Performing the Invisible:

A Poem About and From Invisible Insiders

  • Amber L. MacDonald University of South Florida
  • Leia K. Cain University of South Florida
  • Juliana C. Velasco University of South Florida
Keywords: Poetic Analysis, Researcher Identity, Insider, Reflexivity


We utilized poetic inquiry to analyze our reflective journal entries discussing different insider identities that we choose to share or conceal from research participants. We call these insider identities that are not evident unless disclosed ‘invisible insiders’ - a term that may refer to an individuals sexuality, disability status, mental health status, or a host of other labels not immediately apparent to the naked eye. We grappled with the concept of how these invisible identities enable us to ‘pass’ as members of a majority group, and how to make the decision of sharing these identities with research participants. Through poetic inquiry, we created a found poem which is made of our collective words and stories.

Author Biographies

Amber L. MacDonald, University of South Florida

Amber L. MacDonald is a Ph.D. student in Teaching and Learning at the University of South Florida. 

Leia K. Cain, University of South Florida

 Leia K. Cain, Ph.D., is an Instructor in Educational Measurement and Research at the University of South Florida.

Juliana C. Velasco, University of South Florida

Juliana C. Velasco is a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of South Florida. 


Butler-Kisber, L. (2002). Artful portrayals in qualitative inquiry: the road to found poetry and beyond. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 48(3).
Ellis, C. (1997). Evocative autoethnography: Writing emotionally about our lives. In W. G. Tierney & Y. S. Lincoln, (Eds.). Representation and the Text: Re-Framing the Narrative Voice, (115-142). Albany, NY: State University Press.
Hoppes, S. (2014). Autoethnography: Inquiry into identity. New Directions for Higher Education, 2014 (166), 63-71. doi: 10.1002/he.20096
Leavy, P. (2015) Method meets art: Arts-based research practice. Guilford Publications.
Marshall, C., & Oliva, M. (2009). Leadership for social justice: Making revolutions in education (2ndEd.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Pinar, W. F. (1975). The method of currere. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association.
Rambo, C. (2019). Cultivating mystery/concealing and performing identity: Strange accounting as queered autoethnographic praxis, presented at Symposium on Autoethnography
and Narrative Inquiry: Honoring the Legacy of Carolyn Ellis & Art Bochner, St. Petersburg, FL, 2019.