our Truths, Building Our Strengths: Shaping Indigenous Girlhood Studies. Girlhood Studies, 9(2), 3-9. web

tân’si and welcome to this Special Section of Girlhood Studies on Indigenous Girls in which we present work written or created by and/or about the lives of young Indigenous women and girls across Turtle Island (as North America is known to many Anishinaabe/Ojibwe people), and from Mexico and South Africa. As guest editors, we are delighted to share this culmination of a very long process. Although all three of us were new to the editorial role, we were excited about creating the opportunity for contributors to discuss new theoretical and methodological perspectives on the very important topic of Indigenous girlhood. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first endeavor of its kind. Right from the start, we wanted to create and honor a process that put Indigenous girls and young women at the centre of this process. This meant that things took somewhat longer than anticipated, and we truly appreciate the patience of all concerned. We thank Claudia Mitchell for this great opportunity and we would like to acknowledge that without the invaluable assistance, reassurance, cheerleading, support, and careful editorial work of Ann Smith, this issue would probably never have materialized.

Smith Lefebvre, H. (2016). Overlapping Time and Place: Early Modern England’s Girlhood Discourse and Indigenous Girlhood in the Dominion of Canada (1684-1860). Girlhood Studies, 9(2), 10-27. web

For nearly two hundred years, Indigenous girls and young women were at the heart of Canada’s fur trade. As wives to British fur traders and as daughters of these unions, they liaised with traders and tribes. Although wives and daughters were viewed initially from an Indigenous perspective they gradually lost their separate identities as traders increasingly held them up to European ideals. Simultaneously, England’s fascination with girls and girlhood fluctuated between seeing girlhood as a gendered life-stage leading to matrimony on the one hand, and girlhood as a rhetorical device unhindered by biology or chronology on the other. In my article I link these two contexts so as to interpret Pauline Johnson’s essay, A Strong Race Opinion. Her essay criticizes contemporaneous Anglo-Canadian authors for depicting Indian heroines in an artificial light rather than as flesh-and-blood girls. My interpretation considers girlhood from an Indigenous perspective as a unique, distinct, and natural identity.

Ngcobo, N. (2015). Their Journey to Triumphant Activism: 14 Young Women Speak Out. Girlhood Studies, 9(2), 101-106. web

BOOK REVIEW of Gaiza, S., Jiyana, Z., Lufele, M., Mabhengu, Z., Maome, B., Mhambi, B., Mlobeli, L., Mntonga, A., Mohlomi, T., Momoza, W., Mthethwa, H., Ntsethe, E., Tshiwula, Z., and Kamnqa, T. (2016). 14 Times a Woman: Indigenous Stories from the Heart. Port Elizabeth, South Africa: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

De Lange, N., Mitchell, C., & Moletsane, R. (2015). Girl-led strategies to address campus safety: Creating action briefs for dialogue with policy makers. Agenda29(3), 118-127. web

In exploring gender activism with girls and young women in South Africa, the authors take up, in this visual essay, the activism practices and strategies of a group of 14 young women with whom they have been working in the Girls Leading Change Project. This project is aimed at addressing sexual violence on campus, which in the context of gender-based violence in South Africa, requires urgent, but also continuous, attention. Although this is a project at a university in South Africa, sexual violence and rape culture on university and college campuses is a worldwide concern (Phipps and Smith, 2012).

De Lange, N. Moletsane, Mitchell, C. (2015). Seeing how it works: A visual essay about critical and transformative research in education. Perspectives in Education, 33(4), 151-176.

As visual researchers in the field of education the authors have initiated and completed numerous participatory projects using qualitative visual methods such as drawing, collage, photovoice, and participatory video, along with organising screenings and creating exhibitions, action briefs, and policy posters. Locating this work within a critical paradigm, they have used these methods with participants to explore issues relating to HIV and AIDS and to gender-based violence in rural contexts. With technology, social media, and digital communication network connections becoming more accessible, the possibilities of using visual participatory methods in educational research have been extended. However, the value of visual participatory research in contributing to social change is often unrecognised. While the power of numbers and words in persuasive and informative change is well accepted within the community of educational researchers, the power of the visual itself is often overlooked. In this visual essay, the authors use the visual as a way to shift thinking about what it means to do educational research that is transformative in and of itself. As an example they draw on their visual participatory work with 15 first-year women university students in the Girls Leading Change project to explore and address sexual violence at a South African university. They aim to illustrate, literally, the possibilities of using the visual, not only as a mode of inquiry, but also of representation and communication in education and social science scholarship.

Hart, L., & Mitchell, C. (2015). Re-imagining mobile and social media technologies in the context of violence in rural South Africa: From spaces of gender-based violence to sites of networked resistance. Perspectives in Education, 33(4), 135-150.

To date, much of the work on mobile and social media in the context of sexual violence has focused on its threats and harmful effects, particularly in relation to cyber-bullying and other forms of online harassment. But what if we think of such technologies as technologies of non-violence? In this article we make a case for exploring this work in rural South Africa, where, in spite of some challenges of access, the availability of technology is increasing the number of possible ways of addressing sexual violence. Building on what we offer as a primer of technologies currently available, Hart and Mitchell consider the implications of this work for researchers (especially those in education), interested in how technology can help to address sexual violence. 

Mitchell, C., & De Lange, N. (2015). Interventions that address sexual violence against girls and young women: Mapping the issues. Agenda29(3), 3-12. web

This issue of Agenda takes forward many of the concerns raised in the Gender-based Violence ‘Trilogy’ (Domestic Violence, Agenda, 19 (66); Trafficking, Agenda, 20 (70); Rape, Agenda 21 (74)) and a recent issue on Girlhood in Southern Africa (Agenda, 23 (79)) in order to consider how we might re-imagine ways of addressing the extreme levels of violence that girls and young women in the Global South encounter on the streets, in families, in institutions such as schools and universities, in the workplace, and in communities. 

Lindquist, K., Wuttunee, K., and Flicker, S. (Eds.). (2016). Special Section: Indigenous Girls. Girlhood Studies, 9(2). web

This issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal contains a Special Section on Indigenous Girlhoods as a critical  area of scholarship and activism in girlhood studies.  Recognizing the need for decolonizing perspectives and approaches, the guest editors, Kirsten Lindquist, Kari-dawn Wuttunee and Sarah Flicker offer a boundary breaking collection. Alongside the fact that it is one of the first collections on Indigenous girlhoods, the Special Section is unique in several other ways. First of all, it is guest edited by an editorial team that includes two Indigenous young women, Kirsten and Kari-dawn, both members of the National Indigenous Young Women’s Council (NIYWC) and as such draws on the strength of an organization of Indigenous young women. It also highlights the significance of community alliances as represented by the contributions of Sarah who has been working with Indigenous young people in Canada for more than a decade. The collection includes submissions on Indigenous girlhoods in Canada, South Africa and Mexico, acknowledging solidarity amongst indigenous peoples globally, as recognized for example in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Finally, it is boundary breaking in that it brings together different genres of writing and other creative productions — personal essays and reviews, poetry and visual art – and in so doing supports the idea in both theory and practice of decolonizing knowledge.

Sommer, M. & Mitchell, C. (2016). Participatory Visual Methodologies in Global Public Health. Global Public Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice, 11(5-6). web

This Special Issue of Global Public Health focuses on the use of participatory visual methodologies such as photovoice, participatory video (including cellphilming or the use of cell phones to make videos), drawing and mapping in public health research. These approaches are, in a sense, modes of inquiry that can engage participants and communities, eliciting evidence about their own health and well-being. At the same time, they are also modes of representation and modes of production in the co-creation of knowledge, as well as modes of dissemination in relation to knowledge translation and mobilisation. Thus, the production by a group of girls or young women of a set of photos or videos from their own visual perspective can offer new evidence on how, for example, they see sexual violence. Unlike other data such as that collected through surveys or even conventional interviews, the images they have produced not only inform the empirical evidence, but also do not need to remain in a laboratory or the office of a researcher. They can, through exhibitions and screenings, reach various audiences: school or health personnel, parents and community members, and perhaps also policy-makers.

De Lange, N., Mitchell, C, & Moletsane, R. (Eds.). (2015). Critical Perspectives on Digital Spaces in Educational Research. Perspectives in Education, 33(4). web

This Special Issue focuses on the possibilities and challenges that new media technology is bringing to researchers to engage teachers, learners, community members, departments of education, and governments in educational research. The fundamental question asked in the issue is this: “How can the digital spaces afforded by new media technology and social media be used to address issues in educational research?” The issue seeks to facilitate dialogue among researchers who explore digital spaces so as to gain deeper and more critical insight into the possibilities of taking up research in such spaces. It looks at how digital spaces afforded by new media technology and social media contribute to addressing issues in education. The exploration of ways in which researchers are using portable digital devices such as cellular phones, iPads, digital cameras and so on, in their work is carried out along a consideration of how these technologies, in turn, address issues of educational access and success in resource-poor settings in particular. It examines the possibilities and challenges of visual methodologies, including ethical challenges, in addressing issues in education in digital spaces and looks at the implications of exploring digital spaces in policy development in the context of education, and at the potential of digital spaces to reveal gender-, class-, place-, and race-based inequities and inequalities and how educational research focused on digital spaces might address these inequities.

Mitchell, C., & De Lange, N. (Eds.). (2015). Interventions to address sexual violence: Transforming violent cultures for and with girls and young women. Agenda29(3). web

This issue of Agenda is the result of collaboration in an international interdisciplinary research project involving South Africa and Canada which has the objective of building a platform for girls’ voices to be heard in ending gender violence. The ‘Networks for Change and Well-being: Girl-led ‘from the ground up’ policy making in addressing Sexual Violence in Canada and South Africa’, involving researchers and community partners in both countries, is a six-year programme. The participatory approaches that are at the heart of this work involve girls and young women themselves, and the idea of ‘from the ground up’ policy making provide an inspiring direction to work along new pathways to address gender violence.


Arts-based approaches to Indigenous research. (2017). Agenda.

Mandrona, A. (Ed.) (forthcoming) Ethical practice and the study of girlhood. Girlhood Studies, 9(3).

Hart, L. (Ed.) (forthcoming) Technologies of Non-Violence: Re-Imagining Mobile and Social Media Practices in the Lives of Girls and Young Women. Girlhood Studies.

Girls Leading Change. (2016). Taking action: Youth voices on turning the tide on the spread of HIV. International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV and AIDS. Durban, South Africa. 16-17 July.

Girls Leading Change (2016). Women and Girls: leaders, activists and champions in the HIV Response. International Indigenous Pre-Conference on HIV & AIDS. Durban, South Africa. 16-17 July.

Girls Leading Change. (2016). Reading of 14 Times a Woman: Indigenous Stories form the Heart. International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV and AIDS. Durban, South Africa. 16-17 July.

Larkin, R. (2016). Grassroots experiences in HIV Advocacy and Healing. Panel. International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV and AIDS. Durban, South Africa. 16-17 July.

Larkin, R. and Ngidi, N. (2016). Youth Voices from the Group up: Solidarity, Strength and Resilience. Panel. International Indigenous Pre-Conference on HIV & AIDS. Durban, South Africa. 16-17 July.

Moletsane, R. (2016). Persisting Barriers to HIV Prevention Among Young Women in Rural South Africa. Keynote. International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV and AIDS. Durban, South Africa. 16-17 July.

Mitchell, C. (2015). Social activism and the public voice of girls and young women. Keynote. University of Mid-Sweden. Sundsvall, Sweden.

Mitchell, C., De Lange, N., Gillander-Gådin, K., Nyhlen, S., & Giritli-Nygren, K. (2015). Seeing how it works: Transnational dialogue on the use of the visual and digital media in girl-led ‘from the ground up’ policy to addressing sexual violence. Paper presented at the Sexual Violence Research Initiative Conference. Stellenbosch, South Africa. 15-17 September.

Mitchell, C. (2015). Digital literacies and social activism: The public voice of girls and young women. Keynote. Digital Literacy Centre, University of British Columbia. British Columbia, Canada. 12 August.

Moletsane, R. Mitchell, C. & Smith Lefebvre, H. (2015). Sexual violence in the context of colonial legacies in Canada and South Africa. Comparative and International Education Society conference, Washington, DC. 8-13 March.

De Lange, N. (2015). Girls Leading Change in Addressing Sexual Violence at a University in South Africa. Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Conference, Split, University of Split, Croatia. 11-14 June.

IIQM and ATLAS.ti: “Participatory Video: Taking a No Editing Required Approach” (May 19, 2016). video 

IDRC: “PhotoVoice: A tool for research and community engagement” (June 4, 2015). web

Women’s Earth Alliance and Native Youth Sexual Health Network. (2016). Violence on the Land, Violence on our Bodies: Building an Indigenous Response to Environmental Violence. pdf

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