Original Research

Nurturing youth film literacy: Post-qualitative arts-based inquiry into critical self-awareness

Wendy Smidt, Zayd Waghid
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 20, No 1 | a1382 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v20i1.1382 | © 2024 Wendy Smidt, Zayd Waghid | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 June 2023 | Published: 30 January 2024

About the author(s)

Wendy Smidt, Department of Senior Phase and Further Education and Training, Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Zayd Waghid, Department of Senior Phase and Further Education and Training, Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa


Post-digital, as a timeframe set, raises specific concerns for young adults engaged in artistic and cultural activities, seeking to establish a sustainable livelihood within a semi-rural South African context. They grapple with issues such as determining their positionality within a world marked by fading boundaries between the physical and digital. To better understand the post-digital impact on experiential learning opportunities for young adults, the authors explored the specific ways and extent to which active engagement in shortfilm-making contributes to developing critical self-awareness among the participating post-school youth. An assemblage of transformative theories and concepts, rather than pre-determined methodologies, guided this inquiry that extended beyond the development of career and workplace competencies. The strengths of spaciousness and in-between boundary positions provided by the spider’s thread metaphor served as a useful methodological tool. Moving beyond the limitations of traditional discourse and content analysis, multimodal discourse analysis in combination with a modified, six-category measuring instrument was used to explore (analyse) the evidence (data) created as products of active participant engagement in a shortfilm-making project, over a 10-month period in 2020. Findings revealed that, for the participants, it was by moving from physical self-centred understandings of reality to experiential creations of authentic reality (shortfilm-productions) and involving an expanded awareness of those alternative possibilities that nurtured their potential transpersonal growth.

Transdisciplinary Contribution: A synthesis of arts-based, post-qualitative and developmental phenomenographic approaches was employed to create, explore and communicate evidence in ways that present a holistic picture of alternative pathways to knowledge production.


Post-digital; post-qualitative; developmental phenomenography; arts-based inquiry; film literacy; critical self-awareness; transpersonal growth; non-formal adult education.

JEL Codes

I20: General; I21: Analysis of Education; I22: Educational Finance • Financial Aid; I23: Higher Education • Research Institutions

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education


Total abstract views: 1267
Total article views: 597

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.