This thesis presents the epistemological context, plan and implementation of a study employing a variety of art projects aimed at facilitating arts-oriented inquiries into identity for classes of multicultural and multilingual pre-teenagers. Furthermore, this thesis presents a parallel process of identity exploration on the part of the author of this work, a teacher-researcher engaging in similar forms of arts-oriented inquiry through the fashioning of "creative interludes." Grounding the work in theories of identity development, and theories of the stages of development of visual arts skills and capacities in elementary school age students, the author aimed to explore the possibilities of discovery and affirmation of identity in these students through the lenses of a/r/tography, creative dynamic, and self-portraiture. After first framing the work in terms of important ethical considerations related to the setting of the research, the author presents the creative projects that were made by these pre-teenagers. The artworks become mirrors of their makers and provide numerous opportunities for educators to see traces of the childrens' identity explorations in their art. Finally, the author explores her own identity development as an artist, a teacher, a researcher, and a woman, along with how these different identities symbiotically influence each other.
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Thesis advisor: Fels, Lynn
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