• Definitional ceremonies as rituals of hospitality— Sarah Strauven Quick View

    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.

  • Didgeri, individual therapeutic conversations and No More Silence— Anthony Newcastle Quick View

    This paper describes work among a group of Aboriginal men who meet regularly in Brisbane. It interweaves stories of individual therapeutic conversations, the development of a community group called Didgeri, which connects people to culture and to each other, and the creation of a social action project to reduce the shame and silence experienced by Aboriginal men who were subjected to sexual abuse in childhood. It explores how narrative therapy ideas have informed this work.

  • Presenting the League of Parents and Small People Against Pocket Kering: Debuting the skills and knowledges of those who experience financial difficulties— Elizabeth Quek Ser Mui Quick View

    This paper describes a narrative collective practice model that was applied in a Singapore community that experiences financial difficulties and other complex issues. The ‘Pocket Kering’ (‘no money’) project involved four stages. First, conversations with families in their homes elicited rich descriptions of their experiences of Pocket Kering, and the skills, values and knowledges they had employed to respond to it. The second part of the project brought the ‘small people’ together in a day camp where they engaged with the ‘Pocket Kering Monster’. The children identified and shared their ‘superpowers’: the skills, values and knowledges they had used to shrink the monster when it had appeared in their lives. The third part was called ‘Operation M’ (for money). The children were employed to plan and run a small income-generating project using their superpowers. The final stage of the project entailed a definitional ceremony in which the stories of the children were told and retold, and their preferred identities were acknowledged by an audience of community members and parents. The paper concludes with critical reflections on the project, including considerations of power and privilege.

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