Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Illustrated Chicano: Chicano Border Methodology in Practice

Version 2 2023-09-26, 23:58
Version 1 2021-12-07, 17:01
posted on 2023-09-26, 23:58 authored by Franco, William

What is Chicano Border Methodology? In my thesis I am answering this question by showing that this is a key part of my practice, and revisiting my past work and experiences to re-construct the development of this methodology. Chicano Border Methodology is a living methodology based on lived experience that is constantly in praxis, and not just theoretical. It is rooted in a knowledge space that is specific to a locality, La Frontera/US-Mexico border. I began to assemble the methodology using epistemological pluralism as the framework and modified this framework to produce a decolonising epistemological pluralism. Using the colonial matrix of power, this position questions the assumption of epistemic privilege of western knowledge production.  Using a personal narrative structure, I start the re-construction process by describing the beginnings of my decolonising process with the re-discovery of my Chicano identity. I then describe the knowledge space developed along La Frontera/US-Mexico Border and how it shows up in my art practice. Looking at the concepts of decolonisation process, practice-led research, performative research and Kaupapa Māori, I contrast and analyse the position of my Chicano Border Methodology, highlighting the differences that make my Chicano Border Methodology unique. I go on to describe and analyse how I applied this methodology to the production of The Illustrated Chicano, an art installation that looks at issues of place, home and immigration in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Illustrated Chicano, as a practical application of the Chicano Border Methodology, revealed that this methodology is robust and can be modified by Chicanos to match the specific needs of research areas, where a decolonising approach is required or beneficial to the outcome. I also explore how the community reacted to my installation built through the Chicano Border Methodology lens by documenting and analysing the community’s reaction to this work. I conclude with a discussion of the significance of local knowledge spaces, the value of different methodological models, and the flexibility of a decolonising epistemological pluralism framework, such as the Chicano Border Methodology.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License


Degree Discipline

Maori Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Maori Studies : Te Kawa a Māui


Mercier, Ocean