Publication Type: Journal article
Year: 2022
Author(s):  Carmen H Logie, David J Kinitz, Lesley Gittings, Yasmeen Persad, Ashley Lacombe-Duncan, Tonia Poteat
Unit: AARHub
Journal: Journal of Health Promotion International

Abstract: "Critical hope centres optimism and possibilities for change in the midst of struggles for social justice. It was a central tenet of early participatory pedagogy and HIV research. However, critical hope has been overlooked in contemporary HIV research that largely focuses on risk and biomedical interventions in ways that obscure collective agency and community strengths. We conducted a community-based study with transgender (trans) women of colour in Toronto, Canada to adapt an evidence-based HIV prevention intervention. Participants resisted a focus on HIV, instead calling researchers to centre journeys to self-love in contexts of social exclusion. In response, we piloted three arts-based, participatory methods generated with community collaborators: (i) affirmation cards sharing supportive messages with other trans women, (ii) hand-held mirrors for reflecting and sharing messages of self-acceptance and (iii) anatomical heart images to visualize coping strategies. Participants generated solidarity and community through shared stories of self-acceptance within contexts of pain, exclusion and loss. Narratives revealed locating agency and self-acceptance through community connectedness. Critical hope was a by-product of this participatory process, whereby participants shared personal and collective optimism. Participatory and arts-based methods that centre self-acceptance and solidarity can nurture resistance to pathologizing discourses in HIV research. Centring critical hope and participant-generated methodologies is a promising approach to transformative health promotion and intervention research. These methodological insights can be engaged in future participatory work with other marginalized groups facing dominant biomedical risk discourses. Critical hope holds potential as a participatory health promotion strategy for envisioning possibilities for sustainable change."

Citation: Logie, C., Kinitz, D., Gittings, L., Persad, Y, Lacombe-Duncan, A, Poteat, T. (2022) Critical hope in participatory HIV research: methodological insights from multi-method community-based research with transgender women of colour in Toronto, Canada. Journal of Health Promotion International: Participatory health promotion research for sustainable change. 37(S2): ii37-ii47.