15 Picturing a New Life: An Arts-Based Inquiry Into the Lived Experiences of Tibetan Women who Resettled in Ottawa, Canada

Eliza C. von Baeyer


This descriptive, qualitative, arts-based research study explored the lived experiences of some Tibetan women who resettled in Canada with the Tibetan Resettlement Project Ottawa (TRPO) between 2013 and 2017. The researcher was involved with the women through the TRPO and as a guest at Tibetan festivities and get-togethers before this dissertation research began. By using post-colonial research methods, with an arts-based methodology, greater equity and agency for the Tibetan women (the knowledge holders) was created. As well, a safe space was created where expertise made way for diversity, inclusion, and dialogic knowledge creation. This was especially important because the Tibetan women were new to academic research and were not native speakers of English. Therefore, the study methodology and methods were purposely chosen because they were not written or oral language based.

The arts-based methodology included visual ethnography and was accompanied by a modified photovoice activity based on the work of Wang and Burris (1994, 1997). However, rather than group discussions about the photographs the knowledge holders took for a seven-day period, a 60-minute open-ended interview was used. Eight of a possible fourteen Tibetan women shared their lived experiences of resettlement. The global pandemic started just after the pilot study, which required using an online communications platform to upload data and to conduct the interviews via video-call.


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