As editors of this special edition of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, we are delighted to present this collection of papers written by new authors representing very different countries: Australia, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, and the USA.
If you’re at all like us, you are likely to think that every edition of the IJNTCW is pretty special, so you may be wondering what’s so special about this one.
This edition includes papers only by Indigenous people, women, people of colour, Muslim and LGBTIQ people, and those who live at the intersection of more than one of these identities. As editors, we curated this edition to feature the work of people who occupy social locations that are often left out of professional spaces such as publications and conferences.
In fact, everyone involved with this edition has an affiliation with one or more of those identity groups. This includes the people who reviewed the manuscripts, the people who wrote reflections for each paper, and the people who served as mentors to some of the authors. It also includes the three of us on the editorial team. This journal is special because of its intentional space-making.
The journal opens with Vanessa Davis’s paper, ‘My meeting place methodology: Re-arming ourselves with cultural knowledge, spirituality and community connectedness’. Vanessa introduces her creative and powerful practice of integrating Aboriginal art with narrative approaches in her work with Aboriginal children.
Angela Voght offers a personal account of her experience with identity, culture, connection and loss. ‘Re-membering and honouring those who come before and after us’ invites us into Angela’s work, which weaves traditional First Nations practices with narrative approaches.
Justin Butler’s ‘The alignment of Aboriginal mapping and narrative practice’ considers the relationship between Aboriginal ways and narrative practice. Justin places particular emphasis on the cultivation of decolonising and indigenising practices
with Aboriginal communities.
In ‘Tree of Life with young Muslim women in Australia’, Ola Elhassan and Lobna Yassine deconstruct the totalising discourses in uencing Muslim young people.
They describe how they integrated elements of Islam with the Tree of Life methodology in their work with Muslim youth, in order to open up a space, and an appreciation for, alternative knowledges, alternative stories, and a stronger sense of community among the young women.
Jagur McEwan’s paper, ‘The momentary hap of Bother’, takes us down the ‘Rascal hole’. Here, Jagur integrates narrative practice and queer theory to offer us a ‘love letter to the heart’ of their work as a youth worker with queer young people struggling on identity’s edges.
Continuing the theme of integrating queer theory with narrative practice, Julie Tilsen (a member of the editorial team) interviews Janet Bystrom, the founder of RECLAIM, an agency that serves queer youth. Janet describes how the ethics and politics that underpin narrative practice inform the agency’s organisational practices.
Jacqueline Sigg takes readers on a journey deconstructing medicalised discourses and their effects on identity. In ‘Walking away from “Illness Fears”: Glimpses of a narrative journey towards personal agency and justice’, Jaqueline shares her therapeutic work with a man reclaiming his life from fear of illness.
In ‘Putting down the burden: Outsider-witness practices, a family, and HIV/AIDS’, Lauri Appelbaum describes how she partnered with David, her client, and his family to preserve his stories before they were lost to AIDS dementia. Together, they create a de nitional ceremony though which David and his family re-membered each other.
Last, but not least, Elizabeth Quek invites us into the imaginative world of young people in Singapore who use superhero powers to take a stand against ‘Pocket Kering’ (‘no money’). ‘Presenting the League of Parents and Small People Against Pocket Kering: Debuting the skills and knowledges of those who experience nancial dif culties’ serves as an important reminder of the very real effects of a very good imagination.
We hope that the ideas and practices presented in this issue offer inspiration for you, and the communities you work in, to engage in critical and meaningful conversations together. We also hope that this collection of papers – authored by and reflected on by women, Muslims, people of colour, Indigenous people, and LGBTIQ people – will open doors to ways of knowing and being in the world that may be new to you.
We would like to acknowledge the Kaurna people who are the Traditional Custodians of the Land on which Dulwich Centre stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders of the Kaurna Nation, both past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders.