Dr. Ashley Caranto Morford’s current research asks how literature by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of colour) writers can help settler Filipinx/a/os understand how to be better and more accountable kin and relations to Black and Indigenous communities in colonially called North America. From 2020-2021, she was a co-facilitator of the Jackman Humanities Institute BIPOC Solidarities research group, alongside Sewsen Igbu, Shanna Peltier, and Kaitlin Rizarri. The research group brought together community members, organizers, and scholars from interdisciplinary backgrounds, diverse communities, and various fields of study to read about, discuss, and imagine the potentialities and necessities of BIPOC solidarity work, with a focus on the Canadian context. In particular, the group focused on solidarity work that centres, honours, and amplifies BIPOC women, feminisms, and LGBTQ2IA+ BIPOC communities.
Ashley’s work also closely reflects on and engages with digital spaces, technologies, and infrastructures. Ashley has interest in online social media environments as spaces for social justice mobilization and community organizing. From 2018-2021, Ashley helped to lead the #DecolonizingDigital project alongside Dr. Jeffrey Ansloos. This project ran out of the Critical Health and Social Action (CHSA) Labs at OISE (the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto), and was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada. Through an archival study of Twitter and interviews with Indigenous Twitter users in Turtle Island, #DecolonizingDigital investigated how Indigenous people are using Twitter for cultural revitalization, language learning, artistic knowledge, and life promotion.
Currently, Ashley is a member of a 2022 Critical Digital Humanities Initiative working group on Digital Threads: Anti-colonial Storytelling and Community Building Through Twine (PI: Arun Jacob). This working group is supported by the Digital Humanities Learning Community Grant, and is focused on understanding the possibilities of Twine – and digital storywork more broadly – as a pedagogical tool for anti-oppressive, anti-colonial, anti-caste, and community-centred digital humanities work. The group — with members in Canada, the US, and India — plans to provide community organizers and educators with an accessible toolkit for ethically teaching and using Twine towards social justice and anti-colonial interventions.