Abstract: Despite the growing importance of digital portfolios for justifying creative work and study opportunities, little is known about arts students’ creative appropriation of online portfolios in secondary school. In particular, there is a research gap concerning the challenges that young black women face when curating portfolios as visual arts students. This paper describes the key challenges that three such government school students negotiated when taught to creatively appropriate an online portfolio software for curating showcase visual arts e-portfolios: In formal contexts, art students’ e-portfolios are strongly shaped by assimilatory norms. Visual arts students who want to develop portfolios that follow local or global crafts and fandoms must negotiate their low status in, or complete exclusion from, the national syllabus. Students in under-resourced school and home settings may already be using other online portfolio solutions that suit their purposes better than the particular software prescribed in arts lessons. Online portfolios are public by default and young women negotiated this risk by using pseudonymous self-presentations. Each student's classroom practices were also constrained by a technology selected for its minimalist exhibition aesthetic. Students curated showcase exhibitions, but the prescribed service did not facilitate a wider exploration of contemporary digital practices.
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