Arts-based Research

Collaborative Ethnographic Songwriting

With a rich background in professional songwriting, performance, education, and research, Kael developed a participatory research-creation method called, “collaborative ethnographic songwriting” (CES). Drawing on Goodson’s (1998) notion of “storying the self,” Kael uses CES to collaborate directly with individuals who want to compose and record a song about some aspect of their lives. Kael also uses CES to compose music for arts-based research projects using interview material from those projects to compose lyrics and music, and to analyze, understand, and disseminate the knowledge, beliefs, and social worlds of the people interviewed. CES follows a critical ethnographic tradition in that it focuses on an ethical responsibility to address the unfairness or injustice within a particular lived domain (Madison, 2012).

Kael’s CES songs have been used in research-based theatre productions and in digital stories (short narrative films) about people’s lived experiences. They have presented on their CES research at academic and community-based conferences, in university classrooms and public schools, and for professional development training for teachers and teacher candidates. If you are interested in composing your own song or adding original music to your arts-based research project, please contact Kael to discuss possibilities. 

The Newcomer Creative Voices Project

The Newcomer Creative Voices Project

Making space for children to represent themselves, their own voices, and their own lives, on their own terms through collaborative ethnographic songwriting centers children as “competent social agents” (Mayall 2002) and focuses on children’s voice (both figurative and literal), children’s rights, as well as their musical agency and creative ...
Somewhere in Between

Somewhere in Between

Somewhere in Between is a digital story Kael created and produced at ReVision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice, a multi-media storytelling and research lab at the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Canada. Somewhere in Between  tells the story of their decision to undergo gender-affirming top surgery in 2018. Somewhere in Between was ...
Queer Across Canada Resource Kit

Queer Across Canada Resource Kit

This free, downloadable kit accompanies the album Queer Across Canada, which was released in 2013 and is a collection of songs based on interviews Kael conducted with LGBTQ2S+ families in Canada and the USA from 2009-2012.
LGBTQ Families Speak Out and Out at School

LGBTQ Families Speak Out and Out at School

While doing their doctorate at the University of Toronto, Kael was also an artist researcher on an interdisciplinary research team that investigated the public-school experiences of  2SLGBTQI+ families and youth across Ontario. The project was called, “LGBTQ Families Speak Out,” and as part of this project, the research team also developed ...
Breast Cancer Pink

Breast Cancer Pink

Kael co-composed Breast Cancer Pink with Dr. Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta while Chelsey was going through treatment for young adult breast cancer. Breast Cancer Pink represents the liberatory potential of expressing anger: it narrates Chelsey’s story as a form of defiant speech that reframes her breast cancer experience on her terms while resisting ...
fYreflies

fYreflies

Kael co-composed this song with Chase McKee when Kael was the artist-in-residence for a summer leadership camp for LGBTQ2SI+ and allied youth called, Camp fYrefly (the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB). Chase wanted to write a song about how important Camp fYrefly had been for him as a ...