McGuire, M. (2022). Out of the grey and into the light: Passage through the pandemic using story, mask, and ritual [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Liverpool John Moores University.

This Organic Inquiry aims to understand the lived experiences of five Gen Z Elders, who turned eighteen during the Covid-19 Pandemic. As part of the inquiry, a series of workshops were co-created using mask making, ritual, creativity, and storytelling. Analysis of interview transcripts uncovered how the Pandemic created feelings of abandonment, mental health challenges, and a surreal presence of time. At the end of the project, I discovered my chosen research method to be a suitable model in supporting the storytelling process, with each co-researcher participating in activities to access liminal spaces through creative channels. Masks were chosen as suitable vehicles considering the dominant presence of face masks during the Pandemic, and archetypes were used to personify the Pandemic and to explore rite of passage into adulthood. Stories were recollected and reframed through revisiting, and the importance of a story spiral became evident. This raised the question of the role storytelling can play as a form of rite of passage for a generation, who became adults in isolation, fending for themselves and feeling unprepared for the challenges ahead. The final creative synthesis honored the collective through a collage, and each individual story was captured in the form of an imaginal quest based on the experiential activities the co-researchers participated in.

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