Stories from the homefront : digital storytelling with National Guard youth
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Since the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism in 2001, the United States has relied heavily on volunteer National Guard troops to protect our country. Thousands of youth have been affected by deployment, yet we rarely hear their stories. This thesis explores how digital storytelling, as an applied theatre practice, can help increase youth visibility and voice in the Army National Guard community. Through qualitative research methods of narrative thematic analysis and thematic coding methods, the author examines how digital storytelling can be used to build community among Army National Guard youth, as well as provide an agentive space for youth to name their experiences and perspectives while self-advocating for their needs and desires. Their digital stories became a site for youth to play with the complexity of naming their experiences, as well as a way to increase their visibility within military spaces. The document concludes with a discussion of how digital storytelling and applied theatre functions within National Guard youth communities, the limitations of the research and model, as well as a discussion of sustainability for applied theatre programs in this community.