Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy, Centre for Socially-Engaged, Practice Based Research, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland, February, 2015. Research Emphasis: political asylum and contemporary migration; the politics of voice and listening; audiovisual anthropology; digital storytelling and co-creative documentary.

M.A., Educational Anthropology, Department of Language, Reading and Culture,
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ., USA, December 2005.

B.A., Latin American Studies, Fairhaven College, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA., USA, June 1992.

Research Interests

Social documentary practice; storytelling and the politics of voice and listening; audiovisual anthropology; asylum and migration; feminist and queer theory and research; documentary film, cultural memory, and human rights; media, technology, and social justice; poetry, photography and intimate objects; race and ethnicity; media and sensory ethnography.

Research Experience

Assistant Researcher and Lecturer: Institute for Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland, February 2016 – present

Ph.D. Candidate: Visualizing ‘Migrant’ Voices: Co-Creative Documentary and the Politics of Listening, Centre for Transcultural Research and Media Practice, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), June 2007 – November 2014

Introduced an inquiry-based and longitudinal approach to the participatory media genre of digital storytelling, designed, implemented and taught seminars in documentary media production, developed an engaged anthropological practice drawing from co-creative audiovisual ethnography with research practitioners, co-produced fourteen documentary essays of broadcast quality.

Principal Investigator: Performing Historic Memory, The Salvadoran Association in Search of Disappeared Children (Pro Búsqueda), El Salvador University of Arizona, June 2005

Explored the use of moving image in ethnographic work with this pilot film project, interviewed family members of disappeared children and advocates involved in the historical Inter-American Human Rights Court ruling in favor of the Serrano Cruz family. 

Graduate Research Assistant: Emergent Literacy and Language Development in Latino Children Project, Department of Language, Reading and Culture, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, September 2004 – May 2007

Worked as an ethnographer and research assistant to Principal Investigator Dr. Iliana Reyes. Collaborated with Mexican immigrant families in Southern Tucson, observed and filmed literacy practices in the home, analyzed audio-visual data, and prepared research findings for publication and presentation in collaboration as a research team member.

Researcher and Program Director: Institutional Investigation, Association in Search of Disappeared Children (Pro Búsqueda), San Salvador, El Salvador, February 1994 – October 1997

Directed the overall investigation of state, private and judicial records contributing to the resolution of cases of children who were disappeared during the Salvadoran war (1980-1992); maintained relations with the National Office of Human Rights; prepared final reports and analysis; developed volunteer training program with the University of El Salvador and University of Central America; researched and published on on archival ethnography and the human rights implications of incomplete state documentation. 

Research Associate: Centro de Investigación y Acción Social en Centroamérica de la Compañía de Jesus (CIASCA), Programa en El Salvador, University of Central America (UCA), San Salvador, El Salvador, April 1994 – December 1995

Worked as research assistant to Principal Investigator Dr. Rafael Moreno. Monitored compliance with the Salvadoran Peace Accords, assisted in the preparation of progress reports and acted as a liaison between CIASCA and Salvadoran and international bodies.

Teaching and Leadership Experience

Assistant Researcher and Lecturer: Institute for Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland, February 2016 – present

Develop and teach courses at the Institute for anthropology students and students of other disciplines. Current courses: Anthropologies of Voice and Listening; and Co-Creative Documentary: Introduction to Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling Educator, Producer, Researcher and Trainer: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; University College Cork; Forum on Migration and Communications (FOMACS); Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT); Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI); Integrating Ireland; Refugee Information Service (RIS); Dublin City Council; University College Dublin (UCD); The Base Youth Centre, Ireland; Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS); EU Lifelong Learning Initiative, Malta; Sunnyside Unified School District, Tucson, USA.
United States,  Europe and Africa, 2007 – present

Develop research methodology and pedagogical materials, liaise with commissioning bodies and non-governmental organizations, teach audio-visual media production workshops in collaboration with diverse participants and collaborating agencies, and practice media ethnography in and out of the workshop site.

Lecturer, Researcher and Project Director: Forum on Migration and Communications (FOMACS), Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland, July 2007 – July 2009

Conceived, directed, researched and taught the first digital storytelling participatory media and research project in Ireland. Designed and coordinated the project, developed pedagogical materials and lectures, liaised with diverse stakeholders, taught digital storytelling workshops in collaboration with migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees and ethnographically documented and analyzed the practice, site, and artifacts.

Instructor: CASS Project, Department of Language, Reading and Culture, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, September 2005 – December 2006

In this University of Arizona project for Caribbean and Central American educators, I taught digital storytelling within a broader framework of qualitative research methods.

Adult Educator: Family Literacy Project, Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ, July 1998 – July 2004

Designed and taught ESOL, Spanish literacy and digital media curricula; facilitated bilingual Spanish/English discussions on issues of concern to immigrant women which formed the basis for on-going research and community action; developed and facilitated teacher-training workshops at local and regional conferences on critical pedagogy, digital storytelling, and participatory research.

Educator, Researcher, Co-Director: Women and the Environment Program, Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology (CESTA), San Salvador, El Salvador, March 1992 – March 1994

Worked with urban and rural women as a community educator. Assisted in the development of an agency-wide educational program on gender and the environment, designed curriculum, facilitated workshops and researched the correlations between environmental degradation, poverty, and gender inequality.

Publications and Documentary Productions

2019     Three Ethnographic Poems, (American Anthropological Association 2018 1st Place Award in ethnographic poetry), Anthropology and Humanism, 44: 1, pp. 166-168.

2017a    More than words: co-creative visual ethnography, in M. Nuñez-Janes, Booker, A. and Thornburg, A. (eds.), Deep Stories: Practicing, Teaching and Learning Anthropology with Digital Storytelling, Warsaw/Berlin: De Gruyter Open.

2017b     Implicating practice: Engaged scholarship through co-creative media, in Y. Nordkvelle, Pleasants, H., Jamissen, G. & Hardy, P. (eds.), Digital Storytelling in Higher Education, Palgrave MacMillan.

2017c      Re-conceptualizing digital storytelling: Thinking through audiovisual inquiry, in M. Dunford and Jenkins, T. (eds.), Digital Storytelling: Story, Form, and Content, Palgrave MacMillan.

2015a      Visualizing Migrant Voices: Co-Creative Documentary and the Politics of Listening. Ph.D. Dissertation, Dublin Institute of Technology.

2015b      Are we listening yet? Participatory knowledge production through media practice, in A. Gubrium, Harper, K. &  Otañez, M. (eds.), Participatory Visual and Digital Research in Action (pp.41-55). Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.

2015c      Look of Silence: Film Review, Visual Anthropology Review 31 (2): 203-207.

2013     Marcha del Silencio, documentary short, Director. Online video.

2009    Living in Direct Provision: 9 Stories (9 Digital Stories, Researcher/Co-Producer). Premiere Screening: Irish Film Institute (IFI), Dublin. Further screenings include Guth GafaDocumentary Film Festival, Donegal, Ireland (2009); Dundalk Institute of Technology (2010); the National University of Ireland, Galway (2010); University of Arizona (2011); International Oral History Association Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2012).

2009    Placing Voices/Voicing Places: The Monto Stories (4 Digital Stories, Researcher/Co-Producer). Premiere Screening: Dublin City Council and University College Dublin Exhibition Launch, Dublin, Ireland.

2008   Digital Storytelling as Transformative Practice: Critical Analysis and Creative Expression in the Representation of Migration in Ireland, Journal of Media Practice 9(2): 101–112.

2008    Nowhere Anyhow (Digital Story, Author/Director). Premiere Screening: CDS, Berkeley, USA. Further screenings include Aspen Summer Words (2010); Wales Digital Storytelling Festival (2010); CDS featured story for national adoption month (2012).

2007    Undocumented in Ireland: Our Stories (4 Digital Stories, Researcher/Co-Producer). Premiere Screening: Migrant Rights Centre Ireland Research Launch, ‘Life in the Shadows,’ Dublin (2007). Further screenings include the University of Arizona (2008), and the American Anthropological Association meetings (2011).

2007    Reyes, I., Alexandra, D., Azuara, P. Literacy Practices in Mexican Immigrant Homes, Cultura y Educación, 19(4): 463-474, Madrid: Fundación Infancia y Aprendizaje.

2005    Forced Reality: Educators Discuss Sites of Practice, (Interactive CD-ROM, Researcher/Director), University of Arizona, Tucson, USA.

2005    Performing Historic Memory (4x60mins, Director/Principal Investigator for MA Thesis). Pilot ethnographic film project with Salvadoran Association in Search of Disappeared Children (Pro Búsqueda), USA/El Salvador, University of Arizona.

Invited Presentations and Conference Participation

“Post-war human rights work in El Salvador,” Post-war politics and human rights: Life and work of Ralph Sprenkels (09.03.69-14.9.19), Utrecht University, Netherlands, 27 March, 2019 (cancelled due to COVID-19).

“Imagining Otherwise in Sonora,” Depth of Field, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany, 22-24 July, 2020 (cancelled due to COVID-19).

“Mattering Stories,” Stories that Matter: Exploring (re)presentation and communication of hydro-social research, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Cologne, Germany, 27 September, 2019.

“Digital Storytelling as Engaged Research Practice: Visual Anthropology in Governmental, University and Community Contexts,” The Art of Scientific Storytelling Conference, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Switzerland, 14 January, 2019.

“Reflective Practice through Audiovisual Montage,” International Summer School, University of Zürich, Switzerland, 17 July 2019.

“Designing for Collaboration,” Flucht und Migration Panel, MA Design, Design & Kunst, Hochschule LuzernMay 1, 2019.

Digital Storytelling as Engaged Research: Visual Anthropology in Governmental, University and Community Contexts,” The Art of Scientific Storytelling Conference, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, January 14, 2019.

“‘Where are the ‘Happy’ Stories? Migrant Representations of Ireland,” Nordic Summer University, Faro, Sweden, August 3, 2018.

“Whose Story is it? Introduction to methods of ethnographic filmmaking,” Ethnocineca Film Workshop, Vienna, Austria, April 6, 2018.

“First Person Plural: Short Films by University of Bern Anthropology Students,” Reitschule, Bern, Switzerland, March 15, 2018.

“Thinking through audiovisual inquiry.” Bern University of the Arts, Switzerland, November 6, 2017.

‘Radical forms, engagements, and ideas: The ethnographic in the documentary,’ Ethnocineca Film Workshop, Vienna, Austria, March 31, 2017.

Co-creative documentary and the politics of listening,” Hobby Center for Public Policy, Department of English, University Houston, USA, October 18, 2016.

“Participatory research through media ethnography: Co-Creative Documentary,” Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland, January 28, 2016.

“The Sense of Listening: Disrupting Asylum Narratives,” Annual Conference of the Swiss Ethnological Society, Nov. 12-15, 2015, University of Bern, Switzerland.

“Are we listening yet? Participatory knowledge production through media practice,” Voices of Change: Storywork in Activism, Education and Public Service, September 25-27, 2015, Amherst, MA., USA.

“The Visual Worlds of Stories,” Digital Storytelling Festival, June 16, 2013, Cardiff, Wales.

“Beyond the Story Circle: Getting Your Voice Heard?” Create, Act, Change: 5th International Digital Storytelling Conference, May 8-10, 2013, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey.

“Thinking through Images,” European Network for Knowledge Diffusion on Digital Storytelling, March 4-8, 2013, Malta.

“Ethical Borders and Crossings: Critical Mediations in Participatory Research Practices Engaging with Film, Photography, and Digital Storytelling,” American Anthropological Association Meetings, November 14-18, 2012, San Francisco, USA. (Panel Organizer).

“On the Borders of Listening: Visualizing Voice and Implicating Practice in Collaborative, Multimedia Ethnography,” American Anthropological Association Meetings, November 16, 2012, San Francisco, USA.

“Thinking through Image and Voice — Participatory Visual Ethnography with Migrants in Ireland,” October 10, 2012, University of Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland.

“Un Retrato Audio-visual del Asilo: Vivencias Construidas desde la Imagen y la Palabra,” International Oral History Association Conference, September 4-7, 2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“Visualizing Voice and Contextualizing Images: Digital Storytelling as Collaborative Inquiry,” Digital Storytelling Festival, June 7th, 2012, Cardiff, Wales.

“Encountering “Other” Stories Through Collaborative Research Practice,” Storytelling: Global Reflections on Narrative, May 15, 2012, Prague, Czech Republic.

“Social documentary, engaged listening and embodied objects: Digital storytelling with migrants in Ireland,” American Anthropological Association Meetings, November 16 – 20, 2011, Montreal, Canada.

Digital storytelling presenter and co-facilitator, Aspen Summer Words Literary Festival, June 19 – 24, 2011, Aspen Writer’s Foundation: The Aspen Institute, Aspen, USA.

“Digital storytelling as inquiry interface: Collaborative media ethnography with migrants in Ireland,” June 16, 2011, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA.

“Contar desde la comunidad: Digital storytelling en Irlanda,” VIII Congreso Iberoamericano de Psicodrama, 15-21 May, 2011, La Habana, Cuba.

“Serving Sectors and Social Applications,” International Digital Storytelling Conference, June 26-27, 2009, Obidos, Portugal.

“Representing Reality Beyond Vérité: New Forms for Documentary,” Guth Gafa Documentary Film Festival, June 13, 2009, Donegal, Ireland.

“Communities of Practice and Digital Storytelling,” Living Cultures – Contemporary Ethnographies of Culture Conference, Institute of Communication Studies, University of Leeds, UK, 2009 (Paper accepted and presented in absentia).

“Narrating Migration through Digital Storytelling, Case Study: Undocumented in Ireland: Our Stories,” March 26-28, 2008, Migration Studies in Ireland: An Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. (Conference Co-Organizer, and Presenter).

“Digital Storytelling as Qualitative Research Method,” 28 February 2008, Trinity Race and Ethnicity MPhil Seminar, Dublin, Ireland.

“The Politics and Ethics of Digital Storytelling with Undocumented Migrants in Dublin,” 21 February 2008, European Migration and Trafficking Workshop, School of Ecumenics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

“Archival Forensics and Memory Poetics in Transitional Justice Projects: The Salvadoran Association in Search of Disappeared Children,” July 27-31, 2006, Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas, Tepoztlán, Morelos, México.

“Emergent Literacy and Language Development in Latino Children Project,” April 7-11, 2006, American Educational Review Association (AERA), San Francisco, USA.

“The Poetics of Memory: Auto-ethnography and the Salvadoran Association in Search of Disappeared Children,” March 30-April 2, 2005, Rocky Mountain Conference on Latin American Studies, Tucson, Arizona.


Excellence in Teaching, Faculty of the Humanities, University of Bern, 2020

Invited Poet, Tin House Summer Conference, Reed College, Portland, OR., 2019

Society for Humanistic Anthropology Writing Awards, First Place Award in Ethnographic Poetry, American Anthropological Association, 2018

Full Scholarship/Poetry Residency, Chamonix Summer Writing Program, Butler University in Chamonix, France, May 19 – June 6, 2014

Poetry Competition Finalist, ‘Aura: San Salvador 1991,’ Many Mountains Moving, Philadelphia, 2011

Invited Artist, Aspen Writer’s Foundation, The Aspen Institute, Aspen, CO., June 19 – 24, 2011

Fiosraigh Scholarship, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), January 2011 – June 2011

ABBEST Doctoral Fellowship, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), June 2007 – December 2010

Graduate Student Tuition Award, University of Arizona, September 2004 – May 2007.