Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Michael J. Berson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ilene Berson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Darlene DeMarie, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Wolgemuth, Ph.D.


Collage, feminist, Freire, mixed media, Romani


The methods by which Roma girls are studied and represented, do not account for their individual expressions of identity, aspirations or voice. Experiences and voices of Roma girls have rarely been seen or heard and have been consistently defined and represented by non-Roma individuals throughout history and within academia, which has perpetuated stereotypes. Interpretations of the image and lives of the Romani are permeated with misperceptions, myths, and assumptions based on stereotypical definitions.

This study uses the arts-based method of mixed media collage with Roma girls in London, England, to understand their expressions of identity, aspirations, and voice. This arts-based, qualitative study presents the richness and complexity of arts-based forms of data, offers levels of engagement that are both cognitive and emotional, and provides creative ways to explore the experiences of Roma girls in London. Understanding Roma girls’ expressions from their point of view also offers the opportunity for collaborative knowledge construction.

Using initial coding and subcoding showed the emergence of themes that spoke to Roma girls’ expressions of identity, aspirations, and voice. Some of these themes involved developing an awareness of self through character traits, representing and celebrating culture, identifying personal interests in order to explore aspirations, and using artistic expression to impact others with their voice. The participants’ collages capture the multi-layered nature of their lives, as well as the complexity of each evolving artist.

In the field of education, mixed media collage can be a catalyst for powerful thinking and discussion. Engaging in dialogue is a critical activity to implement in order to learn about aspects of diversity and identity. Becoming conscious of socially constructed ideas, stereotypes, and our own biases is imperative for teaching and learning in today’s global society.