Using collaborative critical autoethnography to decolonise through “seeing” and doing: Social work, community engagement, and ethical practice




Collaborative critical autoethnography, decolonising social work, community engagement, ethical practice


INTRODUCTION: This article reports on a collaborative critical autoethnographic study that we, two white settler social workers, conducted about our engagement with Inuit youth in Nunavut.

APPROACH: We facilitated three digital storytelling projects with youth living in three different Nunavut communities. By engaging in a collaborative critical autoethnography study, we were able to attend to the ways in which we were entering into communities, paying particular attention to the ways in which white supremist colonial thought has impacted our training and our locations within larger structures—shaped by colonising histories with consequences that mould day-to-day life and opportunity for the Inuit youth engaged in the digital storytelling.

FINDINGS: Through collaborative critical autoethnography, using individual research memos and guided dialogue, we considered the ways in which commodification was structured into our relationships, how these structures continue to be colonising, and consider the impact of the past and current colonisation. We also encountered the many strengths and resistances of the Inuit of Nunavut.

IMPLICATIONS: By bringing these considerations to light, we hope to enter into relationships with Inuit communities with fewer of the biases and assumptions that underlay and rationalise the structures that we have critically examined.

Author Biography

Trish Van Katwyk, University of Waterloo

School of Social Work

Associate Professor


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How to Cite

Van Katwyk, T., & Guzik, C. . (2022). Using collaborative critical autoethnography to decolonise through “seeing” and doing: Social work, community engagement, and ethical practice. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 34(2), 67–80.



Original Articles