Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts received her Ph.D. from the Division of Educational Studies at Emory University in 2014. Relying on ethnography and narrative inquiry as her primary research methods, Chelsea explores the lived experiences of individuals across multiple communities. Chelsea’s most recent research utilizes the lived experiences of Black teen yoga practitioners who use yoga and storytelling as mediums for critical literacy development. Working primarily within marginalized communities, Chelsea seeks to understand the ways in which power and privilege impact lives at the intersection of race, class, and gender.
Training and Teaching
Chelsea earned teaching credentials after graduating from Spelman College with a B.A. in Child Development, and later completed her M.A. at Teachers College, Columbia University with a degree in International Educational Development. After returning from New York, Chelsea taught in both Title I Schools and a community charter school in Atlanta. It is during her experiences as a classroom teacher that Chelsea began to make connections between literacy development, yoga, and other mindful practices.
Chelsea is currently a certified E-RYT 200 and RCYT who completed her initial 200-hour yoga teachers’ training at Kashi Atlanta Urban Ashram under the guidance of her beloved teachers Swami Jaya Devi and Ma Jaya in 2007. Chelsea also completed two additional yoga trainings in Atlanta and New York City, specifically for instructors who work with children and teens. It was during Chelsea’s most recent training on Restorative Justice at the University of Wisconsin, Madison facilitated by Sujatha Baliga that she began making connections between the value of storytelling, critical literacy development, and yoga.
Funded by the Race and Difference Initiative of Emory University and sponsored by Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Chelsea created a Yoga, Literature, and Art camp for teen girls in 2013. Integrating literature, art, storytelling, and yoga, Chelsea worked with a host of volunteer yoga teachers and teen girls over the course of two weeks guided by a curriculum grounded in her educational training, observations, and experiences with yoga, literacy, and youth.
Some of Dr. Robert’s writing includes, Toward a Performance of Possibilities: Resisting Gendered (In) Justice, a co-authored piece written with her mentor Dr. Maisha T. Winn and published in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies of Education. Chelsea has also discussed her research and experiences as an educator in Teaching Tolerance: A Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Most recently, Chelsea contributed perspectives on issues concerning yoga and body image at the intersection of race, class, and gender in Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories about Beauty, Bravery, and Loving Your Body edited by Melanie Klein and Anna Guest-Jelley and serves as an advisor to the Yoga and Body Image Coaltition.
Currently Chelsea is developing a yoga and literacy curriculum for Atlanta area youth organizations, as well as providing trainings for yoga practitioners, educators, community leaders, activists, and students interested in expanding their awareness on issues concerning marginalized youth, individuals, and communities. Chelsea conducts trainings for yoga instructors and classroom teachers at local yoga studios, community centers, and schools and continues to contribute research findings to educational journals and contemporary publications.