2016: Issue 1

journal-cover-2016-2Dear Reader,

Welcome to the first issue for 2016!

This issue includes a diversity of narrative practice papers, including:

– Thoughtful ways of expanding the possibilities of definitional ceremony practice

– Narrative projects from Greek practitioners responding to the economic crisis and rise of racism

– Creative forms of documentation

We’re delighted that this issue includes three papers from Greek narrative practitioners. The community of narrative practice in Greece continues to diversify and thrive. It also includes papers from Belgium and Australia.

We hope you enjoy this diverse collection!

Warmly
Cheryl White

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    Definitional ceremonies as rituals of hospitality— Sarah Strauven

    This paper describes the project of Abdul Shirzai, Badam Zazai, Shakila Yari, Jahangir Safi, Niaz Mohamed Miyasahib, and Sarah Strauven.

    In looking for ways to respond to the difficulties Afghan refugees are experiencing in Belgium, both related to fleeing their war-torn home country and rebuilding their lives in a new and foreign country, they have created a mobile and interactive exhibition.

    This small project is a citizen’s initiative framed within collective narrative practice and defined by volunteerism and informality. A crucial part of the exhibition is the definitional ceremonies that the group have come to understand as ‘rituals of hospitality’.

    These rituals represent an antidote to the negative effects of asylum policies: impoverished and damaged-centred single stories of their lives and identities on the one hand, and inhospitable experiences on the other hand. These rituals include the creation of receptive spaces, multi-textured stories, and art pieces that stir imagination and conversations that compel reflection. The group hopes to cultivate an active receptivity, openness, and wonderment in their ‘audiences as hosts’ that will inform how people will define their responsibility towards refugees in the future. Through visiting local communities with their exhibition, they aspire to bring about social change.


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    Living in stories: Embodiment in therapy through liturgical practice— Chad Loftis

    Since its inception, narrative therapy has not only been interested in meaning-making with language, but also with other cultural forms including ritual and ceremony. Drawing on this tradition, along with the work of thinkers outside the field, combined with a religious lexicon and several years of experience with ‘liturgical practice’, this article outlines not only the healing potential of therapeutic ceremony but also its political significance. From mock lawsuits to funeral-like mourning ceremonies for Joy and Freedom, this article outlines possibilities, hazards, and essential elements of ‘liturgical practices’, as well as potential categories of ceremony in keeping with common cultural practices, and examples of practice.


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    ‘When The Crisis broke out, our whole world went upside down’ The special skills and knowledge that are sustaining us during the economic crisis in Greece— Margarita Katsikadelis

    This paper details a project honouring Greek people’s skills of re-claiming their lives from the troubling effects of the recent financial crisis. Canvassing a process that used a questionnaire, collective documentation, and definitional ceremony, this work identifies and celebrates special skills and knowledges that sustain people during crisis.


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    Fascinating Racism in the age of the Greek crisis: Stories of resistance— Georgia Korre

    This paper describes a project undertaken by a part of the Antiracist Group of the University of Crete in the city of Rethymno between September 2012 and April 2013. Given that the onset of the Greek Financial Crisis has been accompanied by an increasing prevalence of racist and nationalistic discourses, this project intended to address the problem of racism and its multiple effects in our local community. We made use of specific narrative tools such as narrative documents, externalising conversations, and conversations that highlight unique outcomes. This paper is a presentation of our work in three parts. The title was inspired by Susan Sontag’s essay, Fascinating Fascism (1975).


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    Finding refuge: A travelling ‘Tree of Knowledge’— Aliki Meimaridou

    This paper traces the journey of a ‘Travelling Tree of Knowledge’. It represents an endeavour to identify, honour and exchange knowledge about what sustains interpreters who have previously been refugees and who are now working with refugees. Emerging from the author’s engagement in narrative therapy, it details a budding practice of documentation and exchange.


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    Letter writing in two contexts: Facilitating stories of resistance— Renee Butler

    This article explores some of the ways in which narrative therapy letter writing can assist in facilitating double-storied testimonies for women in two work contexts, family support work and crisis response. It briefly introduces the reader to some of the women and children who have been involved in this therapeutic letter-writing process and gives the reader a glimpse into some of the narrative letters that have been exchanged. It discusses how letters can richly acknowledge women’s skills and knowledges, especially when working in an environment with strict time pressures, and discusses some of the ways that narrative letters can be incorporated into a busy work environment..