Crossroads Collaborative Projects

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam (TYPS)

We are analyzing youth performances at the 2011 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam as youth confront the social implications of Arizona's regressive legislation. We argue that the poetry slam provides local and larger possibilities for youth intervention in and disruption of dominant fictions and deficit-driven assumptions about youth knowledge and rights, particularly at the intersections of education, racial and economic justice, sexuality, and health. These possibilities extend beyond counter-narratives and begin to delineate a space where practices of articulation are at play to bring together issues of urgency, to build community, and to provide the opportunity for coalitional action affecting the material circumstances of youth in Tucson. In addition to an analysis of the rhetorical context of the poetry slam, the text will use a multimodal approach to the presentation and analysis of multiple forms of data, including primary and secondary texts, photographic stills, and audio clips, as well as a series of metacognitive nodes articulating and reflecting upon the complexities of analysis from our various standpoints and disciplines in the collaborative.The collaborative is designing a webtext, with the working title of "Poetry, Politics, and Performances: A Multimodal Approach to Youth Visions and Voices," to be submitted to Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy.

Curricular Inclusion Study

In an effort to understand how inclusive curriculum (e.g., Ethnic Studies or LGBT Studies) is integrated into schools, we have interviewed several school administrators, educators, activists, and students in Southern Arizona and Northern California.  According to our participants, the impact of inclusive curriculum is far reaching, improving learning, school connectedness, critical thinking, tolerance, well-being, and school safety.  In light of the current ban on Ethnic Studies in Southern Arizona and the enactment of the FAIR Education Act in California, our findings will highlight the obstacles and needed efforts to promote inclusive curriculum in diverse communities.

My Pregnancy Story Project (P.S.)

The My Pregnancy Story (P.S.) Project is a mixed methods research study that aims to gain a better understanding of teenage pregnancy and parenthood tohelp improveservices and support for pregnant and parenting teens and advocatefor pregnant and parenting teens to reduce stigma and increase self-empowerment. Questions focus on (1) how pregnant and parenting teens feel/felt about being pregnant, (2) level of family and social support including support from systems of care (medical, social service, institutional, education, employers) and how we might improve support/care, (3) types of knowledge about sexual health/pregnancy prior to pregnancy and what types of information would have been helpful, (4) level of empowerment with regard to making decisions about pregnancy and parenting, (5) young women’s views on how teen pregnancy is portrayed in the media, and (6) young women’s perceptions of other people’s reactions to teen pregnancy.  

Queer Monologues

As a project of Wingspan, Southern Arizona's LGBT community center, Eon Youth Lounge is a free youth hangout space dedicated to strengthening the gay, lesbian, bisexual, two spirit, transgender, queer, questioning, intersexed, and straight ally youth communities by creating social opportunities, providing information and support on health issues, advocating for youth rights and challenging society's perceptions of youth as they face institutionalized oppressions that target the many facets of their identities.  This spring, with funding from the Crossroads Collaborative, Eon youth will create a multimodal, multigenre community performance event called Queer Monologues.  Together with researchers from the Crossroads Collaborative, Eon youth will work to engage their local community in a consideration of youth perspectives on healthy sexuality and sexual health at the intersections of racial, economic, gender, and sexual justice.

Nuestra Voz

The Crossroads Collaborative, in partnership with Nuestra Voz, a YWCA Racial Justice Program with local youth, strives to make a difference by educating others about bullying.  In order to understand students’ experiences of bullying, racism, and justice, School Climate Surveys were given to students across Tucson. In addition to the survey, two youth programs (Let’s Get Real and Youth. Art. Activism. Summer Camp) were implemented to educate and inform youth about bullying, and to provide tools for youth to make a difference in their community.  Results representing students’ understanding of bullying and the impact of the two youth programs will be explained in a forthcoming Research Connection.

Safe Schools Policy Project

The Crossroads Collaborative conducted an analysis of the implementation of state-level policies designed to protect youth who are at risk for being discriminated against based on sexual minority status or perceived sexual minority status.  Because recent research has documented the effects of enumerated policies on healthy development for at-risk youth, this study was designed to evaluate the strategies used by state legislators and other groups to pass enumerated legislation. We interviewed key personnel involved in the passage of these laws in several states and identified several factors that contributed to state-level efforts in passing enumerated legislation.  These factors included legislative climate, messaging and communication, policy advocacy strategy (including grass-roots organizing, coalition development, and formal legislative policy organizers), leadership, and youth involvement.

Kore Press Grrls Literary Activism (GLA)

The Crossroads Collaborative has partnered with Kore Press's Grrls Literary Activism (GLA), local filmmakers, artists, and youth themselves to develop creative media opportunities to voice their interests and concerns about youth, sexuality, health, and rights.  Grrls have used poetry, collage, creative writing, and film for social activism. Some of these youth attended the 2011 Gay/Straight Alliance's Advocacy & Youth Leadership Academy and Queer Youth Advocacy Day in Sacramento, CA, and their stories are featured in several videos they conducted interviews for, helped write, and produce.  The Grrls are currently working on a sequel to their 12-minute documentary title "Works in Progress or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love... " that opened to a full house at the local Loft Cinema in October 2011.

"Zone Zero: Sex, Text & The Activist Body"

An eight-week Kore Press/Grrls Literary Activism event with high school youth exploring the creative use of language and also the body's role in activism.


College of Social and Behavioral Sciences