A NARRATIVE INQUIRY INTO THE EXPERIENCES OF THREE WOMEN IN THE 3D ANIMATION INDUSTRY: USING SELF-DETERMINATION THEORY TO UNDERSTAND SOCIO-CULTURAL INFLUENCES ON CONCEPTS OF SUCCESS AND MOTIVATION

Open Access
Author:
Chang, Wei-Chung
Graduate Program:
Art Education
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
June 23, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Karen Treat Keifer Boyd, Dissertation Advisor
  • Karen Treat Keifer Boyd, Committee Chair
  • Patricia Marie Amburgy, Committee Member
  • Wanda B Knight, Committee Member
  • Jeanne L Hall, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • narrative inquiry
  • self-determination
  • motivation
  • animation
  • gender
  • technology
Abstract:
Concerned with the underrepresentation of women in the field of animation, I used a narrative inquiry approach in this qualitative study of three women to understand what motivated and/or influenced their pursuit of careers in the animation industry. Through the interpretative lens of Self-determination Theory (SDT), I analyzed in-depth multiple interviews conducted over a five-year period with three women in the midst of successful careers in the animation industry. They discussed their educational experiences and careers in the animation industry. Throughout the journey of this narrative inquiry, my own deep-seated beliefs and values were challenged regarding conditions in the animation industry for women. The narratives from these three women about what motivated them to pursue and achieve successful careers in the animation industry included influences from early role models. All had attended schools that had flexible/experimental programs, which built their capacity for autonomy and competence. However, each had unique reasons for being drawn to animation careers, and how they learned animation. All three felt they had support from their spouse or their peers. They also perceived that they were trusted and needed within their profession. It is my hope that this study will encourage further research by disabilities studies scholars, critical race theorists, and other researchers to provide different perspectives from their examinations of the socio-cultural contexts in the animation industry that have led to underrepresentation of women, people of color, and people experiencing disabilities. Art educators also need to develop interdisciplinary animation curricula that facilitate autonomy, competence, and relatedness to not only generate individual motivation but also to model a supportive learning environment for transfer into the animation industry’s work environments. The most significant implication is the need to improve working conditions and environments in the animation industry in order to support those who work there and enable them to have families and take medical leaves without jeopardizing their careers. As a male Taiwanese professor of animation with approximately one year of experience in the animation industry in the United States working at Pixar, conducting this research changed my own awareness of discriminatory practices toward women in the animation. These perspectives and related discussions conclude the study.