Category Archives: social construction

PATH experiments…

2019-03-02 21.20.17

The idea of a “pocket PATH” – a little pamphlet to remind one of the seven steps in a PATH – came from one of our first teachers, Joanne Proctor.  When, years later, the one she’d made was tattered and had been copied so many times it was hard to read it, I decided to make a new “zine” version.

Over the last 23 or so years I’ve done at least hundreds if not thousands of PATHs…  sometimes I think oh it couldn’t be that many but then I remember times when I did a few PATHs a day for a few days and think, well, maybe…

And, still, there’s always something to learn.  In one of the small community based research projects we are working on, thanks to a grant from the Taos Institute, we are following social constructionist research principles – we are working in “future forming” ways with a small church congregation.  We’ve had a great community dialogue and pinned down some themes to follow, and one of the things that has come up is the need for some strategic planning.   In many research methods one would wait until the dust had settled and that slice of reality had been pinned down like a butterfly in a frame before going on.  It wouldn’t really be the job of a researcher to be “helpful”.  The need for a strategic plan might go into the recommendations section…  and one would wish them luck.

But here we are, in relationship, ready to go, so when the idea came up, we offered several strategic planning models that we might work on together.  Liz and Barb, familiar with PATH as a format used for and with people with disabilities for about four decades, thought it would be a great method; the church agreed.  That Barb and Liz can see that the method, almost always used for individuals, can also work for groups, projects and strategic planning, is evidence of their active and thoughtful participation as co-facilitators.   PATH is a great tool – it can be directed towards lives, networks, projects big and small, and can involve almost unlimited numbers of people if that is planned for.  It was developed and continues to evolve with the folks from Inclusion Press.

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Me, Nova and Liz working on some planning.  A thing that was cool about this was that Liz decided to facilitate, rather than do the graphic recording.  And she was amazing and created such a safe space for dreaming and went directions that were really inspiring.

However, no one in the congregation knows about PATH.  There was a time when I liked the mystery and the way a group discovered the process of what we were doing – I liked mapping it out in fine pencil lines and the tension of the participants as the diagram of the planning, drawn with markers in images, formed a circle, and then an arrow, moving from “now” to a positive and possible future.  It was like a performance!  Tomorrow, however, we need people to quickly understand our method and walk with us as they lead us, moving into planning based on whatever their dream is as a group.

So we decided to distribute a little pamphlet about PATH which I’ve been using in trainings.  You can find a copy of it here, at the bottom of the page, or here, with the link to my chapter from the anthology, Drawn Together Through Visual Practice, edited by Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird, Sam Bradd and Jennifer Shepherd.  We’ve never tried this before but, at best, it will give people a way to stay on top of where we are in the process.

We will see how it goes!

We’re also getting ready to host another PATH training workshop.  Check here for dates, costs and place.  It’s looking like a really interesting group of people so far!  Come and be part of it.

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Happy Family Day & Happy Chinese New Year’s – Year of the Monkey

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I am fascinated by this image, and this lawsuit.  It seems to me this raises some questions of what it means to be human…  [Also, this is a Macaque, and is that a monkey (yes).]  Or perhaps interdependence, my favourite topic….   and it’s about social media, which is another interest of mine.  Selfies 2.0 – to whom do they belong?

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You can read more about this here.

It’s not all as silly a stream of thinking as it might seem at first…  it harkens back to some of our earlier social history of segregation.

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How we historically othered and marginalised people, instead of looking to find and build on their gifts and assets.  How we continue to do so – described by the brilliant Eve Tuck, one of my favourite researchers.  And why we possibly are motivated to do so – in a Garfinkel paper that has been crucial to my thinking for about 30 years.

So, Family Day in British Columbia, and perhaps a time to think more about who might be part of our families and how we might foster a future of belonging, as described by Ken Gergen in what has been my favourite paper for two years now…

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Syllabus #CLMOOC

Then I thought, hey And courses I’m teaching – person centred planning for folks with disabilities, leadership and developmental studies through the lifespan – are really exciting too.  As usual I am thoughtful about how the support of folks with disabilities, one of the most lively, joy-provoking things to do, is made dull with old scripts based on needs and lacks and deficits…    and perhaps that’s the point?  If we were to really throw ourselves into the inspiration that folks with disabilities give us – I don’t mean by this a kind of disability-porn too-easy sleaziness – the way they and their families view the world and make it possible for all of us to view it in new ways that insist on our changing ourselves and the world so that it can belong to everyone.
And, if you are already working in the field you might want to check out Douglas College’s PLAR – Prior Learning and Recognition – because you can get credit for your experience that you can use towards a diploma or a degree.
Also I need to make a really great video.  You can see more of Mike’s work in Digital Ethnography here.
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