2007: Issue 1
We hope 2007 is treating you kindly so far.
The beginning of this year has been a busy one here at Dulwich Centre! Our International Summer School of Narrative Practice has just been held and participants in various training programs are still filling the building.
We are pleased here to introduce you to a range of papers by authors whom we have never published before. The field of narrative practice seems to be thriving and we thought an issue on ‘New Voices’ would be appropriate for the new year.
The first paper, by Anne Kathrine Løge from Norway, introduces an approach to working with divorced parents to ‘disarm the conflict’ and assist them in developing skills of collaboration in relation to parenting their children. The second piece, by Ron Nasim from Israel, describes innovative group work in a psychiatric day clinic. We are confident that readers will find both these papers very helpful as they describe effective and creative work in complex contexts.
The second section of the journal consists of two papers about ways of working with queer folk from religious backgrounds. Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett describes ground-breaking work with two Australian Muslim brothers, one of whom is gay. Her work provides new metaphors and approaches to the question of ‘coming out’ which are then taken up in the next paper by Charles Jasper. Charles’ piece conveys material generated from narratively informed interviews with gay men from Christian backgrounds in the USA. We trust that anyone interested in considerations of identity, religion, spirituality and/or sexuality will find these pieces resonant and challenging.
The third part of this edition features the first two interviews by Virginia Leake (who works here at Dulwich Centre Publications). These interviews took place on a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. They describe the hopeful work of two organisations, one Israeli, one Palestinian, which are dedicated to finding a way out of the cycles of violence in that part of the world.
Finally, the focus turns to Africa, and more particularly to Rwanda. It is now almost thirteen years since the genocide took place in Rwanda. We think our readers will be moved to hear of the work of organisations which are supporting survivors and continuing to seek justice.
It is a diverse collection from six different countries.
On a sadder note, we would like to mention here Emily Sued, who has for many years been a dear friend and colleague to us here at Dulwich Centre. Emily passed away recently. She will be dearly missed and always remembered.
Conversations with Divorced Parents: Disarming the Conflict and Developing Skills of Collaboration— Anne Kathrine Løge
Parents who have divorced often experience conflict-saturated accounts of each other and their relationship. This paper shares some narrative approaches which seek to help divorced parents ‘disarm the conflict’ and develop skills of collaboration. This work involves exploring each parent’s preferred values and purposes with linguagrams, inviting divorced parents to act as outsider witnesses for each other, and inviting in other divorced parents to act as outsider witnesses for the parents seeking therapy.
‘A Different Story’: Narrative Group Therapy in a Psychiatric Day Centre— Ron Nasim
This paper describes a narrative group therapy model applied in a psychiatric day centre. The group was conceived as a form of definitional ceremony, in which a participant is invited to share an account of a unique outcome that happened to them recently, while the other members serve as outsider witnesses to this development. A detailed example of a therapeutic conversation about depression, and the outsider witness group’s responses, shows how these generative conversations can be held in a psychiatric setting. A second example of this work details how outsider witness group reflections can be used to form the basis of an alternative kind of ‘discharge letter’. Finally, the paper discusses significant dilemmas arising from the work, including how to discern which subordinate story-lines to develop from the many entry points available.
Azima Ila Hayati – an Invitation in to My Life: Narrative Conversations about Sexual Identity— Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett
This paper describes a therapeutic conversation with a young gay Muslim man and his brother which was shaped by the definitional ceremony metaphor. Through deconstructing ‘games of truth’ in relation to attitudes to homosexuality and the process of ‘coming out’, space was created for this young man and his brother to realign their relationship. In the midst of the current hostile climate affecting all Arab Muslim families, this paper describes the story of two brothers and their concept of loyalty.
Queer Lives and Spiritual Leanings: Gay Men Talking about How We Stayed Connected, or Got Re-connected, to Spiritual Practices and Religious Values under Challenging Circumstances— Charles Jasper
How do queer people stay connected or get reconnected to spiritual practices and values when the religious communities they grew up may have been powerfully rejecting of gay, lesbian or queer lives? This paper includes the stories of a number of gay men who grew up in Christian communities and describes their journeys in relation to matters of spirituality. The author also provides a framework that could be used to structure similar explorations with lesbian, bisexual, transgender or other queer folk.
Responding to Genocide – Stories from Rwanda
It is now almost thirteen years since the genocide took place in Rwanda. We think our readers will be moved to hear of the work of organisations which are supporting survivors and continuing to seek justice.
Contained in this pack are four articles:
A Small Light as We Walk This Long Road: The Work of Ibuka— Kaboyi BenoitKaboyi Benoit is Executive Director of Ibuka, the national survivors’ organisation in Rwanda. In the following interview, he describes how Ibuka supports the survivors of the Rwandan genocide, seeks justice for those who were killed, and honours their memory. This interview took place in Kigali, Rwanda. Cheryl White and David Denborough were the interviewers.
Intimacy and Betrayal in the Story of Genocide— Rakiya OmaarRakiya Omaar is the author of the book Rwanda: Death, despair and defiance and co-founder of the human rights organisation African Rights. In this interview, Rakiya provides a broader context in which to understand the genocide in Rwanda and describes the continuing efforts that are taking place to come to terms with these events. The interviewers were Cheryl White and David Denborough.
Gift for Life: From Researching to Responding to Women Who Were Raped during the Rwandan Genocide— Elizabeth RugegeGift for Life is a project supporting women who survived sexual violence during the Rwandan genocide. This interview describes this work, its history and the thinking that informs it.
Reflections on 'Stories from Rwanda'— Yishai Shalif and Makungu AkinyelaTwo letters of reflection in response to the ‘stories from Rwanda’ articles.
Breaking the Silences: Acknowledging Our Own Stories, Talking with Our Families and the Nation: An interview with Yehuda Shaul— Virginia Leake
Breaking the Silence is an organisation of young Israelis who are publicly sharing the stories and images of what they were involved with when serving in the military in the occupied Palestinian Territories. Their work is contributing to debate within Israeli society and their exhibitions have also travelled the world, raising awareness of the consequences of occupation wherever it is taking place. This interview describes the different sorts of silences – personal, familial, national – that act to sustain occupation and the work that is required to change this. The following piece will be relevant not only to those with an interest in the Middle East, but also for those working with the military, ex-military and their families, and for those working with people who are trying to come to terms with what they may have participated with in the past. The interview took place in Jerusalem. The interviewer was Virginia Leake, who works at Dulwich Centre Publications.
Lighting a Candle… Finding a Way Forward: The Work of ‘the Way’: The Palestinian Organisation for Development and Democracy— Virginia Leake
This interview took place in Ramallah, in the Palestinian Territories. It describes the work of a new Palestinian organisation The Way: The Palestinian Organisation for Development and Democracy which seeks to build a Palestinian civil society and achieve an independent Palestine through non-violent resistance. This interview traces the history of this organisation’s work, the challenges being faced, the projects they are developing, and a philosophy that engenders hope. The interviewer was Virginia Leake, who works for Dulwich Centre Publications. Angel Yuen and Ruth Pluznick were also present.