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Canvas mirrors: cultural-identities-in-transition as reflected through art Noble, Steven Edward 1998-06-12

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CANVAS MIRRORS: Cultural-Identities-In-Transition As Reflected Through Art by STEVEN EDWARD NOBLE B.A.A., Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, 1986 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUniEMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Educational Studies (Adult Education) and Department of Counselling Psychology We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December, 1998 © Steven Edward Noble, 1998 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT After immigrants haul bags from the luggage carousel, hail a cab and sally forth to temporary accommodation in Vancouver, they find life here is not the same as at their recently departed home. There have been many attempts to study "culture shock," "identity-in- transition," or other changes experienced by immigrants. In many studies the person-in-transition is interviewed or completes questionnaires. Whilst useful, these studies often mask deeper structures, dilemmas and other conflicts lying beneath words used to describe identity conflicts. This study was designed to remedy this limitation. The problem and methodology was informed by theory derived from art therapy, cross-cultural psychology, adult education and the psychology of identity. Art therapy was central to the analysis performed on data provided by three participants. The other theories helped shape the conceptual framework. The goal of the study was to better understand internal conflicts experienced by people in transition. It was not a study of immigrant settlement. Rather, the purpose was to explore meanings, blocked by language. The methodology was an artistic process which unmasked relevant emotion and provided a visual record of change. The purpose was achieved by chronicling the experience of two immigrant women and myself as a gay man. The stories of these people became fundamentally and profoundly related. Paintings were produced over an eight week period. Each artist's statement about their own creative projects was included as a second source of data. The paintings were interpreted in accord with models and procedures derived from art therapy. The results of this study stem from a thematic interpretation of the symbolic images and words incorporated by each of the participants. All participants experienced a sense of social invisibility pr "strangeness." During the eight week period each participant appeared to (and confirmed that they) developed a more inclusive world view. They spoke of their ability to accept change, to embrace others, to attempt new projects. The concept of "home" as source of grounding was critical. However, they also spoke about "colliding" with others. Numerous minor themes were also disclosed. As well, the author showed the strengths and limitations of using artwork as "data." In general, the decision to have people paint their lives was amply rewarded by the richness of the data derived. This was a study of two recently arrived immigrants and one gay man. However, in the future both the conceptual approach and methodology could be applied to other forms of identity "discontinuity" or upheaval experienced by people crossing boundaries, For example, there are issues pertaining to sexuality, class, race, gender and other matters that beg for this kind of attention. Art can inform, teach and record. Other artistic processes need to be explored, such as theatre, music, dance, sculpture, and still art forms. When people move among cultures they rarely study their experiences. Rather, they learn in nonformal and informal settings. It would be instructive to use art to study these learning processes. In the postmodern state numerous borders are collapsing. People are expected to cross them with minimal fuss and few casualties. Learning helps the border crossing process. Adult educators are probably less wedded to words (such as in lectures) than other branches of education. Hence, using art should not pose an enormous challenge. The notion of the complete learner takes on a profound significance when art is used. At the dawn of the 21s1 century it would be useful to determine the extent to which art brings into consciousness dimensions of the adult learner usually concealed in more traditional class settings. The use of art challenges the hegemony of talk therapy or talking heads as teachers. It embraces emotional and intuitive learning. Both, potentially, are powerful and key future areas of adult education research. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii TABLE OF CONTENTS iv LIST OF TABLES xii LIST OF FIGURES xiiPREFACE xviii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xxDEDICATION xxiii CHAPTER ONE WISHING FOR A GARDEN 1 Overarching Question 1 Research Purpose 5 Method of Study 6 Importance/Significance for Praxis 7 Delimitations/Limitations of the Study 8 Terms and Definitions 9 CultureIdentityLanguage 10 MetaphorIntersecting Identities 11 Cross Cultural 2 Acculturation/Diversity Programs 12 Home Culture 1V Host Culture 13 Study OutlineCHAPTER TWO MARY, MARY QUITE CONTRARY 16 Autobiographical Introduction 1Earliest Memories 7 First Life Transition 20 Farm Life 24 Theatre School 35 Defeat and Retrenchment 39 Ryerson Polytechnical Institute 40 Beginning Work Life 44 Corporate Life 5 Moving to Vancouver 50 Provincial Royal Commission on Workers' Compensation Issues 54 Meeting Orchid on the Internet 57 Couple 59 Journey Home 62 CHAPTER THREE GLEANED FROM THE GARDEN CATALOGUES 67 Introduction 6Personal Thematic and "Tension" Outline 68 Culture 72 Language 6 Identity 80 vi Intersecting Identities 86 Culture Shock 8 Cross Cultural Programming 95 Cross-Cultural Counselling 9 Art Therapy 105 Summary 117 CHAPTER FOUR HOW TO GROW A VIBRANT GARDEN 119 Overarching Question 11Introduction 119 My Biases/Tensions and Their "Bracketing" 120 The Place of Study 127 The Study Participants 131 Study Timeline 132 My Role As Researcher/Participant 133 The Painting Process and Aspects of Art 135 The Journey of the Study's Path 140 Summary 143 CHAPTER FIVE THE WORK INVOLVED IN THE PLANTING OF SEEDS 145 Ethics Review Process 14Data Collection 147 Self Disclosures Within the Study 148 Accessing the Field 160 Putting the Call Out: Gathering the Participants 169 Initial One on One Meetings.. .Jasmine and Zinnia 174 vii CHAPTER SIX FULL BLOOM OF PARTICIPANTS' IDENTITIES 184 Introduction 18Jasmine 5 February 20, 1998 192 February 23, 1998 193 February 27, 1998 196 March 6, 1998 197 March 10, 1998 198 March 13, 1998 200 March 17, 1998 201 March 24, 1998 204 April 6, 1998 207 April 8, 1998 20April 13, 1998 208 Zinnia 209 February 13, 1998 , 211 February 17, 1998 214 March 6, 1998 215 March 3 and 8, 1998 22April 19, 1998 233 Sunflower 251 Body Image One 253 Home 254 Farm Memories 256 viii Hard Flower 258 Religion 260 Sketch of a Small Town 262 First Childhood Memory 264 Peek 266 Seaweed 7 Pinwheel 268 Balloons 9 False Smiles 270 Balance and Tension 271 Balance 272 Seasons 3 The Eye 275 FireGroup Process 277 Mosaic 278 Body Image Two 280 Workshop Closure and Celebration 281 Postscript: Where Are They After the Study? 282 CHAPTER SEVEN GATHERING THE HARVEST 284 Introduction 28Jasmine 6 As Seen Through Painting 28Shadow 287 ix Flower 289 As Seen Through Words 290 Crowds 29Invisibility 291 FlowerToo Much Multiculturalism 292 Home 293 Departing and Arriving Passports of Self. 293 Passport of Pivotal Painting 294 Zinnia 295 As Seen Though Paintings 29Swirls 296 Roots 7 Splatters 298 EtchingsAs Seen Through Words 299 Bush FiresHome 300 Social Stranger 30Collisions 3 Departing and Arriving Passports of Self 305 Passport of Pivotal Painting 307 Sunflower 308 As Seen Though Paintings 30X Eye : 310 Vines 311 WashesAs Seen Through Words 312 Social Strangers 314 Letting Go 315 Departing and Arriving Passports of Self. 317 Passport of Pivotal Painting 318 Identity 319 Culture Shock 321 Gender 3 Sexuality 326 Age 330 Religion/Spirituality 332 Work 334 Ethnicity 6 Closing Word 337 CHAPTER EIGHT PONDERING THE PROCESS OF GARDENING 340 Reflections About Painting Reflectively 340 Observations of Interactions Within the Study 350 Reflections On The Writing Process 365 Summary 366 CHAPTER NINE IMPLICATIONS FOR FURTHER GARDENING EFFORTS 368 xi Introduction 368 For TheoryFor Practice 372 For Further Study 4 CHAPTER TEN REFERENCES 378 xii LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Example of cross cultural process 13 Table 2 Racial/cultural identity development 84 Table 3 Five Stages of Culture Shock 9XIII LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 How this study and thesis can work in relationship with you xx Figure 2 Painting by Sunflower, entitled, Couple 59 Figure 3 Painting by Sunflower, entitled, Journey Home 62 Figure 4 The Cass Homosexual Identity Development Model 86 Figure 5 Kitsilano Community Centre Room Rental Agreement 128 Figure 6 Page one of Call for Participants Handout/Advertisement 129 Figure 7 Page two of Call for Participants - Participant Background Inventory 130 Figure 8 Blank "Diagram of Key Interactions" Diagram 157 Figure 9 News story appearing in the Vancouver Echo 164 Figure 10 Jasmine's Completed Participant Background Inventory 185 Figure 11 Jasmine's First Body Image 186 Figure 12 Flipchart Notes from Jasmine's First Body Image, February 13, 1998.187 Figure 13 Jasmine's Letter to Me 190 Figure 14 Jasmine's First Picture, Ski Hill 191 Figure 15 Picture Two, On Horse Alone 192 Figure 16 Flipchart Notes from Jasmine, February 20, 1998 192 Figure 17 Flipchart Notes from Jasmine, February 23, 1998 193 Figure 18 Painting Three, Fireworks 194 Figure 19 Flipchart Notes from Jasmine, February 23, 1998 194 Figure 20 Painting, Religious Decisions 195 Figure 21 Verse 15 of The Gardener by Rabindranath Tagore (1881 -1941) First Asian to Receive Nobel Prize for Literature (1913); India's Poet Laureate (source:http://www.iit.edu/~shartan/tagore/gardener.html) 196 xiv Figure 22 Painting, Jasmine's Arrival 197 Figure 23 Painting, Just Do It 198 Figure 24 Painting, You Are Not Alone 199 Figure 25 Painting, Shadows Within Jasmine. 200 Figure 26 Painting, Femininity 201 Figure 27 Painting, Hard Shell of Interactions 202 Figure 28 Painting, Cold Outside. Warm Heart 203 Figure 29 Painting, My Racial Distance 20Figure 30 Painting, Public Park Kiss 204 Figure 31 Painting, Future of Work 205 Figure 32 Painting, Chinese Flowers 20Figure 33 Painting, Thoughts From Painting 206 Figure 34 Painting, Elements of Self. 20Figure 35 Final Thoughts on the Back of one of J.. .smine's Paintings 206 Figure 36 Thoughts from Painting: Elements of Self 207 Figure 37 Painting, Sending Flowers Home 20Figure 38 Painting, Looking Back to Move Forward 207 Figure 39 Jasmine's Final Body Image 208 Figure 40 Zinnia's Participant Background Inventory Form 209 Figure 41 Zinnia's First Body Image 210 Figure 42 Flipchart of Zinnia's Thoughts on Her First Body Image 211 Figure 43 Painting, Burning Bush Fires of Australia 214 Figure 44 Flipchart Notes From Zinnia-Viking Invasion. February 20, 1998 216 Figure 45 Flipchart Notes from Zinnia, February 20, 1998 217 XV Figure 46 Painting, Viking Invasion 217 Figure 47 Painting, The Year Gone By 219 Figure 48 Flipchart Notes from Zinnia, February 27, 1998 220 Figure 49 Painting, Mixed Mash of Memories of Australia 221 Figure 50 Painting, The Ammunition: The Ammunition of the Arrow of Adventure 224 Figure 51 Painting. Judgment Day 226 Figure 52 Painting, Soul Nurturer 227 Figure 53 Painting, Indigo Girls 230 Figure 54 Painting. Frozen From Female Fiends 232 Figure 55 Painting, Bohemian Woman 234 Figure 56 Flipchart Notes From Zinnia On March 17, 1998 235 Figure 57 Paintings. Pieces of Bohemia 23Figure 58 Painting, Putting Up Boundaries 237 Figure 59 Painting. Video Fight 238 Figure 60 Flipchart Notes From Zinnia in April, 1998 239 Figure 61 Painting, Work Worlds 23Figure 62 Painting, Zinnia's Canvas 240 Figure 63 Painting, Zinnia's Final Painting, untitled 240 Figure 64 Flipchart Notes From Zinnia, April, 1998 241 Figure 65 Painting, Zinnia's Final Body Image 242 Figure 66 Flipchart Notes On Themes To Explore From Jasmine/Zinnia, Although Most of the Input Was From Jasmine, February 13, 1998 243 Figure 67 Flipchart Notes Predominantly From Zinnia On Issues and Themes Upon Immigrating to Canada, February 13, 1998 244 Figure 68 Flipchart Notes On Further Themes Raised by Zinnia, February 27, 1998 245 xvi Figure 69 Three Panels of an eight foot long Group Painting, by the three group members, entitled, Earliest Childhood Memories .February 27, 1998 ....246 Figure 70 Flipchart Notes of Zinnia's First Life Story. March 6, 1998 249 Figure 71 Further Flipchart Notes on Zinnia's First Life Story. March 6, 1998 250 Figure 72 Flipchart Notes from Jasmine on her Childhood Memories, March 6, 1998 25Figure 73 Participant Background Inventory form for Sunflower 251 Figure 74 Painting, Sunflower's Body Image One 252 Figure 75 Painting, Home 254 Figure 76 Painting, Farm Memories 256 Figure 77 Painting, Hard Flower 8 Figure 78 Painting. Organizing Religion to Organize Intolerance 260 Figure 79 Painting. Sketch of a Small Town 261 Figure 80 Piece of Automatic Writing from "Crossing Borders" conference entitled, Home. June 1998 263 Figure 81 Painting by Sunflower in two panels, First Childhood Memory 264 Figure 82 Painting, Peek 265 Figure 83 Painting, Seaweed 7 Figure 84 Painting. Pinwheel 268 Figure 85 Painting. Balloons 9 Figure 86 Painting, False Smiles 270 Figure 87 Painting. Balance and Tension 271 Figure 88 Painting, Balance 272 Figure 89 Painting, entitled, Seasons 273 Figure 90 Painting entitled, The Eye 274 xvii Figure 91 Painting, entitled Fire 275 Figure 92 Painting, entitled Group Process 276 Figure 93 Painting, entitled Mosaic 278 Figure 94 Painting, entitled Sunflower's Body Image Two 279 Figure 95 Page One of the Autogenics Script 344 Figure 96 Page Two of the Autogenics Script 345 Figure 97 Page Three of the Autogenics Script 346 Figure 98 Page Four of the Autogenics Script 347 Figure 99 Key Interactions Diagram, February 13/98 351 Figure 100 Key Interactions Diagram, February 16/98 352 Figure 101 Key Interactions Diagram, February 20/98 353 Figure 102 Key Interactions Diagram, February 23/98 354 Figure 103 Key Interactions Diagram, March 2/98 355 Figure 104 . Key Interactions Diagram, March 6/98 356 Figure 105 Key Interactions Diagram, March 9/98 357 Figure 106 Key Interactions Diagram, March 13/98 358 Figure 107 Key Interactions Diagram, March 16/98 359 Figure 108 Key Interactions Diagram, March 20/98 360 Figure 109 Key Interactions Diagram, March 30/98 361 Figure 110 Key Interactions Diagram, April 4/98 362 Figure 111 Key Interactions Diagram, April 7/98 363 Figure 112 Key Interactions Diagram, April 12/98 364 XVIII PREFACE Welcome to a highly personal document involving a small group of disparate people journeying together along different paths. Paths that intersect for a brief period of time during a community painting/paint therapy program. Among this group you - yes -you looking down upon these pages - these words - will journey with us. We will experience laughter, tears, frustrations, successes, failures. These experiences may be limited to what has been described within this thesis, but, hopefully it will spark reflection upon your own experiences and tap into emotional experiences you see as being similar to those described by the study participants. This sounds ominously like, you guessed it - life. This Master's thesis, and the study it recounts, involves cross-cultural transitions and identities navigating cultural borders. These journeys are between Australia and Canada, as well as Taiwan and Canada. I also explore my identity through reflecting back while navigating among four themes which have profoundly shaped my sense of self. While travelling back and forth across these margins of difference, you, the reader, will experience and reflect, while turning the kaleidoscopic tumbler of your identity. In order to best illustrate this process you and I will be embarking upon this journey together. You have already found the Table of Contents, which will help when following my description. The paper is divided into ten chapters. Each of these sections stand on its own, in large part. Yet, the chapters also "speak" to one another as well. As seems to have become a habit within the world or reading books, one may feel that it is best to xix read each chapter sequentially. This is not the case. With the exception of reading the first chapter before the others, the rest of this thesis can be read in any order you wish, depending upon your interests. The issue this thesis explored was the internalization or meaning attributed to the experience of culture shock by two women recently arrived in Canada. The relevance of this transitional period upon the two participants was "mapped" through a trail of paintings-as-footprints they produced over time. The intention was also to bring to light experiences of the originator of this study as he experienced the newness of a same-sex relationship which began over the Internet. The two gay men (author and partner) were 4000 miles apart; painting was used to better understand how they came together and began a committed relationship. Because of the use of creative and artistic processes, the actions of the participants within this study were a mixture of conscious and unconscious thought and feeling; both being required in order to give the image placed upon their paper depth and significance. You, the reader, rather than being a passive onlooker standing among the shadows of the pages, will become a "mirror" through which the different parts of this thesis will become reflected - your mind becoming the "paper" upon which various etchings, hopefully, will appear. You have walked into the central position within our unfolding investigation! Exciting isn't it? Perhaps a picture would help here. It would look something like Figure one. XX Figure 1: How this study and thesis can work in relationship with you Interconnectedness of Three Components Because of the way this thesis has been structured, all tables, figures, samples of study materials, and diagrams will be included directly into the text, eliminating the need for appendices. A reference list (Chapter 10) appears at the end of the thesis. xxi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Through this process, my life has been brushed by many people who have helped me achieve everything 1 set out to fully experience. Above all, I wish to, most heartfully, thank the courage, honesty, intelligent insights, generosity, and beauty of two special and uniquely vibrant women: Jasmine and Zinnia. Their images, thoughts, and stories have been etched indelibly within my heart and memory. I, also, wish to thank the person Zinnia has recently married: Aster. I thank him for his patience while Zinnia spent many hours, over several weeks, away from him to paint and discuss her stories with Jasmine and me. Thanks to Roger Boshier for pushing and challenging me in the beginning, and throughout, and for helping in making this study such a joy to experience and chronicle. Thanks to my comprehensive-exam-turned-major-paper/thesis writing group consisting of Colleen Vaughan and Dale Baumgartner who, both, challenged, supported and encouraged me along the way. You, both, have huge shoulders, matched only by your hearts, as you gave much of yourselves. Thanks, also, for your patient ears and thoughtful eyes in helping me see what I became blinded to. Thank you. I want to thank all the people who, through the many months, added their collective wisdom to my pen as I wrote. It is because of this, their words have imbued my work with insights well beyond what I am singularly capable: Rita Acton (huge hugs!), John Gooding, Cynthia Andruske, the Vancouver Echo (for their story about my study), Maija Heimo, Kadi Purru, Alejandra Medellin, Warren Lind, and Shibao Guo for his translation of some of Jasmine's words. Thanks to my mother who, whenever I spoke to her always asked about my work before asking how I was doing - and who has always believed in my abilities. xxii Thanks to Ralf Hartmann, a dear friend of many, many years who challenged and pushed me all the way. And finally, to Orchid who had to live through the mountains of shifting papers, books, and articles, in addition to the many paintings upon various walls in order to take photographs of the art. Thanks for your patience as you uncovered used palettes of paints in the kitchen sink, half used bottles of paints in the most unusual places, my ongoing baking and food preparation for the various sessions and, my often complete distraction and absorption in what I was doing - and whose love knows no bounds as we continually forge our lives together into the steel of one. Thank you for being there and holding me when I was needing to take a step back from my work. You arrived in the beginning, as I was embarking upon my work in earnest and, yet, we not only survived, but we have and continue to flourish. My love for you, in so many ways, has deepened. "This is forever." xxiii DEDICATION I dedicate this to the memory of my father, "A.B.K.", whose forebears arrived in Canada, from Ireland's Potato Famine, in 1834 to settle in the Irish area of southern Ontario, after enduring the travesty of the treatment of Irish immigrants known by the words "Grosse He" in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. I dedicate this to my mother, "Miss G.", who emigrated, with her twelve brothers and sisters, from Jamaica forty years ago and with much good fortune married my father in a time when attitudes in Canada were somewhat harsher toward intermarrying. I dedicate this to your courage, your grace, your love and to your deep, enduring friendship. And, lastly, I dedicate this to "Orchid", Vin, the love of my life who emigrated from Cape Breton to Vancouver in order to begin our lives together, forever. "If you knew how much this moment means to me, and how long I have waited for your touch. If you knew how happy you are making me, I have never thought I would love anyone so much. Feels like home to me. Feels like I am on the way back to where I came from. Feels like home to me. " 1 CHAPTER ONE WISHING FOR A GARDEN Overarching Question How do "social strangers " come to understand the meaning of their "identities- in-transition " during the experience of reflection during an eight week painting workshop? What has prompted my study of the phenomenon described above was sparked by the transitions and socialization of my mother (and her 12 siblings) during her move from Jamaica in the early 1950's. Canada was a member of the British Commonwealth, just like the emerging nations in the Caribbean and Africa. Canada had decided to become a 'big sister' to the English-and French-speaking Caribbean, so this country, Canada, was seen as non-threatening: .. ..it had no colonial designs, unlike Britain, and it was not a military power seeking to dominate the region, unlike the United States, with its military bases scattered all over the region. And Canada was seemingly, a virgin country, with none of the violence we heard about in New York, Detroit, and other major U.S. centres (Foster, 1996, p.46). There were minimal offerings of cross-cultural programs available, then, to help adjust to Canadian society and culture. It was assumed that all immigrants would become assimilated into mainstream "Canadian" (here meaning white, North and Western European, male, straight, middle class) culture. To hold up a distinctive Canadian culture remains problematic because this country is made up of scores of different immigrant populations, each with their own response to their adopted homeland. My mother, along with her brothers and sisters were sent, by her parents, to Canada to get away from social, economic, and political instability in Jamaica. What many immigrants of the time faced has been described through a volume of narratives collected by Canadian historian/ethnographer/author, David Broadfoot in his book, The Immigrant Years. 2 Most newcomers knew very little about Canada, and what they had been told by harassed Canadian immigration officials in the refugee camps of Europe was largely inadequate. But they dug in to learn Canadian ways, realizing it was the only way to survive the first few years and prosper in the later ones... .It was all a matter of attitudes and adjustments; often the children of newcomers learned quickly and became the teachers of their elders. Loneliness was a major problem. Not only were there no friendly faces to be seen but there was the frustration of not being able to talk with others in one's own language. ... .Immigrants had come to Canada with the highest hopes and long-held dreams, but found themselves in an alien land. They learned that Canadians did not much care what happened to them, and this probably was a major aspect of culture shock. By their indifference, Canadians indicated to immigrants that they were on their own (Broadfoot, 1986, p. 57-58). By 1998, times had changed and; cross-cultural acculturation programs help immigrants "integrate'V'assimilate" into Canadian society. Without acculturation programs my maternal relatives have publicly assimilated into Canadian society. Yet in private, at home, many traditional Jamaican traditions have been sustained, in combination with our paternal Irish heritage. Growing up, I was fortunate to be imbued with a dual heritage as captured within our unique "home culture". Because my mother was such a central figure in my development, I identify more profoundly with her Jamaican ethnicity than with my father's Irish background. Newcomers thought that Canadians did not work hard enough and cited themselves as examples of good workers. They did not think that Canadians loved their country enough, either, and said they loved it more. Canada suited them just fine, and they made the most of it (Broadfoot, 1986, p. 203). There were many immigrants who arrived at about the same time as my mother and her family who also continue to hold similar sentiments. My mother remains one of the most strident supporters of Canada and believes there should be a single culture. She is extremely proud of the English heritage which imbues the histories of Jamaica and Canada, becoming extremely well read on how her new home country came to be, particularly around the time of World War U. She could have written this passage: So, on Remembrance Day, every November eleventh, no matter where I am , what I am doing, I go down to the Cenotaph for the memorial service. I do it for the hundreds and hundreds of Canadian boys who died freeing [and defending Europe] and for the way they were so good to us, helping us whenever they could [there is, also, a very strong tie between Jamaica and Nova Scotia]. I stand there with the people and I think of those days, and 1 say thank God for the Canadians, thank God for this country, thank God for deciding that I would come to Canada (Broadfoot, 1986, p.255). The book I have drawn these quotes from, The Immigrant Years, sums up the link between the time of my mother's arrival to the present day. The final passage is, ideally, how I feel Canada can move in the future: 1 know one thing now. The hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to Canada [specifically during the 1945 -67 time period] love this country. In fact, some of them think that those of us who are native-born do not love it enough. True, many immigrants still keep hold of a few ties to their homeland, such as the languages some speak at home, the special foods they eat and the celebration of their national days and festivals. It is their way of keeping alive the memory of other times and places: their roots. But Canada is their home. It has become all they had hoped it would when they were crossing the Atlantic, dreaming and wondering about the unknown land ahead. Deep in their 4 hearts, there is the sure knowledge and strong feeling that Canada has been good to them, so very good. They also know how hard they worked, the hardships they faced, the despair they knew at times; and they know they have earned the right to be Canadians. I understand a lot more about Canada now than I did when I started this [collecting stories of immigration from Europe to Canada in the 1945-67 time period]. I should. I had some very good teachers (Broadfoot, 1986, p.237). This finding of European immigrants who have lived in Canada for a long time showing a greater life satisfaction than more recent immigrants and many native born Canadians is reflected in the cross-cultural literature as well (Berry, Kim, & Boski, 1988). What do these shifts from one cultural milieu to another mean for people's identities? There are proponents who would suggest acculturation programs are a form of social injustice because many programs are implemented by mainstream society and their particular world views, thereby, imbuing the education with a sense of "indoctrination" or system of oppression (Berry, Kim, & Boski, 1988; Yoshikawa, 1988). This can place immigrants within the margins of society. This "forcible" movement to the cultural perimeters can serve to invalidate the identities of immigrants. If this happens, what does this mean for immigrants and the broader society? Opposing views may counter with the idea that acculturation programs help prepare immigrants for new, societal norms; it is an issue of integration, surviving, adapting, and living within new surroundings (Pedersen, 1994; Ishiyama, 1995). Do these programs intensify this loss or marginalization of identity or do they help in harmonizing their cultural identity within their new home and society? Do Canadian cultural socialization programs help or hinder in cross-cultural socialization as perceived by learners who are recent immigrants? What effects do these programs have upon immigrant cultural identities? 5 Research Purpose The purpose of this study was to explore and chronicle the experiences "social strangers" - in this instance recent immigrants and a gay man - had of culture shock as uncovered through the creative process. Central to the narrative was that concerning one's cultural identity as it found itself, suddenly and traumatically, in flux. It is important to note that although I rely upon recent immigrants as an important part of my study, I am not exploring any aspects of immigrant settlement. I have assumed that the process of settling in Vancouver has already occurred by the time I had met the immigrants contained in this thesis - and indeed this was the case. The focus, with regard to newcomers to Canada, is in how they view their identities and not the process of their settling, directly. The people, here from Australia and Taiwan, have found places to live, found employment and have established, in a limited degree, their social circles. It is their identities, as they reorient themselves in the new environment, I am most interested in. This study is somewhat autobiographical with myself telling the story of how my life has changed culturally. As a type of backdrop to the relating of these experiences I established an art/art therapy group for a group of recent immigrants to Vancouver. As I was exploring the shifts to my identity, the group was exploring their own. The three sets of descriptions involved the perceptions, interpretations, meanings, and themes surrounding cultural identities in transition as they passed through a, relatively, intermediate length (8 weeks) painting workshop with a two month post workshop meeting/celebration. Method of Study The exploration, which this study reflects, was carried out through a canvassing of the Lower Mainland for research participants. Each prospective participant went through an initial meeting with me to answer any questions they may have and to determine "fit" with the general purpose of the study. This initial meeting was followed by a group meeting in order for me to 6 describe my objectives and canvas the group for personal objectives they wanted to realize. Within this meeting, an initial "body painting" (see Chapter Four for a full description) was completed as a way to establish a base line to the study and to allow the participants to become acquainted with the painting process. Over an eight week period there were two painting workshops per week, each four hours in length. Within each of these painting sessions the time was carved up into three sections. The first period was for general discussion and to determine possible themes to be explored that particular day through the creative process. The second time span was initiated by having the group go through a visualization exercise to bring their focus directly into the room prior to the exercise of painting. Once the visualization was completed the group carried out art making for about two hours. This resulted in one or more paintings concerning the theme the group had earlier identified. The final part of each meeting was a debriefing together of what each person painted and what their picture meant for them. After each session each participant would take their paintings home to reflect upon them and record their thoughts to tape. Each was asked to think of two general areas while they reflected: 1) What thoughts were they thinking while they created, and/or what was the process that they experienced to create?, and 2) What did the painting mean to them upon reflection? Finally, two months after the workshops were finished the group came together in a form of celebration and as a way to bring forward any additional ideas they may have come up with as a result of the group's time together. Also, at that time a second "body image" was painted as a way to delineate the end of our time together. The participants, then, reflected on any movement between the first and second body image to determine what, if any, change in perspective had occurred to their senses of self over that time period. Importance/Significance For Praxis This study explored a specific cross-cultural educational process (painting) and the attribution of meanings uncovered through art to the learners' broader lives. Using these 7 revelations, as an entry point, there was a gentle "teasing apart" of these intersecting cultural-identities-in-flux. The program incorporated many of the principles of art therapy. The more "universal" aspects of identities described within these pages may resonate for you, the reader, or others known to you, or have experienced within your own life world. Studies have been done, and books written from educators' points of view, to the exclusion of learner reactions with regard to the appropriateness of the content or process dynamic (Acton, 1997; Bell, 1990; Cervero & Wilson, 1994). These programs often are designed with the learner holding a central position. Studies were rare which explored learners, themselves, crossing cultures (Berry, Kim, Boski, 1988; Church & Lonner, 1998; Furnham, 1989) - into their identities and their world views - to see what is happening on a cognitive and/or affective level. If an intervention was constructed to explore a person's identity and its unique kaleidoscope of attributes, would this validate the learner, allowing them to "integrate" into a new society and culture? What is their world view as a result of this intervention? Do learners adapt or resist? What aspects of an arts-based mediation, from the learners' point of view, had positive/negative affects upon their identities? Should the focus of a program be upon directively showing how to enter, accept and be an integral part of a new society? Should the focus be upon validating the learners' identities and their intersections of cultures which support these identities, thereby allowing the learner to gain entrance and purchase of the new culture in their own terms? Or should the focus contain a combination of the prior two points? As a result of this program do learners keep their identities intact? Do learners move to more inclusive world views? Delimitations/Limitations Of The Study Because this was a phenomenologically descriptive study, the results may have resonance for individuals in similar situations. However, they cannot be projected to a larger, 8 specific or general population. The perceptions, interpretations, and meanings are most relevant to participants within this study. The focus of this journey was not to generalize. Rather, the prime concern was to maintain the highest level of authentic description and interpretation by relying on participants' voices. Because, both, interpretations and descriptions were restricted by the participants' personal histories and world views, the research process was limited by this social situatedness. The journey I took with the study participants, using this particular research process as the mode of transportation, allowed the raising of voices often forced to the margins of discourse. The attached meanings supporting these personal experiences were, also, articulated by these people. These perceptions may resonate a reminiscent chord for some readers who may share comparable experiences and who have attributed significance to these histories. Cross-cultural experiences of readers may have resulted from moving from one country to another, moving from one region to another within one country, the result of the "coming out" process (the public and/or self acknowledgment of one's self as being homosexual), the result of recently retiring, or the result of having become disabled, among many other "cultural" transitions. The uniqueness of each of these transitions provides different sets of circumstances because of contexts and the personalities and cultures of the person involved. To view these transitions in a similar manner can potentially serve to essentialize the transitions as one form of change. The danger being that if these shifts are viewed the same, it may be considered that the programming established to address these needs will not fit appropriately and cause more harm than instill good. As a result these educational interventions can become oppressive in their own right, despite the adult educator wishing to assist the learner. Another key limitation to this study was the reliance upon participants being fluent in spoken English. This fluency could have come from either English as a first or second language. If English was their second language, as was the case with Jasmine, there was a need, at times, to have words and/or phrases translated from her first language because of a difficulty to translate into English. Translations can never be exact and so those provided were an approximation of Jasmine's Taiwan equivalent. Because of this restriction in language, I believe that the nuance of language has been lost. Each language relies upon a unique set of referents stemming from its specific cultural heritage, socialization, and symbolism which often cannot be translated between or among languages. In part, the use of art and art therapy has been used to counter some of the effects of this potential loss as people from dissimilar cultures endeavour to communicate among one another. Terms and Definitions The defined terms, which follow, were the key concepts I found needed to be clarified. As the study progressed additional words and definitions were included for clarification. The following, has become the final list of terms and their definitions: Culture: Communicable sum of inherited (meaning the experience of receiving something from a predecessor, biologically or socially) ideas, beliefs, values and knowledge which constitute the shared bases of social action in order for the group of people to survive the environment within which it finds itself (Collier & Thomas, 1988; McLeod, 1987; Pedersen, 1997; Ting-Toomey & Chung, 1996). This definition was used to broadly encompass, not only race, colour, ethnicity, but includes, also, gender, age, religion, sexuality, socio-economic class, type of disability someone may have, or any group that has a common, unique structure of communication for the purposes of social action and survival. Identity: A combination of ideas about "being" and norms for "acting" in the world (Collier & Thomas, 1988). It can, also, be synonymous with "self-concept". Self-concept 10 is that construction of aspects of the self, whether determined from information received from outside one's self (Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1997) or the imaginings one conceives for one's own image. This perception continues over time -and others recognize this same image continually over time as well (Erikson, 1980). The understanding of one's self requires that one's entity be understood by another (Westwood & Ishiyama, 1990). This is different from a social identity defined as "that part of an individual self-concept which stems from their knowledge of their membership in a social group together with the values and emotional significance attached to that membership" (Gudykunst & Schmidt, 1988, p. 5). Language: The communicable medium by which social information is relayed (either through symbols, social interaction, or behaviour) from one person to another or from one social group to another group. This medium may contain symbols, such as images or pictures, letters or words, intonations, behaviours which hold a shared meaning for a defined group of people and this shared meaning has been inherited or passed on. The meaning may be unique to one or more groups of people. Language provides cues that allow others to determine if the speaker is a member of an in-group or an out-group. Language is the system of symbols and behaviours used to inform and construct one's identity within the broader culture (Gudykunst & Schmidt, 1988; Westwood & Ishiyama, 1990). Language and culture reciprocally influence each other. For example, culture influences, or provides the lens through which communication takes place (Gudykunst, Ting-Toomey, & Nishida, 1996). Metaphor: The figurative conceptualization of one thing (primarily abstract) or person communicable in terms of another more concrete form which, in turn, constitutes a 11 learning device for organizing shared dialogue and/or social interaction in cultural communication (Anderson, 1989;Lubart & Getz, 1997) Intersecting Identities: This is the "overlapping" of two or more "cultures" (broadly defined earlier) or systems of privilege and/or oppression which organize a multi-faceted composite of one's self. Another way of saying this is describing someone's positionality of identity. All of us have multiple components to our identities which contain machinations which repress our abilities and potentials, i.e. gay, person who identifies themselves as being someone of colour, or poor, single, Hispanic mother, or senior, female, wealthy, someone who is paraplegic, or other component of overall intersection of identity. In some of the literature there appears to be an assumption that all people experience oppression in similar ways, because of similar sources; these similar oppressions result in similar outcomes (Tisdell, 1993). While this postulate may be true, because of the uniqueness of each person's individuality and life circumstance, I would conjecture that each "cultural" group and individual would experience oppression in substantively different ways as well. Interlocking systems of sources of identity can magnify or mitigate one's oppression depending upon the context being experienced at the time. Working within interlocking systems of oppression does not allow for one source of oppression to be given greater or lesser importance. As you, the reader, take this in think about your own positionality and reflect upon which influences or personal cultures have greaterst personal significance. Of added interest to me were the "intersections" of "cultural" identities. By intersections I mean how the dynamics of one's "race", colour, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, and class combine to raise and lower one's position of privilege given a specific context. Intriguing are how these 12 overlay the traditional notions of culture to form a provisional identity which can provide contradictions and tensions through experiencing an overlapping private "self in conjunction with the more public and social world views. Cross Cultural: Refers to the experiencing of the process of aligning with or moving/attempting to move from one's own value system, ideation, way of knowing, or belief system into another individual's or group's system. This movement does not have to be a success, but does have to involve two differing world views and some form of "language" (defined earlier) and/or mediation of understanding which allows movement from one culture to another (or more than one culture) (Pedersen, 1997; Zapf, 1991). Acculturation/Diversity Programs: Refers to some form of offering an educational intervention (formal, informal, or non-formal) which allows learners to better understand another group's world view so that the learners, upon completion of the intervention, can better incorporate the new world view or culture into their existing one. When this incorporation is successful, the learner can adapt themselves more easily, as required, into another group's environment/world view. This, in turn, allows for greater coherency so that most communication is better understood by members of the new cultural milieu (Berry, Kim, Boski, 1988; Yoshikawa, 1988). Home Culture: During cross-cultural movement the culture which was the main source of a person's socialization, (generally speaking where the person grew up) is generally referred to as the person's home culture. This could include any of the categories found within the broad definition of culture. 13 Host Culture: During any cross-cultural movement the culture which was not the main source of socialization. Rather, this is the culture which the person has entered at a later point in his/her life. This new world view being examined, communicated with, or directly experienced, with the idea of learning about it, is the host culture regardless of the permanence of the association. Table 1: Example of cross cultural process Home Culture Host Culture Working woman rvcuicu rcnsiunci Married Man with Children Single Gay Male with Children Young Female Athlete Young Female Paraplegic Professional Man in Egypt Unemployed Egyptian in Canada This movement may be reversed, in some instances, should a person move back to their home culture (in some instances this is not possible). There can also be re-entry adjustments if the period of absence has been long enough or for the person who "comes out" as being gay . Once removed from the environment as in the former case, or once publicly declaring one's self as gay or lesbian, the context is shifted so that any attempt to re-establish one's self in the former milieu in precisely the same way is lost. Study Outline The outline of this thesis has traversed the following path. There is, in the next chapter, a detailed narrative of my life history. This has been done for you to get a better understanding of some of the experiences which have shaped who I have become and how I continue to develop. 14 My life story has been included as a focal point from which the study participants are used as a counterpoint. The study, itself, likewise has been shaped by these experiences. The literature review contained within chapter three discusses aspects of identity, language issues, art therapy, and cross-cultural counselling, as they pertain to the immigration experience. Also examined are looked at will be issues surrounding cultural identity formation and the concept of intersecting identities. The fourth chapter explores the research methodology used within this study; in this instance, art therapy. A detailed description of how the study was carried out is delineated. Considerations I contemplated in constructing the study such as timeline, number of participants and the format of the workshops from which the study results emanate have all been described. The fifth chapter explores some of my "on the ground" reflections of what occurred while organizing and setting up this study. Contained within this chapter are my reflections of my experiences connected to carrying out the academy's ethics review process, how I found my participants, and the initial meetings with the people who informed this study. The sixth chapter contains the stories and experiences, in the participants' own words, as uncovered through the procedures outlined in Chapter Four and as they relate to the central focus of the study. The raw data in the form of pictures, participant interpretations, synopsis of field notes, and any extra notes the participants provided constitute this section. The seventh chapter captures the "analytical" discussion. This evaluation begins with a discourse of some of the broad themes each participant revealed, as I saw them, through their paintings, and words. Following this there is an incorporation of the literature as described in Chapter Three and how it relates to my impressions of the themes discussed. 1 will not be comparing the output of the participants. Each will be discussed, separately, because each was an 15 experience unto themselves in how each participant interacted with another. The chapter concludes with a brief recapitulation of the themes I saw as being raised through the experiences of the participants. The eighth chapter contains reflections with regard to the study itself. Reflecting back upon the painting process, the interactions within each session, and about how I approached the writing process. This served as a way of tying up final thoughts before moving into the final summary chapter. The closing chapter covers three areas: implications with regard to theory, implications with regard to practice, and, finally, implications for potential areas for further study as a result of this study. As a means to engage you, the reader, with this study and the road travelled, the study outline serves as a rough map of things to come. The idea is to show you, the reader, that nothing is completely fixed or necessarily as it first seems. You, the reader, can now relive with this study's group what was experienced and, perhaps, will find yourself thinking and pondering your own life and culture as you discover those within this study. If you, the reader, find yourself peeling back a few layers of your own cultural positionality and thinking "Ah ha!" then the trip will have been well worth it and in some small measure I will feel that I have succeeded in what I set out to do in reporting my study back to you in this way 16 CHAPTER TWO MARY, MARY QUITE CONTRARY Autobiographical Introduction What follows is one description of my life up to the present (38 years old). For the purposes of maintaining some privacy, I will be introducing you to my partner, code-named "Orchid." My "code-name" for the purposes of this study, generally, is "Sunflower". While the mere fact of placing words on paper indicates a level of interpretation, 1 will endeavour to keep "explicit" interpretation to a minimum. As Foucault (1980) indicates, when reading the writing of another we must not only read the words, but, also why specific vocabulary was chosen and why others remain invisible. As you, the reader, continue exploring this study you will, undoubtedly, do the same. My intent is simple; to describe my life. 1 have placed my review in a separate, and early, chapter of this study instead of attempting to weave it throughout the main body of my thesis text, because I believe who I am and how my voice has been shaped over the years, is important, but not central. You, the reader, need to understand, to some degree, who I perceive myself as being and where I come from. So I draw upon memory. Most of the activity in your brain relies upon memory. That takes energy. Have you ever noticed that when you're tired and there's silence in your brain, you begin to sing? That's good health taking over. The tensions of serious thought are being released through play... .They say that loss of memory is not to know who you are. Then, I suppose, it has to follow that we are what we remember. I can believe that. I mean, it's very easy for me to imagine forgetting my name....it would worry the hell out of me if I couldn't remember the smell of the house where I grew up, or the sound of my father playing the piano, or the tune 17 of his favourite song....People are the landscape of memory. Without the benefit of time and place, they are forced to play the scenery themselves. All the information they can give you is there in their faces and in their names. (Findley, 1990, p 4-11). By placing my story within a distinct chapter, the narrative serves as a foundation without "becoming" the research. And you, the reader, will also be able to see how my memory shapes who I am and how I shape my memory in turn. The way I have chosen to structure this story is by outlining major transitions within my life (albeit there are many minor ones as well). Within each transition I will describe vignettes of my life from within each period. Earliest Memories I was born in 1960 in North Vancouver. At this point in Vancouver's history North Vancouver was a small town outside the main city surrounded by forest; the town connected by the, then, relatively new Lion's Gate Bridge. My parents were a Jamaican immigrant, of partly English descent (who left Jamaica in her early 20's) and a Canadian (sixth generation Canadian and third generation Vancouverite) of Irish, Scottish and French descent. My father was somewhat typical of his generation, ethnicity, class, and religious background. He was emotionally distant and a very strict disciplinarian. He had a very small repertoire of public emotionalism. At his funeral, a few years ago, a person who had, at that time, recently become his friend stated that my father was a very private, closed person. He was, even to his own family. Through most of my growing up years while living on a farm (a little later within this narrative), I saw my father most weekends, but not through the week. He lived and worked in the city some 70 miles 18 away; my mother and my three brothers lived in the country, while my father's life was more urban. My mother was and remains the strength within our family. When I look back at what she must have gone through raising four boys on a farm, very much on her own, was a remarkable feat. I will speak about this more in a little bit, but to get back to my earliest childhood memory. My earliest memory of this time was when 1 was about 4 years old. There was a little creek that flowed through North Vancouver, Lynn Creek. All the boys in the neighbourhood would go down there and look for fish, explored through adventures only they could imagine. One day we were all crossing the creek by stepping on stones and jumping across. I watched from the sidelines and knew my turn was coming up. My brothers (1 have three - my little brother, now 6'4" and 35 years old - my middle brother, now 6'2" and 40 years old - and my oldest brother, now 6'3" and 41 years old), making me the third born of four, called me to follow. My little brother, at this time, was only one year old and was not with us. As I stepped from stone to stone 1 realized my legs were not as long as my brothers'. Halfway across the stream my footing slipped and I fell in. To me, at the time 1 thought the water was over my head. In reality, it was only about a foot deep. I thought I was drowning and my brothers were not helping me. Instead, they were on the far bank of the creek laughing at me and calling me "Baby". That would, hauntingly, be a theme that would carry with me through my life - that suffocating sense of my aloneness in the world. I floundered like that for some minutes before one of my brothers' friends finally pulled me out. Although the whole incident probably lasted no more than ten or fifteen minutes, the experience was imprinted upon me. When we all returned home, our mother saw the state I was in. She rounded up my two older brothers and demanded what had happened. She asked me why I was crying. I had told her about not being helped out of the water. She became quite angry and meted out the punishment 19 of the time. They had, each, received the "wooden spoon" before being sent off to their room. Somehow the hurt my brothers felt from their punishment didn't seem to hurt as much as that memory of being left out in the water and being laughed at. The other memory of this time was that, then, large malls were very much in their infancy. A new "super" mall had been built called the Park Royal Shopping Centre. Around the same time as the experience I have just described, I remember several times getting lost in the department store. My mother, invariably, would tell me to stand in one spot while she went off to look at something. I was fascinated and explored around, looking at all the things in the store before I realized I no longer knew where I was; every thing looked less and less familiar. Then, strangers would come up to me and ask me who I was and asked "where is your mommy". Tears streamed down my shuddering, puffy cheeks; before I knew it I had been whisked up to the "office" by someone. Soon to follow would be the eventual, and ever-familiar announcement "Would the mother of Steven Noble please come collect him in the Manager's office" echoing through the store - and more loudly in my ears. This would be repeated several times. Once I was lost with my little brother (then almost 2 years old). He was in his stroller at the time. The scene played itself out once again: mom would tell me to stand by the stroller and look after my brother as she went shopping around the floor, I would push the stroller away as the dazzling array of merchandise caught my eye - especially the toy department - and I would wander away with my little brother a victim of circumstance. The manager's office was on the top floor which meant navigating four floors of escalators. By now, when I got lost I seemed to know I had an escape route to the manager's office. The thought of a four or five year old navigating a stroller on the escalators, up several floors, was a feat which has marvelled my mother ever since. 20 My father was a travelling salesperson with a territory throughout British Columbia. As a result he was not home a great deal. My mother remained behind to raised her four bovs. while livine in North Vancouver. The memories are relatively few in the first years of my life while living in British Columbia. First Life Transition In 1965, my father was promoted to Sales Manager and was relocated to Toronto. I saw this move as a new adventure and could not wait. The full effect of never seeing friends again did not hit me in the way it had with my oldest two brothers. They were in school and had a great many friends; I had a few neighbourhood boys with whom 1 played. My father flew ahead to settle us in and organize his life before we followed a couple of months later. We lived in a small cui de sac neighbourhood in the very northern fringes of Toronto, at a point where farmland was across the road and the Toronto International Airport was barely ten minutes away by car. We shopped at the, then, new shopping centres of Sheridan Centre and Cloverdale Shopping Centre - and I was always getting lost and my name would resound over various department store public address systems. Old habits. Memories are more numerous during this time. A new product was being tried and we could get as many free samples as we wanted on the way to the movies every weekend (then movies were fifty cents). The new product was a soft drink called "Wink". We would go fill up at the "Wink" truck to the point of our tummies aching before heading off to the movies funny., .we seemed to spend so much time in the bathroom at the movie theatre.... 21 One of the neighbours had an older son who was, at the time, eighteen years old. This son was someone who was severely mentally disabled so that his cognitive age was around eight to ten years old. He was about at 6'3" and was a real softy. We were forever playing a game called "British Bull Dog" whereby everyone would form two lines holding hands. One line at either end of the yard facing each other. The object was that one person from one line had to run trying to break through the line of the other. If the person succeeded they could take back someone from the broken line back to add to their own. If they failed they had to join the unbroken line. Bruce always loved playing with us and we loved having him with us. He would "accidentally-on-purpose" fall down so that we could all "tackle" him and pile on top of him. He was always very protective of us, and we never let anyone tease him. He was one of my first great friends. We did not see him as being big or different; he was one of us. This was also a period we discovered my middle brother had a terrible allergic reaction to pollen; one summer his head blew up (not literally! - his face puffed out to a very distended degree). He was thereafter always on drugs to ward off hay fever. My oldest brother was always being rushed to the hospital because he had fallen out of trees, or stepped on a rusty nail, or was hit in the head by a toboggan as he flew down one of the local ski hills. This last episode resulted in losing his front tooth. To this day he still wears a plate. My two older brothers were always playing soccer in the summer and road hockey in the winter. I was different. I never played sports. I read books. I loved being able to escape and experience a freedom away from everything through reading about fantastic places and people. I, also, piayed with dolis with some of the girls in the neighbourhood. Most of my friends were girls. We would sing and dance and put on "performances" for one another. We read stories to each other and acted them out. Somehow I even managed to 22 "have" a girlfriend. This was when 1 was first exposed to "being different". This would come from my brothers. I was told "you walk like a girl - everybody says so." My asking for an "Easv-Bake oven" for Christmas one vear would raise evebrows of concern from my parents. I just thought that was what I would like because I thought cooking was fun.. .not that that was something "only girls should ask for". "Boys are supposed to ask for skates, sports equipment.. .ragged stuff." How was I to know - no one had given me the book of "shoulds". I was forever playing "host" to the neighbourhood kids by inviting them over for cheese (slices) and crackers. One day my mother came home to find me at the height of one of these front step "parties" - and did I get it after that - my turn for the wooden spoon. No more parties after the age of seven! I don't remember a lot of my father being around during the three years we lived in Toronto, although I do remember visiting his office one day and thinking that he must be a very important man with the title on his door of "Regional Sales Manager" and people dropping by and calling him "Sir" and me trying to convince them that "no - he's not sir - he's my dad". These years would spin past. We would trick or treat at Halloween and get pillowcases and pillowcases full of candy. We would eat candy from Halloween to Christmas. This of course was before the time when parents worried about pins in apples, or razor blades in treats or kids being stolen from the street. We, invariably, went as ghosts or pirates each year. As my mother would say, both costumes were practical and could be recycled each year. I liked being a pirate because my mother would burn a cork 23 and rub the black soot all over my eye in place of a patch. I remember the warmth and the smell of that cork to this day. She would also tell us stories of times she would dress up as a little girl while growing up in Jamaica. These years marked my entrance into the school system. In kindergarten I was described in front of the class as being a "rabbit" when I learned things. Other kids were turtles. Rabbits learned quickly I was told but they tended to make a lot of mistakes if they weren't careful; turtles were slow and thoughtful. I remember hearing "Steven is a rabbit, he needs to learn to slow down. We need to help him." It became a tug of war between myself and the others; I wanted to move ahead at my own pace but others would tell me that I was moving to fast. Grades One and Two awakened within, my love of "play-acting" or theatre. I loved being on the stage. I could be who I wanted to be "up there" and that was okay. People thought I was pretending, and I thought I was being "real". Between reading about imaginary and far off worlds and being able to construct those worlds as I saw them were powerful times for me - and places that were strangely very comforting to me, particularly, in the years to come when the teasing and name-calling would intense and become more and more cruel. The other thing I would do is bring home my homework each day and do it. My little brother, who was then three years old watched me. To let him "play" at school with me I developed homework for him, helping him with numbers and letters and sentences and simple addition. 1 wouldn't know this at the time but later I would find out that my brother's "homework assignments" would accelerate him through the earliest years of his schooling through to high school and beyond. My "pretend school" would prove to give him a love of school that we share to this day. 24 Farm Life The early part of 1968 my parents decided to move the family to a farm, away from the city (the feeling was the city was no place to raise four boys). After many sad good-byes we packed up and moved to our farm; a place we would call home for the next twenty years. We moved to a 110 piece of land in southern Ontario. Our closest neighbour was a quarter of a mile away. We lived in the unique situation, also, of having two good sized airports on either side of us, Downwinds Airport and Burbank International. These two air strips, each about half a mile away, were the sites of a great many air shows and private airplane and glider rides for the "neighbourhood" ( a "neighbourhood" being a section of land - or 4 square miles) kids. The closest town, Shelburne (population 1200), was five miles away. Our house was a three bedroom (the upstairs) house and, on the main floor, a kitchen, dining room, family/living room, back kitchen and front and side porch. In the winters we could hear the wind whistle through the walls as the temperatures often fell to below minus 45 degrees C. The snow would pile to ten feet or more. In the rooms snow could be seen to fall and pile into some of the corners; frost was thick on the inside of the window panes. The house was "heated" by an old oil furnace which would leave a very fine residue on the contents of the house - in addition to "vintage" woodstove in the kitchen. Our farm was something called "mixed farming". We raised a herd of 100 Charolais (beef) cows, flocks of chickens, ducks and geese, goats and a pen of pigs. We had a huge vegetable garden which was my mother's pride. Our lawn was an acre of grass. Our water was our own private well on the property. If it sounds we were self-sufficient regarding food we were. My first school while living on the farm was a large brick structure where the first five grades all gathered ( a new school was being built and we moved there the following year - for my third grade). We learned together. My deskmate ate blue crayons 25 and the glue that was created by blending powder and water together. We were bussed in by the yellow school buses which would take us all over the countryside picking up kids scattered for miles. A typical route for gathering children often covered 30 miles or more over gravel roads which, by the time we reached home, dropped us off covered with a fine dust. In public school my "difference" would be relayed publicly and relentlessly to me. In fourth grade my teacher ( a somewhat "masculine" teacher who was the school's gym teacher) was picking teams for a class baseball game. In her efforts to keep the teams even with respect to numbers of boys and girls on each side ran into a problem when it became apparent there were fewer girls on one team than on the other. She remarked to the class that we could "just put Steven in a skirt and make him a girl since he is almost one anyway". This resulted in the class laughing while I turned red (not quite knowing why) but I "knew" I should feel ashamed because I had done something to cause this to happen. How was I to know any differently? I was one of the kids picked on by the bullies in the school. I was being punched and kicked by the rougher kids. I was told all sorts of very ugly things that they said I was. I would go to the edge of the large playground to be by myself and hide away with one of my closest friends at the time... the current book I was reading... .something to escape the tears and shame. I was always getting good grades and was heavily involved in school activities - another escape route - if I was surrounded by a lot of people I could not be picked on by the bullies. It was in this school, once again I found my love of performing on stage. We had regular assemblies where we would put on skits; I was always there doing whatever had to be done. We presented an historical play of Theseus and the Minotaur -1 played the title character. 1 was generally found in the school's library reading books. My favourite classes were English, and art, although I somehow 26 managed to excel in math class. In this school, we were introduced to the New School of open classes, student-paced learning, etc. We could move at our own pace in mathematics, reading, and writing. I completed the year's mathematics curriculum in March or April most years. There was a real competition to see who could be finished first by putting up wall charts of who was where in the curriculum. My public school years were relatively routine - being beaten up by school bullies, acting in plays, and being teased as "sissy", "girl", "queer", and "pansy". Marks remained high. I continued to read my books and work on the farm. Where much of the "drama" occurred, during these years, was at home on the farm. The school year was punctuated by "no-school" days because of snowstorms. Some years we would get blizzards that would last as long as 3-4 days on end. Inevitably there would be power outages - which meant no heat save the woodstove. We also had a radio with batteries, which we relied heavily upon for news and entertainment (CBC or CFRB radio) during those long spells of powerlessness. When the power went out the water pipes in the house would at times freeze; spraying water when the power came back on, thawing the pipes. But blackouts were special times, because we had to live in the kitchen where the woodstove was and close off the rest of the house. We had sleeping bags, candles, the woodstove and radio dramas like "The Shadow" encouraging the development of our rich imaginations. My mother encouraged us to let go and imagine anything we wanted. Those radio shows were some of the best - as we were scared and huddled closely together listening to the crackling coming from the stove, strangely accentuating the stories from the radio. The house had mice which would get into our food stores, particularly during the fall and winter. Our house was mined with mousetraps all over. We could hear them scurry through the walls of the house in the winter. We knew a mouse had died by the ever-familiar pungent odour of something dying. In the summer things were different. We would be hit with the familiar blast of heat and humidity when temperatures climbed well into the 30's C. The humidity, at times, pushed what it felt like well into the 40s C. Then it was not mice but flies and mosquitoes. There was the ever-present threat of our cows - or the neighbours' cows -breaking through a fence and streaming on to the road or into our yard. We would dash out - often in mid meal to herd them back in through their escape route and repair the breach(es). This could happen first thing in the morning while getting ready for school, mid day and my mother had to do this on her own, or in the late evening. The farm was not a 9 to 5 job; the land controlled us. Disaster often struck at any time, without warning. As mentioned earlier, my father worked and stayed in Toronto through the week. He would appear Friday nights and stay through until Sunday night/Monday morning. With some regularity he would not make it home weekends because of business or weather. My impression of my father, while living on the farm, was one of a very strict disciplinarian. He was not an emotional man to any degree. He did not touch us in any physical way; that was not the way he was raised. His primary focus, I believe, was to bring home the money and support us financially. My mother and her four sons lived together on the farm. It was interesting every Friday evening. I would watch for his car coming down the road toward the house. This meant we had to change the family environment from the easier, fun, laid back, and active household to something more controlled, respectful, serious, and austere. Every weekend my father made it home this 28 change within the family occurred; mini shocks that I dreaded and would, in part, force me to reach out to a network of friends who would distract me away from our home many weekends. We had chores to do twice a day (from 6-7:00 a.m. and 5-6:00 p.m.). These chores involved feeding and watering various animals while checking them for any animal problems. Some years we would be almost ruined by one disease or another running through the animals. Rabies was a constant threat because of the routine peaking of its incidence within wild animals. At times this disease would not only affect the farm animals but also our wide assortment of pets and strays. One particular winter, during calving season, our new born calves were dying during the first weeks of their lives. This particular year we were losing a couple of dozen or more during the two month calving season. I can remember my 16th birthday, in February, my mother and I up to our knees in manure pulling frozen, dead calves out of various pens and stacking them like cord wood for inspection by the veterinarian and their eventual burial or burning before heading back to the house for my birthday dinner and cake. From about the age of ten, every summer I would join my older brothers out on the fields for the haying and harvesting seasons. We would help bring in our neighbour's crops. In exchange he and his family would help us bring in ours. A typical day started at 7 a.m. for chores. Following this we met at one of the barns at 9:00 a.m. for haying. We would work until 6:00 or 7:00 in the evening. Haying was constant work baling and loading the wagons, driving the hay in to unload and stack the bales in various lofts. Most summers we would bring in a total of 10,000 bales of hay. The best job was driving the tractor in the fields (which my middle brother inevitably was given because of his hayfever); the sun's rays were constant but we were outside. 1 was always in the loft under the steel roof of the barn. As we worked closer to the metal ceiling, the 29 temperature would soar. There would be no breeze. The bales would weigh 40-50 pounds each and we were expected to throw these to other people for eventual stacking within the mow. There were usually two to three weeks between haying and harvesting which we whiled away by building forts out of old fence rails on the shores of large ponds on our neighbour's property. We also used old fence rails to build rafts and we would have "wars" on the ponds. The object was trying to sink the other's raft. We also spent a lot of nights camping out of doors. This past time was my favourite. 1 remember bringing glass jars to catch fire flies. Once enough were in ajar we would pretend to use it like a lantern, watching the flying, flickering of light as my older brothers and our neighbours told horror stories to scared me. I never found myself asleep very much. I was not one for playing on the rafts because I seemed to have a fear of the water. It was a few more years before I worked at overcoming this. My little brother has a very strong sense of fear of the water, though I am not quite sure how this developed. Harvesting time was horrible. This was marked by the dust. No one was spared. The process had two steps. The first was extracting the grain from the straw. These loads of grain would be then sent, via augur, into the granaries. We needed people in the granaries to keep moving the grain back in order to keep the augur from clogging. This was the worst place to be. The dust was absolutely unbearable. Inevitably, this was also where I was sent. We had to wear air masks to keep us from blocking up from the dust. The heat was, again, very high and as the grain spewed forth from the augur, all manner of animals in various forms of being mangled tumbled. Out would come various insects, garter snakes, frogs, toads, rats, etc. There was always the ever-present mice. The other process was the straw which would be blown into the straw lofts. Not much had to be done, here, other then to periodically change the direction of the straw being blown into 30 the loft. The straw caused everyone to be itchy. The dust, especially for those in the granaries, would cover us so that we resembled pictures of coal miners emerging from the depths of the earth. On the farm I was a very overweight kid. At the age of 161 was 220 pounds. Growing up my nickname was "Chops" because of my weight and the jowls that people said I possessed. It was a name that stayed on the farm and within the family for the most part (although our closest neighbours used the name as well) all the while I lived there. It was at this age 1 also developed sleeping problems. I took to sleep walking. 1 would walk about the house and go back to bed. Once, I was told, I came down while my parents had friends over one weekend, and emptied the refrigerator of all the food, placed it on the counters and went back to bed. I had no knowledge of this the next morning. The other thing I did a few times was fall fast asleep without warning. One morning I woke up with scratches, bruises, and cuts all over my body and could not remember how all this happened. I dreamt the previous night that I was riding my bike. When I went downstairs I discovered that 1 was riding home the night before and had literally fallen asleep on my bike along the way and crashed into the ditch. I then, slept walked my bike home and went to sleep. A couple of years later 1 would fall asleep driving a car and careen into the ditch one very snowing and blowing night. When I crashed I "woke up" not realizing what had happened. The blowing snow flying into the windshield had apparently mesmerized me into a sleep. Snow was a constant battle on the farm. After a blizzard we would have up to a six foot drift crossing our driveway (lane - in rural terms). When the snowplows went through, the "bank" at the end of our drive would be as high as ten feet. This would require hours of plowing the snow out of the lane/driveway so that we could get our cars out. While attending public school, after a blizzard the night before, we would while 31 away the time waiting for the school bus to pick us up by pushing huge "boulders" of snow off the banks into the road in vain attempts of blocking our ability in getting to school. We never succeeded. When my father was home weekends, and we had experienced a blizzard on the Sunday, we were usually awakened at 5:00 am to wrap ourselves in our coats and sit on the tailgate of my parents' stationwagon or truck as dead weight or be asked to push the car/truck out of the drive/lane to get dad out and on to work. We would then go back inside the house, change out of our pyjamas, warm up, and head off to the barn to do our chores. One early morning we came down for breakfast to find my mother out in the middle of a raging blizzard in her nightclothes and a large winter jacket. She was out by the power pole and circuit breaker, that diverted electricity to our house and blocked power surges, reaching up with a hockey stick trying to kick the power back on to the house. Upon succeeding she, then, had to crawl back over the six foot drifts to get back to the warming kitchen. At one point she was crawling downhill to get to our front door as the wind and snow whirled around. When I graduated to high school, I entered a world full of activity outside of the home (yet my mother would always be the anchor to my farm life). I was heavily involved in theatre and the music programs in high school. I would drop physical education, French, maths, and sciences after grade nine focusing, primarily, on the arts, and to a minor degree, business programs. Next to theatre and music, in order of my preference, would be history and Canadian literature. A key influence, for me, from this point onward would be found within the high school theatre program (drama class and the Drama Club). It is here, we explored a new 32 style of theatre called docu-drama (documentary theatre), whereby we would research a social issue and present our findings, through vignettes, on stage. We would study people such as Sartre, Artaud, Brook. Grotowski and the experiments of Augusto Boal. We were the first high school in Canada (1974) to perform an original docu-drama. This was around the time of the famous Theatre Passe Muraille's Farm Show in 1973/74. For the next five years 1 would be in several docu-dramas portraying everything from the history of the town of Shelburne, to Canadian nationalism and the issues facing teenagers at the time. We would travel with our various productions to Toronto and the surrounding high schools. It was during these years I was slowiy uncovering who I was; using theatre as a type of "foil55. However, because of the omnipresent hateful attitudes and loathing descriptions of homosexuals, at the time within society, and living in a small town the last thing I wanted to do was admit anything other than heterosexual ity. At the time, homosexuality was still considered a treatable mental illness by the psychological and psychiatric communities. I could not admit to myself that this "horrid mental illness" was my "problem". For years, during high school, I was involved in the Scouting movement. This culminated in my being selected, with three of my friends, to attend the world jamboree in Oslo, Norway in 1975. Part of the process of getting us there was raising money (about $6,000) to finance the four of us. This little village of 1200 worked for a year putting on dances, raffles, bake sales, car washes, and other events to raise the required funds. We were always in the local papers leading up to the summer in Europe. When we returned from Scandinavia (the trip included spending the summer with families in the various Nordic countries as well as the jamboree itself) the village invited us to various 33 group get-togethers like ladies' teas, the Rotary Club, and church get-togethers, until every group had seen the "horse and pony" show we had prepared including slide shows, displaying souvenirs, and retelling stories of our travels. Also, with the Scouts, and later Venturers, we did a lot of canoeing, hiking, and wilderness camping. We camped in the winter, during blizzards and sub-zero temperatures. We camped in the summer. Each year the main event was a one week to ten day canoe trip in northern Ontario. We would canoe and portage (carry everything over land) every day. Our longest portage, including six round trips, was ten miles. It was on the first of these trips that I discovered an allergy to mosquito and black fly bites. We tried all our insect repellents and none would stave off the insect attack that befell me. When I returned home my mother could not believe the sight before her. The scout leader was extremely apologetic. My mother just smiled and said not to worry. She said that it was nothing that a few days of an island (Jamaican) remedy of aloe and other medicinal herbs could not salve. In our later teen years the four of us (who had gone to Norway) decided to try out the Coeur de Bois adventure route and navigated the Nottawasaga River from its source in southern Ontario to its mouth on Georgian Bay. While on the farm our family would travel each summer to Toronto to the huge Caribana Festival and Parade held on Toronto Island. We watched the steel bands from the Caribbean, ate Jamaican patty, roti, curried goat, rice and peas, sweet potato pie and drank ginger beer. This festival was a real treat for us - especially the music, sights, sounds, smell, and colour of it all. We would catch up with some of my maternal relatives and listen to their stories of growing up in Jamaica, finding out which one of my brothers resembled which of my mother's siblings. I was told that when I was young I looked like my father, but as I grew older 1 looked much more like my mother. 1 found 34 the women on my mother's side of the family had the greatest characters and joy of life in comparison to many of my mother's brothers. My aunts always had wonderful stories and would let me help cook and join in their activities. My mother ensured that we shared in her culture through telling us of her growing up in Jamaica with all her brothers and sisters (12 brothers and sisters) and the adventures they experienced. We also ate, quite regularly, much of the Jamaican and West Indian food that she was raised on. Most of my mother's siblings had also settled in Canada, but in Calgary. In the 1970's there was a move by the Jamaican government to nationalize much of the revenue-generating property in Jamaica. This included property my maternal relatives, remaining in Jamaica, held (hotel, and farms) there. From a relatively early age I was introduced to my mother's family in a large and profound way. They would visit and stay with us for long periods of time. They were/are people of colour, but I did not see them that way. They were my mother's brothers and sisters and my aunts, uncles, nephews, and nieces. The differences we dealt with were not so much culturally or racially based, but ones of personality. We listened to a great many stories and jokes about one another around the farm kitchen table, Central to every farm was the kitchen table. This is where news - both good and bad was relayed and discussed. Meals were shared here, friends and neighbours dropped by for coffee, tea, or something stronger. Hours and hours of board games and euchre were played here during the long winters. My parents would talk privately well into the night, after we had all gone to bed, at the kitchen table. If there was news we thought we should hear we would go to the upstairs bathroom grate which was directly above the 35 kitchen table below and listened intently to the news. The kitchen table was a microcosm of what the farming community was about. Central to the larger community was the church, the school, and the hockey arena. My mother did not have a daughter and she needed someone to be her "back up" - to wait by the phone if my father should call while she was out birthing calves, or to call the vet to say that there was something wrong and could he come down right away, to cook or watch dinner while she helped with chores, met with church women or spoke with the vet (the vet was as important as the family doctor). This responsibility in large part rested with me. I visited with my aunts more than with my uncles. My uncles spoke of sports, my aunts spoke of stories, family, gossip, and things that appealed to me more. When battles broke out among my brothers, I was the peacekeeper - to a point, and would join in the fray when my own patience had been worn down. Another organization I belonged to, during my high school years, was the Air Cadets. With the two airports (owned by Air Canada captains) we were always marching in parades, going to boot camp, participating in "war" games, flying airplanes - or being flown in them. I worked toward my glider pilot's license. I learned how to shoot a high powered, automatic gun during many target practices, and generally learned about discipline (both the good and bad aspects of the military variety). Theatre School My dream throughout high school was to get into the world I felt I belonged in -theatre. Throughout everything I did, this was my aim. I auditioned at the various theatre schools across Canada; finally getting accepted at the University of Windsor in 1979.1 thought this would be the entrance into the world I could finally feel a sense of belonging. I studied movement (ballet, jazz, modern dance, and period), fencing, make-36 up, costume design, voice, prop design, acting theory, and characterization. I had an acting coach who was assigned to me for my time there. It was through him I learned about the power of humour, and the work behind serious drama in classical theatre. The central learning turned around the notion of character development. We were expected to spend hours "researching" characterizations (in the 1970's, New York "Method" acting was hugely in vogue). I remember getting costumed and made up to look like an ancient man (I was preparing for a piece about George Bernard Shaw after he had died and had found himself in heaven) and walking the streets of Windsor trying to - and passing - as an elderiy man. On another occasion I found myself going to seedy, rough bars to listen to the ianguage and idioms of the clientele, while watching their actions for another role I had where I was on stage for two hours. In this role I was expected to convey a story without speaking - only through the use, or physicality, of my body. For this two hour stage appearance I also had to chain smoke cigarettes (I had smoked before this - but never a package of cigarettes in two hours!) for the duration. We worked for hours until I was able to handle my cigarette just like those I had observed within the bars I had visited. It also, unfortunately, left me addicted to cigarettes for several years (I have not smoked for almost five years). Our shining piece was the researching of a pivotal dramatic person (real or imaginary). My choice was Noel Coward- being in my mind the quintessential urbane character and one of the greatest composers of the English language. He is up there with another of my favourite English authors, Somerset Maugham. Interestingly, both were gay. It was during these few years at Windsor that I met another male theatre student and became sexually involved with him. He was two years ahead of me in the same program. After my first sexual encounter with him (my first same sex sexual encounter in my life) my whole identity I had created for myself melted and became unglued. For the 37 several months that followed, my emotional life was fdled with fear, anger, dread, and sadness - to name only a few emotional storms that passed through me. This would be the initial phase of my forming of and "coming out" to my gay identity. This process would continually evolve in a major way for the next, approximately, four years (it continues in more subtle ways through to the present). The first semester I lived on campus with another theatre student, who was also gay, (we spoke about this during our first days together - but even, then, I was denying that I was or could be gay). He became involved with a ballet instructor on campus and continued this relationship for several years. After my first semester I was "driven" out of residence. One night my roommate and I arrived home, late, after several hours of rehearsals for a production, being performed a month hence. As we approached our room we saw something sticking out of our dormitory room door. As we drew nearer we found it was a knife stuck into it with a note attached. The message was telling us in no uncertain terms that gays were not welcome on the dormitory's floor any longer. This shook us, both, quite badly. Feeling our lives were being threatened we decided to leave. I called my boyfriend, who lived off campus, and told him what had happened. Later that night, under cover of darkness I packed up my clothes and other belongings and sneaked out of the dorm into an awaiting taxi and the safety of my, then, partner's apartment. My dormitory roommate followed suit a few days later to live with other theatre students off campus. When I felt safe enough to do so, I lodged a complaint with the director of residences, producing the note and knife. What followed was apparently a fairly in-depth investigation into the dormitory proctors (people who watched over the student residents, on each of the respective residence's separate floors) and the expelling of our floor's proctor from the institution. 38 A few months later, while walking home from university along the park that runs along the St. Clair River (which separates Detroit from Windsor) late one winter's afternoon T came across one of the harsh realities of being gay. A group of young men (students?) passed by me and asked me the time. I told them and continued on, not thinking of anything particular, except the ubiquitous lines and overall technical script of the current theatre production. A few minutes later I heard yelling and running feet coming my way from behind. It would appear to be the same group of people who had just passed by. Rather than running past they ran straight at me. About half an hour or an hour later, 1 will never remember, I was laying on the ground battered, bruised and in a lot of agonizing pain. The group saw me as an easy target and yelled gay-related epithets at me as they punched and kicked and laughed (a vaguely and hauntingly similar resonance to my earliest memories). This was a "sport" I would later know as "gay-bashing". I never told a soul because of the shame I felt as I experienced this, and because I was still in the throes of dealing with my own identity of being gay. Life went on and I had to too. One of the things I learned, as a young gay man, was that I was expected to suffer in silence. This was a mark of weakness in me. Rather, it was a sense of the depth of strength from which I found I could draw. Against all odds, through all this violence and hate, I found someone I could love profoundly, no matter what. Me. This was also a period of extreme poverty for, both, me and my partner. We had little money, barely covering rent. Our food consisted mainly of rice, beef bouillon/ boiled onions and the added luxury of cheap red wine. We drank tea like water - it was ever-present. This was also my first heavy experience of living with cockroaches. 39 At the end of my partner's program he had applied to teach at various universities. He would eventually accept a posting at a western Canadian university. We parted as friends, knowing what we had was over. T remained behind to continue in my theatre schooling. Defeat and Retrenchment Leaving theatre school and returning home to the farm. After two years I left theatre school. Largely because of a lack of financing. My parents had stopped supporting me in my theatre education, telling me that they did not approve of "that lifestyle" (theatre not - not my being gay - my homosexuality was not known to them) and they did not want me to become dependent upon them all through my adult years because of the stereotype of poor, struggling actor. I had no choice but to return home -in my eyes my world, once again, had crumbled up like a dust ball being fizzled by fire. This phase would also "drive" my gay identity processing "underground" as T could not tell my family. For several months I worked at managing a fast food restaurant in Shelburne over the winter months. In Shelburne there was a gang of young men (led by three brothers) who would go around and cause trouble. They knew of our family - and specifically of me. One night very late, after closing, while I was balancing the cash, working on schedules, etc., there came a terrific banging on the back door and then banging on the front windows. This was followed by laughter and jeering and the words "Faggot", "Faggot", "We know you are in there".. ."We just want to have some fun with you " What lights were on I turned off. I turned on the big vats of fat - just in case I had to throw something at them - something I had learned from one of my maternal aunts. 40 Our family was well liked and well known by the police (both the town police and the Ontario Provincial Police) through our connections with the church. I phoned the police and told them what the matter was. They appeared in a few minutes and took them all down to the station. Six of them and one officer - even the town thugs respected the law -then - to large degree. This gang continued to harass me and scare me, trying to get me alone somewhere on a deserted rural road and (the thought disturbs me and scares me to this day). Luckily, my time on the farm, after returning from university was short -about a year. I had to find some way to leave the ongoing threat of this gang. I imagined them breaking into my parents' home and I wanted none of that responsibility. So I felt like I had to leave in order to protect them. Ryerson Potytechnical Institute A year later, 1982,1 would apply, be accepted, and attend Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now a University) to attend their Hospitality Management Degree Program. This was a very intensive program, with eight courses per semester for four years, including three years of cooking and four years of business practice and design/management. Ryerson, having a pre-eminence as an art school, I knew that arts, not business, would be the real focus. The focus, indeed, was cooking, interior design, and business practice. We were told that we had to sample the offerings of at least two new restaurants a week to review menus, food, design, pricing, and staffing. As part of the program we were to get into "study groups" of our choosing. Over a few months we gathered ourselves into both "loose" groups and smaller more "task" study groups. I was part of a group of four students (two very pragmatic, logical people, and myself and another with a more artistic, intuitive bent) who would stay glued together for four years. We lived and breathed this way through those years. We shared 41 our coursework, read each others' papers, shopped together, found jobs together, comforted each other and celebrated with one another. We would also have some terrific fights but we knew we would mend our ways and grow stronger. I have not seen them for a few years but we still call each other on the phone a couple of times a year despite circumstantial winds dispersing us across the United States and Canada. Ryerson, being an arts school, was very liberal in its outlook toward people. It, therefore, came as a shock in 1983/84 when posters began appearing on campus with big black circles, with pink triangles inside of these and a thick black line through the triangle. These were the infamous "anti-gay" posters that covered the institution for several months. In a school with faculties such as interior design, theatre, dance, music, journalism, fine arts, fashion design, and culinary arts, there was, seemingly, a higher percentage of gay students evident - as reflected through the large membership of the gay society on campus. An internal investigation followed, directed by the Dean of the Institute. It was uncovered that students from the engineering and architecture faculties had initiated this protest of hate. The whole thing died down as quickly as it began; for me, it shuddered back to some of the days I faced while at Windsor. One of the bigger assignments in the Ryerson program is the mnning of the "IDR" (International Dining Room). Each student had to take turns designing, preparing the menu, purchasing ingredients, cooking the menu, designing the room decor, selecting wines, drumming up clientele, pricing, etc. - and hopefully turning a profit. The person I had assigned to be my "chef was a very homophobic male who was telling his buddies that he was dreading working for this "faggot". I, too, harboured my own dread. However, we met and discussed the menu. The interplay of our first meeting was enacted wonderfully well in a scene of the movie "Philadelphia" where Tom Hanks' character 42 first approaches his, eventual, lawyer in the firm's office. The attorney tries to keep his distance from Tom without trying to show that that is what he was doing. It was a coupling of revulsion with fear. So it was with this student. After meeting and ironing out the menu we had to shop together for all the ingredients. We went to a favourite haunt of mine in Toronto to do this - Kensington Market. My chef had never been there before. It is a true microcosm of multiple cultures crunched together in a small space of open air market stalls. Through the day we went from store to store, stall to stall, buying and dickering on ingredients. At first, the two of us were quite stilted with one another - neither one of us wanting to be there with the other. As the day progressed and I got into the dickering and role-playing of the feisty bargainer; my colleague participated too. Through the afternoon we started talking to one another, laughing, sharing jokes, gossiping about students at school and even having lunch together. The following day the two of us worked for hours preparing food with our assigned staff - putting together two different four course menu offerings. We had a near disaster but we pulled it through to even the instructor's amazement. My parents had promised that they would come down from the farm and dine during my evening in marking the spotlight of my program, and sharing in this very pivotal experience with me. They had also promised that an aunt and uncle would come so that they would be a foursome. This was terrific! A shining moment and my parents would be there to celebrate with me. This called for special measures. I reserved a table central to the dining room, put the best waiter we had in the class on their table. I even had extra money left over to buy two piccolo bottles of French champagne for my mom and aunt and very old Rye Whiskey for my father and uncle. I was given the time that they would be there. Everything was set. I had piped in some Harry Belafonte music three hours later there was no sign of my parents. That table in the middle of 43 the room remained empty the whole evening. That emptiness, that hole in the room, mirrored how I felt - knowing that they had let me down on such a special evening. And then I had to tell my instructor that my parents were the only no-shows. Because I had not officially "sold out" I lost marks. I never told my parents how I felt with regard to this. But this experience helped to, further, place them in "proper perspective" in that I could not count on them any longer, to the same degree. In all other aspects of that night, my chef and I received rave reviews and had become much wiser about one another (and ourselves). Later that week, I stopped him in a hall and told him how I felt about him going into the process and how I had changed my attitude toward him and that I hoped we could be good friends going forward. He smiled and agreed. He told me that he hated the idea of working with me but that he had had a lot of fun and that I was "all right." We have remained friends since. A friend of mine (also gay) lived in a large dormitory/rooming house complex in Toronto. He was also in the program with me. As part of our social lives together we would cook and have large monthly dinner parties for members of the "house" and selected outside guests. These dinner parties would be for groups of between 30-40 with lots of wine and a terrific assortment of people from all around the world passing through. The discussions would be always exciting, liberal, irreverent, and at times ribald and raunchy. These would be focal points which punctuated our social life for us. We were still in the same poverty stricken state but we shared in that poverty through larger numbers of people. We happened to be wealthy, beyond measure, iii friendship during these times. 44 Beginning Work Life Graduated from Ryerson to begin work. Once graduated, I began working at a major downtown Toronto hotel (750 rooms) as a night auditor at the front desk. This was a period of several months where I did not see much in the way of daylight; time flew by without my quite knowing how. Normally, there were four auditors in order to facilitate everyone having days off on a rotated basis. However, two people were moved off the audit to work elsewhere in the hotel, leaving two of us to work every night. This continued for 42 consecutive nights without a day off. I phoned the employment standards department to find out our rights. In Ontario there was no "day of rest" rule as in other provinces. I was told that we were being compensated through our payment of overtime. We talked to the front desk manager and he said that there were no other people coming on the audit and if we did not like it we could leave the job. One thing I have learned to detest and rise to - is a dare. This managerial sentiment came shortly after I had a "talk" with one of the front desk supervisors. He called me in for a private meeting. This supervisor (who was also gay) told me that they were getting complaints from guests about me being "too gay" and could I "calm it down." I did not know what that meant. What does "too gay" mean? How could I "calm it - whatever that was - down"? So not knowing what to do, I thought perhaps others were reading some meaning into me that I was not aware of, so I made a point of standing rigid at the desk, and rather than look at the guests, looked at the terminal avoiding all eye contact, withdrawing but not knowing from what. The two of us who were left on the audit took up the manager's suggestion. A week later we both resigned, effective immediately, and walked out. I could have walked out at any point, however, my partner on the audit was from Korea, was married with a family and for me to leave him like that would not have been at all fair. He said as soon 45 as he found a job to replace this hotel position, then we would walk out together. We forwarded a letter to the Property Manager and told him what we thought had transpired and why our actions, we felt, were necessary. We understood the fall-out to be immediate. The front office supervisors were assigned to the audit, the Front Desk Manager was fired and the Property Manager ended up being moved. All of this was completely unnecessary if, only, people had dealt with us with some humanity, fairness, and sensitivity. Corporate Life After the above experience I moved on to a multinational foreign currency trading house. In 1986 I moved on to an international business environment in the heart of Toronto's financial district. After several months as an accounting clerk (a job I loathed every day) I was invited to look after payroll and personnel concerns for the company. This took me back to university to study personnel and training and development at the University of Toronto over the next five years. I was, increasingly, coming to terms with my sexuality at this place of work because of its attitude toward homosexuality. There were executives who were gay; the organization had accepted them as other employees. This was extended to me. For the first time, within the heterosexual world, I felt welcomed as fully human and as a gay person. This, I found, was as unnerving as coming out for the first time, in some respects. Over the first few years employees, increasingly, would depend upon me as someone to whom they could voice personal and professional concerns. I worked very hard to maintain the highest level of confidence among everyone. This was acknowledged by an executive who, regularly, stopped by to hear, in general terms, what I knew was happening in the field of the Canadian and American office networks, 46 because he felt I had the "pulse" of the organization going through my office. This was accentuated by my delivering to all employees, both, my home and work telephone numbers in order for them to reach me anytime. Phone calls to my home were kept to a minimum; presumably respecting my privacy except in the most dire of circumstances. I was still living in the apartment I had taken upon my acceptance and entry into Ryerson several years before. However, the owners had changed and the house (I had an upstairs suite of rooms) had fallen on to harder times. This also resulted in an onslaught in the form of a flurry of cockroaches - with a vengeance. I lived like this for two more years, until I could afford to move out. During this time I also became sexually active once again with men. I developed a new relationship with an acting student who I had become friends with. The year was 1984. AIDS had just become big news in North America. My boyfriend was coming down with these very strange symptoms, which scared us both. He was having tests and blood work done to find out the cause of these strange symptoms. We waited for six months before the answer came back conclusively: Mononucleosis. There was a huge sigh of relief. We continued on for another year before breaking off because his acting was taking him away from Toronto for extended periods. At work, we had hired an extremely well-built and handsome young man to work in accounting. Anyone who went by his desk wanted to know who he was. It was soon uncovered that he was married but had been getting a divorce because he was revealing to himself that he was gay. He would go through the same emotional trauma I had gone through several years before, however, with a twist. He would exaggerate his new found freedom in his realization of his gayness, against societal dictates - becoming who he was naturally, but through wild clothes, raunchy, "campy" speech, and mannerisms - as though to convince himself and, others that he was really gay. His divorce was going smoothly, but his transition from being married to a single gay male was not. He 47 developed violent streaks that came and went like sudden summer thunderstorms. 1 got caught in the eye of one those storms at work. He was being verbally abusive to one of his co-workers as I passed by. I stopped him and asked what was going on. He grabbed me and slammed my head into a bank of filing cabinets. The result was two chipped front teeth for me. I called him into my office and said he would have to seek help with his personal issues or if help was not sought he would have to leave. If d help the company would provide it and I would make myself available to talk things over whenever he wanted. Over the next year he and I talked, extensively, about a lot of issues relating to "coming out" and "identity" and about bringing the splintered fragments of one's self back together again after the shattering revelation of one's "true" sexual identity. The company I worked for was sold and merged into another multinational travel organization. I remained on in the Human Resource Department for the next four years. This new organization was very proactive and liberal, once again. I became heavily involved in employment equity concerns and was pushing for sexuality to be covered by our company's employment equity plan. In the early 1990's an Ontario Human Rights case (Michael Leschner) made the headlines when same-sex pension benefits made the news. A male couple had made a complaint against the Ontario government saying it discriminated in their provision of spousal benefits with regard to pensions, based on sexual orientation. The complaint was upheld and benefits extended. This had direct consequences upon other employers with gay employees in Ontario. Unfortunately, for our organization the Human Resources function was going through a leadership purge. The new vanguard was very conservative, rational, and homophobic. The attitude was "If gay couples want same sex benefits they will have to sue or complain first". The philosophy behind this statement was that if homosexuals actually dared to make 48 themselves known and complain, they would be fired. My eighteen months' work on employment equity planning and training was completely dismantled (as was about to happen when Premier Mike Harris did the same with the Employment Equity Commission) as a terrible waste of corporate resources. One day in late June, 1993 I was summoned into my boss's office (the Executive Vice-President of Human Resources for North America) and was told my services were no longer needed. I. was laid off after seven years of service. That same day, several gay men were laid off in the same office as were a few women and one straight man. We were given severance packages and "outplacement" counselling services. During this counselling we compared severance packages and discovered a pattern. The straight male, who had the shortest tenure, was given the most pay (in terms of weeks' pay per year of service), the women (all of whom were straight), were next most generously paid, and lastly, the group of gay men. Several Ontario Human Rights complaints were made; none were successful because there was "nothing in writing" - despite the actions taken by the company. Around this time, there were a few gay men off with long term disability benefits because of full-blown AIDS. There was one other man I knew of who had just been diagnosed with AIDS and was still working. He phoned me at home, shortly after my own lay off, to determine what he should do. I told him, above all, make sure the corporation knows about his condition and he document this transfer of information. This would provide some protection in that the company is aware of his situation so to mysteriously lay him off whiie actively working would certainly provide a strong basis to sue for wrongful dismissal. The corporation was in deep flux, with many lay offs happening, people moving around the organization, and job descriptions exploding ever-wider. The threat was looming large for this man. On another occasion I told him to walk 49 into the Human Resources office with your doctor and your lawyer and lay things on the line; that he would go on long term disability when he felt it appropriate. I believe this had been done, as this person phoned in very excited tones to inform me that the company had completely backed down from dealing with him in a discriminatory manner. Pressure was put to bear on this employee by the people he reported to, but in much more subtle and persistent ways. He would eventually leave - but with full benefits (or so he thought). Because of so-called "administrative glitches" he - and another male in the United States, in the same situation, would have benefits cut off for months. It was only after many legal threats they would eventually be reinstated. This was a hardship at a time when these people's energies would be better served fending off the syndrome. This whole period was a rude awakening into how corporations can be incredibly brutal toward people; employees who had given everything to making the organization productive. This time of downsizings, restructuring, outplacement, and other euphemisms has only taught thousands of people that remaining loyal to an organization is dead. It seems to be, now, every person for themselves. It is, in part, because of these experiences that I have turned toward contract work and self employment. And it is, I, who can "fire" a client who does not live up to my expectations with regard to principles. The group laid off on the day I was, called one another and decided we would forward letters of corporate wrongdoings and improprieties, we had experienced and observed (with proof), to the world headquarters, in Europe. At this point I had closed my apartment in Toronto and, with all the money left over from the severance, had moved everything I owned to Vancouver to begin the diploma program in Adult Education at the University of British Columbia. While I was writing term papers I was involved with corporate letters threatening legal action against me from executives in 50 Toronto and the world headquarters, because of the letter I had written. Unfortunately, for them, I had a large roster of witnesses who would come to my defense and were waiting for their day in court. This, I freely told them - that all their "dirty laundry" would be aired publicly in court and that I would be sure to invite the media to watch. Phone calls from Europe followed, threatening and harassing me with legal action. This response had told the group of laid off employees that their letters had put company up against a wall and the corporation was responding through these threats. It became a game of "chess". Whoever blinked lost the game. The threatening letters stopped suddenly. I was later told that virtually all of the executives based in Toronto were either recalled back to the country they had come from or were "laid off. The letters had created quite an effect in the executive suites on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean because the wrongdoings covered personnel, security and money improprieties over extended periods of time. I finally felt vindicated for an injustice a group of people had experienced at the hands of "authorities". Money was not the issue; it was the calling to account the people who were responsible. This closed a chapter on my first brush with defending who I was in the corporate sector. I had won to a certain extent. Moving to Vancouver Moving to Vancouver I was riding high on the "honeymoon" of moving into a new culture and city. This soon plummeted into fits of depression over the upcoming months. I joined the Human Resources Management Association of British Columbia's job hunting group for unemployed personnel people. Over the next twelve or so months (September 1993 to about October, 1994) I forwarded over 1300 resumes to employers who had active openings for human resources professionals, at all levels of experience and expertise. I went to a few interviews but was utterly unsuccessful. I was "living" on 51 the remnants of my severance package and the avails of the Unemployment Insurance Commission during this time. Food banks and welfare were very close. I did attempt to sign on to welfare, however, being a full-time student, by this time, foreclosed that option. I could - and would eventually augment my food from a local foodbank periodically, however, the devastation to my self-esteem of accepting hand outs was taking its toll. I did not complain about money to my parents, knowing how they felt about me being a burden on them during my years in theatre school. In order to find some sense of connection with my identity, 1 joined a gays only outdoors club (hiking, camping, canoeing, skiing) to understand the shadings of the gay culture in Vancouver. In Toronto, my friends and my employers found "me" too "feminine" or "flamboyant" whereas, here in Vancouver, the outdoors club considered me as someone who was too "butch," or someone who was "latently homosexual". I can draw from this, an understanding that in Toronto there seems to be a conformity around "hiding" one's emotionalism, "femininity", and part of one's identity to "fit" into the corporate sphere. In Vancouver, there appeared to be a conformity around a more "feminine", up-front, noticeable homosexuality; hiding was not considered appropriate. The meanings attached to who people saw me as being, had changed causing me to struggle with these opposing views. This conflict was, in large part, because my initial "coming out" to my gay identity was done within the Toronto milieu, not within the Vancouver environment. In addition to this, I was raised on a farm, in very tough circumstances, with three brothers, and where masculinity was adhered to strenuously. Moving to Vancouver I have, since, discovered that anytime I move to where people do not know me I will continue to have to experience the "coming out" process - with a less emotionally intense colouring, as compared with the original. 52 One day while visiting my parents, during some of my darker days, my mother pulled me aside and asked if I was eating because my father was worried to death that I was not eating and not being able to bring myself to ask for help (which was largely true). I said that I was doing everything I could but did not want to bother them with my problems. "Mysteriously" cheques would appear periodically - and newspaper clippings from my father encouraging me to keep trying, asking us talk out our differences. I bawled like a baby reading these. A few times on the phone, with my parents, 1 would totally break down and have to end the conversation abruptly. They knew. When 1 visited them my father would "slip a few bills" to do something "special" for myself. I knew what they meant, however, necessity played a larger role and a box of laundry soap would win out over a treat for myself. I would continue to go to the job hunting club for a total of two years before giving up in vain. I discovered a couple of, for me, "truisms" about the west coast. The first is that the anti-East[ern] Canadian bias is pervasive and strong. The irony, for me, was that 1 am one of the rare people born here. I was not gaining employment because of where I migrated from. The other is that the concept of human resources out here was something of a misnomer. What was meant was labour relations (union-management) relations. This field was peopled, predominantly, by men. The more true version of human resources, or employment relations (in non-unionized work places) was generally held by women. The appearance being something rather stereotypical, in that women were seen as being more nurturing as required in the non-union workplaces while men were needed in the more adversarial unionized workplaces. With my coming from a non-unionized workplace the odds of my finding employment in human resources in British Columbia were minimal. This was why I made the switch in focus to training and adult education. 53 I graduated from the Diploma in Adult Education program and applied for the Master's of Arts in Adult Education and was accepted. I met a female student in one of our classes who ran a training organization in Vancouver which designed training programs and interventions for clients. I was asked to join. I immediately telephoned my parents, long distance, with the terrific news. The three of us were laughing and shouting exclamations of relief mixed with pride and joyous exuberance for hours; my phone bill was proof. The next weekend I visited my parents and we all went out to dinner to celebrate. I was working for large local organizations as a consultant - for a total of three months. I was laid off once again with minimal notice. Devastation. I was so embarrassed about this that 1 could not bear to verbally tell my parents. I knew I would break out in tears. I wrote them a letter and mailed it as I wiped away tears of failure. I switched my focus back to my education and did my best to put the latest failure behind me. In November 1995 my family all got together to celebrate my father's 65th birthday. I was not told that presents were required; I was told simply it was a dinner to celebrate. My brothers, all very successful in their own right, presented exquisite and expensive presents - almost as though they were out bidding one another. Once this ritual was done my brothers departed to go into the kitchen. My parents remained behind. I turned with what must have been an incredibly tortured look on my face, red with tears I had to tell my father that I had absolutely nothing to give. Rent was due after all and food. My father came over to where I was and did one of the rarest things he had ever done - he gave me the biggest hug without words passing between us. I, then, knew everything was going to be okay - somehow. Six weeks later, my father was to pass away suddenly a few days before Christmas because of a chronic health condition. Between 1993 and 1995 my father and I 54 had grown considerably closer together than all the years previously. My father had allowed himself to stop being the strict disciplinarian and become a warmer, more human, and accessible person who, with my mother became two of my closest friends. My father remained a person of few words and a very private individual - even to his family. The way we became close was the time we spent on drives during my visits and on his boat. We could both get lost together without saying anything and somehow, I never knew exactly how, we bonded closer together. Adversity does have a positive side too. I write this almost, to the day, a year after my father's passing away. As my mother (who, in my eyes, remains the strength within our family) said that night when the whole family was around my father's deathbed in the hospital, "we must not remember your father dying this way; we must remember the wonderful lifetime of memories we shared and draw from that strength." For me, the lifetime of fond memories consisted of only the most recent past two years. I must live with the fact that I never told my father that I am gay.... his gay son. In my heart I suspect he knew. Provincial Roval Commission on Workers' Compensation Issues In the spring of 1997 I was hired to work at a four to five month summer job with a recently struck Provincial Royal Commission on Workers' Compensation investigating workers' compensation issues in the province of British Columbia. My role was to interview people (predominantly injured workers) unable to send in written submissions because of illiteracy, injury, disease - or amputation. I interviewed people, often several hours per person, and listened to their gruesome, horrible and frighteningiy personal and intimate stories of being injured on the job and their perceptions of what they saw as gross inadequacies and unfairness within 55 the system. As people sent in written statements and papers I summarized these as well. It unsettled me that I was to put into my words, the words of others, however, throughout all of this work I kept the speaker's words in the forefront. I noticed others doing the same sort of work were wiping out the authors' words, replacing the presenters' words with the summarizer's own. I saw this as an act of extreme arrogance. The people who appeared before the Royal Commission or forwarded statements to it had, for the largest part, been "beaten up" by the system. Their homes, livelihoods and life's pleasures were described as being in the distant past - for some presenters they thought that these aspects of their past lives may have only been dreamed about. To take away their voices because someone else may have believed that their words were more articulate or held a richer meaning, I felt, would have been wrong. These people had words, they had voices; but all too often people who may have a little more education, or a little more "sophistication", or a little more of life's experiences may feel that they should take it upon themselves to speak for others. I knew that these people have had lots of people speak "for them", have had others shout them down or have told them they were not valued. Echoes of diminished self-worth resonated within my own, transient identity. I thought it best to create verbatims for these people - in their words. There remained the problem of knowing what words to cut out, in order to create a summary; censoring is a tough thing to do when one has to do it on behalf of another. For many, they just wanted to be heard - finally. I was simply the medium for carrying their message. 1 must have been adequate because shortly after starting 1 was asked to travel with the Commissioners as they zig-zagged across the province listening to the stories of the people. My role was to record the words of presenters who spoke before the Commission - without interpretation. What began emerging was that many of these people perceived being abused by the system, and the process was shaping their identities to such a degree. For whatever reason the system was not helping them regain their livelihoods; these people - these injured workers - had learned to see the colours of their identities in one omnipotent hue - that of learning to tint themselves "as victim". The system was the teacher and shaper of values and beliefs. The injured workers learned their lesson all too well, as represented by the identities they revealed to themselves and others. From the example of the injured workers I bent their experiences back on to my own life experiences to determine that I had, for various reasons and in many ways, learned to be a victim as well. Somehow I could never hope to measure up to others. Over the summer of working with the Royal Commission realized that I had learned a lesson these embittered people had inadvertently learned as well. Marginalized people were, and are, harshly, judged in their personhood by others who have, at times, no concept of their lifeworld - and yet, because of power, politics, and managing public perceptions, beliefs, and morality had been able to label other humans as something "less" than themselves. 1 grew increasingly fascinated by how these people's lives twisted and turned - how some would succeed despite the system - and all too often others succumbed to the treatment and labels. Over four months we visited over forty towns and villages, staying from one to three days at a time. Throughout the whole experience 1 couldn't help but notice, at times, how dissimilar and removed the worlds of the Commissioners were from those of the people they were listening to. I was also struck by their collective abilities to reach out and listen in order to understand. But tor their efforts there seemed to remain an amorphous void they couldn't quite navigate because of this dissimilarity. This space of emptiness I, too, worked at crossing in order to understand their perspectives while broadening my own. My work involved, on average, listening to one story for between one and four hours asking probing questions; carrying on a conversation as though we were friends but having never met. While these social strangers honoured me with their trust and openness I, too, felt a sense of legitimacy. Strangely, as I felt I was helping to validate people who had been severely injured, and their lives, the people I was speaking with were doing that with me and mine. Meeting Orchid on the Internet For some particular reason I had put a personal advertisement, anonymously, on the Internet with a Canadian bulletin board for the gay community. For over a year I would get various replies. Sometimes I would reply; sometimes I would just delete what I received. Over several months I exchanged email with people all over Canada; others seeking relationships. What I found most startling was that well over half of the many responses were from men in heterosexual marriages; men prepared to divorce their spouses to enter into a homosexual relationship with me; something I just could not believe in, in my head, or carry in my heart. After about a year of reading endless replies interested predominantly in something sexual first and foremost, I was losing faith in this process and was getting to the point of giving up when in the early summer of 1997 I received a reply from someone 3500 miles away. For the next couple of months we exchanged mail, email, real time chat on the computer, and phone calls. Every day and night we talked for hours and hours, writing letters and postcards back and forth to one another. Having only exchanged photographs, and hours of conversation and correspondence, we were bonding with the person, internally, and not the physicality or sexuality of the other. The "noise" of beauty was removed and we could explore each other from the inside out. Appearances played a minimal role for us; we were learning a lot of intimacies about one another in a very short and intense period. We were working with substance; 1 suppose what could be termed a postmodern romance. What we were doing reminded me of the movie, 84 Charing Cross Road, where two people develop a relationship and fell in love through the writing of letters, one never having met the other - nor the luxury of photographs as we had. The thoughts, emotions, and stories these two people shared - their lives on paper - resonated for Orchid and me. Two months later I found myself waiting at the airport waiting for Orchid to arrive in the city and my life - having never personally met him before. I knew both of us were incredibly nervous and tense, having no time to grow physically comfortable with the other - that would have to take place as we continued to grow from being two individuals into one relationship. There was so much that remained for each of us to learn about the other. As would become evident, Orchid loved going dancing, the whole culture of bars and nightclubs and having a very active social life. This was in contrast to my preferring to staying at home, reading, taking long walks in the early evening, hiking outdoors, and more intimate socializing with very few, close friends. We were very different in some fundamental ways and remarkably similar in others. For both of us, home - a time and space just for us to be completely, normally ourselves unmasked - was important. Education remains a very important motivator for both of us. 59 Figure 2: Painting by Sunflower entitled, Couple Couple I attended a one day art therapy seminar at a local college just prior to my field work beginning. During this workshop the class was asked to think about a personal issue to work through. The result was the painting entitled, Couple. Here, I was reflecting back on the issue of blending my life with Orchid's. Orchid, who was also going through a "culture shock" of his own, having arrived only several weeks' before. As much as my identity of who I was, was shifting - Orchid was going through a more profound adjustment. And as I was painting, this was drawn into the process of adjusting as reflected within "the face". The painting drew attention to the eyes, or awareness, and of the mouth. The hair, brown was to depict me and the long golden hair was the Orchid who arrived (now is hair is very short). The-^een markings cross \\ftf "boundary" between us created the 60 balance between the senses of loss and gain we were striving for, as well as experiencing. Perhaps on some deeper level, my sense of grieving was more intense because of the intense grey (this colour being a symbol of grief) eye. Orchid's sense of mourning was, somehow, more grounded because of the brown (representing earthiness)/grey of his eye. I suspect there was a lot of thought that went into Orchid's move across the country. The orange hands, believed to represent feminine energy, reached out and embraced the red, vitality of the masculine lips. It was a unique blending of the feminine and masculine. The colour orange, as feminine energy, gives freedom to thought and feeling while opening up to love and happiness - the gain we achieved while compensating for any sense of loss we may have, continue to, or will experience. Becoming a couple involved some substantial letting go in order to grow together. This did not mean that one of us needed the other to make themselves feel complete; it was because they wanted another person in their lives to share things with. My feeling was that if a person could not stand completely alone, feeling happy and healthy about themselves, then I did not feel that that same person would be able to flourish - not just survive - within a happy, healthy relationship (I feel this sentiment holds true for heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or transsexual relationships). The painting showed the tears - both of letting go and of joy and happiness. The deep redness of the mouth illustrated the masculine sensual energy and the orange hands of femininity that bound the two of us together. At one point, we had both spoken about the Danish experience of allowing state sanctioned same sex marriages and the success rate of that. This law, the first of its kind in the world, was passed in 1989. Of the 791 same sex couples who registered their 61 marriages with the state since that year only nine couples have filed for divorce (Jennings, 1994, p. 242). Because the focus with our relationship was to grow together we try very hard to talk things out without judging and in a quiet measured manner. I cannot think of an actual "fight" that we have had. From our first day together, Orchid has said "this was forever". And I know he meant it. That reassured me that he would not bail out when the times got tough. A professor asked me once what does love and devotion mean to you? Well, that is when the person closest in my life is close by and 1 am "falling." 1 cannot see where 1 will land...I just know that even through my blindness, my partner will be there to catch me - no matter what. And vice versa for him. It is not a taking for granted, but a quiet, unconditional confidence, trust, and love. Within a few weeks Orchid had a job doing what he had done in an earlier time; hairdressing. As he developed his clientele he was/is going to school to develop skills in desktop publishing, computer graphics and animation. When Orchid first arrived here he was still, in his mind, back in eastern Canada, wanting a large social life, loads of friends wanting to create his life from there, here. Also, he was bringing up his extensive social network, here, back to life (he had lived for a few years here previously). As tough as it was for him it was tough also on me. I wanted to say all sorts of things but I kept silent and close by because I knew Orchid had to sort things out for himself through this transition of space, people, and context for being. As he was adjusting and clarifying, so was I. It was difficult on both of us for very different reasons. 62 Figure 3: Painting by Sunflower entitled, Journey Home Journey Home This painting was one I finished a few months before my Master's fieldwork was beginning. This piece of work was part of a special reading course offered by the University of British Columbia's Theatre Department. The course explored the concept of home through "performance". Performance meant theatre, readings - and in this particular session - painting. A group of graduate students from Mexico, Finland, Estonia, Canada and Venezuela, listened to music and painted their concept of "home" as of that moment. The result, for me, was the painting, entitled Journey Home. What struck me with this painting was the exclusive use of primary colours - an indication that the emotions were quite intense. The thickness of the lines and brush strokes were very heavy showing a further grounding in the moment. As I was painting I saw home as something, in that moment, containing two people. A couple working toward building something that didn't exist before - a home for two - for us - Sunflower and Orchid. Sunflower in the yellow which seemed to depict my energy; the red that of Orchid's. The self- contained drawing of me shows an energy of inward thought and detachment - a habit or stance 1 have lived with most of my life, as a sort of self-protection from environments around me. 63 The red of Orchid was open, and not self-contained, showing a very strong other - focus. The deep red illustrates Orchid's strength, life and masculine energy. This colour was also a grounding and energizing colour. The blue which surrounded us and linked the two of us together symbolized the devotion, peace, and tranquillity we found as we created and built our home - the journey we continued to take together. The colour of blue also tended to show a slower pace of movement because of the coolness of colour. Interestingly, the framing of our creation of a unified, harmonious home was framed by a deep green - which was the unification of body, mind, and spirit to encourage a balance within our lifeworld. The brown which seemed to be more present around Orchid was a further elaboration of an earthy, groundedness. Although, there was brown shown around me there seemed to be a scatteredness about it. The scattered orange which I surrounded was a symbolism of feminine energy. This energy, appeared by Orchid as well - but like the brown by Orchid was a more unified and grounded energy. The overall painting showed movement, activity and life that was fulfilling as evidenced by the full coverage of the page. Interestingly, this painting was done about a month after Orchid arrived here to begin living together and showed our beginning of our home-building process. This was a pictorial backdrop of where I was just prior to beginning this study's field elements. The journey home had just begun. The first few months were difficult because Orchid arrived to live with me in my apartment; my space. I knew for this to work we had to move from what was my space to something we could truly build together, so we moved two months after his arrival into our present home. We found a space which reflected who we were, and who we wanted to be; a couple - a family. There were a lot of people interested in this apartment and we 64 had to leave our name, among many, hoping we would be selected. Because we were two men and the other interested people were heterosexual couples, we felt we should just keep looking. The next evening we received a phone call stating the apartment was ours. We couldn't believe our luck. The manager said we had to move fast or he would give it to someone else. Through some negotiation with the current building management we broke our lease - without penalty - and prepared for our move. A few weeks after our move it became obvious why we had been given the apartment. The new building manager and his same sex partner arrived at our door one day; the mystery was instantly solved. Then the gui it set in, with the notion, that perhaps, we had been selected because of who we were not because we would, necessarily, make good tenants. I thought about the day I was laid off with a number of other gay men and thought - well - perhaps in some small way the wrong, then, had been redressed here. Over the proceeding several months I have watched Orchid "re-invent" himself, as though he knew who he was would have to change - or he wanted to change. This brought back thoughts of Zinnia wanting to change those things about herself she was not comfortable with any longer. School became a focus as did his work. Our primary focus remained one another. I, too, knew I was changing. Prior to this I was hugely introspective, independent, and focused on my self and improving my self-concept. With Orchid I became very focused and aware of another within my life. The longer we spent together our sights moved increasingly to not only the present, but also toward our future. With both our backgrounds rooted in rural/small town histories we yearned for a house in the country again - living a rustic, simpler life. And so that has become a focus for us. 65 Orchid fascinates and thrills me. Although he likes to remind me that he does not have a university education as I do (and I see couples around me who seem to need to match their educational levels with one another) 1 find myself learning about aspects of life long forgotten - or not considered - how to live committedly within a community in a natural, down to earth way. Near the beginning of living together, Orchid called one day to say that he would be late coming home from work. When he eventually arrived home he told me he had met a woman - a foreign exchange student from the "university" on the bus. This student, from Japan, was lost and trying to find a school downtown. Orchid, without skipping a beat, got off the bus with her, walked her to the school - blocks out of his way - gave her directions of how to find the bus stop again, and gave her enough change for the return bus fare - so that she would not find herself stranded downtown in an unfamiliar city. At times, while we walked down the street, he would disappear to tell people their headlights were on, helped people struggling with packages and children get to their cars. He would engage in conversations with people unknown to him on the bus, neighbours, and on the street. He was habitually going on the Internet for his clients to find information they were seeking for. Whenever we passed a panhandler on the street he would either give money or explain to the person why he could not or did not have any money to give. This was a person intimately in touch with his environment in a concrete - in the moment - kind of manner. Everyday we continue to shape one another and who we are separately - and as a couple. Yet, what we learned has been, generally, stifled once we slide our masks over ourselves with our coats and shoes heading off outside as two "individuals". When we are at home we become very much one. When we go grocery or clothing shopping we 66 see the suspiciously sly side-glances - as the person may know or fear if they acknowledge us - they are somehow approving of something that society still sees as private, not belonging in the public domain. Society continues to relegate homosexuality to the private, "unseen" realm. Yet, the all-pervasive public inscriptions of heterosexuality (the socially sanctioned opposite sex couplings without any "modifications". Any sexual "aberrations," from the norm, found within heterosexuality also are hidden as social taboos) is celebrated as the "norm", the "natural", and "neutral" - whether some of us want to or would prefer living our own sense of "the everyday", "ordinary", and "usual" seems to have become forgotten, discounted, or harshly judged. But, for now, Orchid and I prefer our space in the home we have created, knowing we are happiest there. But as much as we create this space for ourselves (home becomes all-important for this space of unmasking) and are able to lock "others" out; we can, effectively, seal ourselves in. A similar sentiment can be illustrated around the issue of how some people wish to deal with immigration. Some prefer to lock the "other" out, but they block themselves in. Both these instances fuel the creation of hatred of the "other" who, in turn, internalize that animosity of themselves and create poor senses of identity. And.my sense is that nobody wins; we all lose. 67 CHAPTER THREE GLEANED FROM THE GARDEN CATALOGUES Introduction As more people move across their national borders, in order to participate within the global labour market, motivated by steadily decreasing levels of labour restrictions an increased intercultural attention has the potential of developing. The perceived differences - both large and small - among people will create the potential for ever-increasing interpersonal tension and conflict. The borders to which 1 refer could be geographically national/regional boundaries or those involving separations of different forms of socialization, cognition, or affectation. The tension and conflict I allude to can often result in a sense of "victors" versus "the vanquished". In other words, those who have the power within their particular cultural milieu are able to influence cultural identities so that these culturally encapsulated self-concepts can change and fluctuate over time. When this happens some members of one group within a particular culture may find themselves moved from within what they thought was the in-group to what later becomes the out-group or vice versa. It is not only the person, themselves, who has changed, but the meaning social authorities, within a culture, have ascribed to a specific group within that particular culture as well (Louw-Potgieter & Giles, 1988). To alleviate some of the transitional or cultural stress, a variety of programs have come into being. There have been many studies to "objectively" measure items such as success in acculturation/assimilation, stress, coping mechanisms, and the types of programming prescribed to meet specific needs (Atkinson, Wampold, Lowe, & Ahn, 1998; Ishiyama, 1995; Nesdale, Rooney, & Smith, 1997; Sue, 1996; Kwan & Sodowsky, 1997; Churchman & Mitrani, 1997; Habke & Sept, 1997). However, through all of these studies there appears to be a dearth of exploration from the participants' view. As 68 will be shown in the literature review, which follows, these identities are central, and as a result their world views contain deep personal meanings. What do these meanings look like? How do they feel? Do they change? How do they change? This area of study seems to remain untapped territory for qualitative (phenomenological) study and exploration. So that you, the reader, can better understand the structure of this thesis has been organized in the following manner. This context of the current discussion of this literature review will be framed by way of a brief character sketch of who I am, currently. A detailed character sketch can be found in the previous chapter. The thematic outline, which immediately follows, was done so that you can better understand from which voice(s) I am speaking, with which particular "tensions" my discourse contains, and my perceived proximity to cultural issues. Following the short autobiography within this chapter, the analysis will examine, briefly, five aspects involved within transcultural movement of identities, brief discussions on postmodernism, art therapy, Gestalt therapy, feminism (the participants recruited were women), birth order (because I feel that "fit" within a family constellation affects how one interacts within the larger world), Queer theory (because I happen to be gay), some of Jack Mezirow's work, and culture shock. Specific to this study, other dynamics explored will be culture, language, identity, intersecting identities, and the crossing of cultural borders. Following the separate discussions centring upon each of these features, in turn, the summary will draw together key ideas through foreshadowing questions which will illuminate the overarching question this study is based upon. Personal Thematic and "Tension" Outline My voice serves as a link throughout this review and, later, the field study. However, you need to understand from where my voice is emanating. On the surface I am a 69 white male; what follows will not be my claim to some "victimhood". Rather, it serves to inform honestly, simply, and, hopefully, clearly. Four themes in my life give rise to a certain voicelessness, and diminished personal agency. My parents are an interethnic couple; my mother a person of Jamaican birth, my father a white Canadian of Irish descent. From the very beginning of my life I have always known two very distinct, yet, compatible families - and have known, through the maternal side of my family, various types of harassment, and have been directly chastised for being a person of "mixed" colour, "race", or blood. This was particularly acute in my earlier years through to my late teens; a period when children criticize difference overtly and strive to conform to peer pressures. During my late teens I left home for my first experience within the university milieu - and my realization (not choice) that I was, and am, gay. That was twenty years ago. "Coming out" (the process of, both, publicly, and to one's self, admitting one's homosexuality), then, was particularly difficult because gays had few rights and had just been de-listed, in 1974, from the American Psychiatric Association's (Vacc, Wittmer, DeVaney, 1988) list of psychiatric disorders. Moving back to British Columbia, my home province, after twenty eight years of absence, I was struck with the reality that I would have to "come out" all over again to new people I met. Also, moving back to Vancouver I discovered my third theme; the power of strong, regional discrimination directed toward one part of the country by another region. Having lived in a number of places across Canada I have found Vancouver's "anti-East" (Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal) sentiment particularly strong. I have also found myself subject to this repressive force during my first three years of living within this province, in my failure to obtain employment despite my having applied for 1300 active job openings. 70 The fourth and final theme that was particularly strong during my youth, and is less overtly evident now, was growing up on a farm in Ontario. Throughout my high school years was an annual exchange program involving my high school's theatre department with one from Toronto. We were put down as being simple "country bumpkins,". The message being that we really did not know anything about "real" life. Raising cows, pigs, sheep, and watching the "grain grow" was boring and did not hold any meaning in the world. Our opinions, therefore, were considered naive and simple - and so were often discounted. Our theatre group experienced this "big city" arrogance for many years. To this day I am very sensitive when I am travelling to small towns and rural areas knowing the inhabitants have a very rich life which is often invisible to those who have only known city lifestyles. There are aspects of the city I like. However, I miss the simplicity and very strong sense of community the rural life very often relies upon in order to get through each year. It is a "tension" I contain within my sense of who I am. Yet, I consider myself very lucky to have known two very distinctive ways of being in the world. I have been challenged on being "qualified" to write about cross-cultural experiences and their meanings because of the perception of my being a white male. I, strangely, remained silent finding no voice with which to speak. The questioner, in her challenge and implicit assumptions about me, had suppressed my ability to articulate my perspective. Yet, this experience illustrated, once again, that people look at the surface to judge what is hidden within another. It is often easier, but my experience has shown me that it is, generally, very inaccurate. "Black! How can you say you're Black? You're not Black! You're barely darker than me!" "My mouth dropped, but I said nothing. The words made me burn with anger. They rang in my ears for weeks to come. I wanted to wrench out [their] hair and yell: 'Yes I am! Yes I am Black!' I wanted to scream that Blacks had been 71 defined for centuries on the basis of their racial origin - something not necessarily emphasized by skin colour. I never did speak about it. But by challenging my racial identity, they helped drive me to a more insistent self-image"(Hill, 1994, p.45). How often, in our daily roles and as educators, do we intentionally or unintentionally deny people the ability and/or "right" to speak? I am reminded of a class I recently took, where a female student declared that White men need to learn to shut up to allow others to speak. I am not sure how shutting down others increases a sense of power and freedom for all. What we need to be doing is encouraging others to find their voices, and give them space to speak - to join in with the other voices and increase the space for all discourse. But what does this mean for the relationship between the cultural identity of immigrants and the larger society? Should "we" demand that the larger society shut up? Of course not. But as Broadfoot (1986) found out the best way to explore what Canada is about is to listen to those who have arrived as immigrants. We need to dialogue, not shut down. The following sections will examine aspects surrounding this, and other related questions to support the over-arching question, How do "social strangers " come to understand the meaning of their "identities- in-transition " during the experience of reflection during an eight week painting workshop? Of particular importance will be how many attributes of self work together to construct one's identity. These dynamics can combine to oppress and/or empower one's self as they find themselves between or among cultural boundaries. 72 Culture Culture is the communicable sum of inherited (meaning the experience of receiving something from a predecessor, biologically or socially) ideas, beliefs, values and knowledge which constitute the shared bases of social action in order for the group of people to survive the environment within which it finds itself (McLeod, 1987; Ting-Toomey & Chung, 1996; Pedersen, 1997; Collier & Thomas, 1988). This definition was used to broadly encompass, not only race, colour, ethnicity, but to include, gender, age, religion, sexuality, socio-economic class, type of disability someone may have, or any group that has a common, unique structure of communication for the purposes of social action and survival. A further definition of culture, provided by Fitzgerald (1993), is that "communicable knowledge," by way of processes such as identity, helps people to survive within a specific context and, must be passed on from one generation to the next. The change within culture is usually slow, being cumulative and conservative (Kim & Gudykunst, 1988). There is an interrelationship between culture and society. The two can and do exist separately. People become different when treated differently, not because they are different (Taft, 1977). Much of one's culture is made up of how the individuals within a group, collectively "construct" the world around them. This is referred to as a worldview (Sue & Sue, 1990). These perceptions are seen as someone's conceptual framework or belief on how the world works. Four sets of values are outlined which are said to cover most cultures through some combination of these world views and dimensions (Sue & Sue, 1990). These four values can be seen in the form of questions: 73 a) What is the time orientation of human life? Past? Present? Future?; b) What is the process of the human activity called living? The process of being? The process of becoming through our inner self? Working for rewards?; c) How are human relationships defined? Linear- leaders/followers? Referent group consultation? Individual autonomy?; d) What is the relationship of humans to nature/environment? Nature over humans? Nature in harmony with humans? Humans over nature? (Sue & Sue, 1990, p. 139). Coupled with the above two key ideas are also put forward. These include where the locus of control is seen to exist within peoples' lives (internal or external), and where the locus of responsibility resides for peoples' actions (internal or external) (Sue & Sue, 1990). All these aspects of peoples' lives, in some combination, are thought to be brought together to form "core" values for different cultures or different ways of seeing the world (worldview). The cross-cultural counselling literature illustrates these dynamics by drawing upon those found within the Western cultures. Western cultural values are believed to be those which construct these societal identities as being future focused, needing to working hard for rewards, "rugged" individualism, and being able to control the environment (Sue & Sue, 1990; Vacc et al, 1988). These people perceive internal control of their lives, therefore, see themselves as being ultimately responsible for their individual actions (Sue & Sue, 1990; Vacc et al, 1988). Literature also points to four additional aspects relating to underlying cultural value dimensions. These are; power distance (the closeness individuals or groups are to the power mechanisms in society); uncertainty avoidance (the ability to work in or avoid highly ambiguous environments); individualism/collectivism (the relationship 74 characteristics of the individual to the group); and masculine/feminine (For example, the constructed Western male role of defending versus the constructed female role of nurturer.)(Hofstede, 1994). A broader view of culture includes social attributes such as age, gender, the type of disability a person may have, religion, class and sexual orientation. Some of these dynamics may have a genetic component (gender very definitely, some forms of disability and sexual orientation may have) or may not (as in class or religion). What is more important, for the purposes of this study, is the non-genetic, social component of this more inclusive vision. In all categories contained within this conceptual variation of culture are the ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge (the socialization) that are inherited, or passed from one member of a group to another through language, action, or social interaction. If I remained with the narrower version of culture, the result would be a reductionistic and over-generalized view of people within cultural groups. No one ethnic or national group has a membership which is similar throughout. That would lend itself to stereotyping. Within one group are several currents of difference. For example, "there are three main groups of Blacks in Canada: Caribbean immigrants, African immigrants, and those who have lived in North America for several generations. But even here I am over-generalizing. For even within the Caribbean community, there are inter-island rivalries" (Foster, 1996, p.21). Just as there are variations, there are also marked differences within groups. Relying upon one set of cultural attributes for a group such as women (where there are those who are radically feminist to those who wish to retain the more societally traditional female gender role) is creating an injustice for the group as a whole. This can occur for any 75 of the previously mentioned groups. Some, like the different disabilities people may have are more discernible (i.e. paraplegia, blindness) while others like gay men (within the bipolar continuums of feminine versus masculine and of heterosexual versus homosexual), or lesbians (the bipolar continuum of feminine versus masculine) may not be so apparent -depending on the "traditional" roles set out for each gender within a particular society. All of this becomes increasingly hazy when one considers the following description, with regard to "race": Our experience suggests that America is not what it presents itself to be. Some geneticists have said that 95 percent of "White" Americans have widely varying degrees of black heritage. According to The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, 75% of all African-Americas have at least one White ancestor and 15% have predominantly White blood lines....the longer a person's family has lived in this country [United States] the higher the probable percentage of African ancestry (Haizlip, 1994, p. 15). What the above quote also points out is that the category of "race" is losing support as a scientific or genetic notion within some quarters. It is not something called "race" that sets people apart. It is the meaning associated with the colour of one's skin (Boyd, 1997). The belief is becoming that, genetically, there is little difference between people, regardless of where they live. Of all the genes in human beings, about 75% are identical in every person; only 25% vary from person to person. And of that variable amount, Professor Lewntin demonstrated, 85% of the difference would be present even if the two people were fairly closely related; that is an ethnic subgroup... another nine percent of the 76 genetic variation will result from individuals being members of separate nations or tribes within a "race"... .only six percent is the result of the two people being from what we call separate "races" (Gardner, 1997, p.1). It is not the genetic difference people respond to. It is the meaning with which one person or group imbues another. This meaning is largely constructed through the particular society its citizens live. Cultural members, within a specific society, learn the message from those who are most powerful and are able to transmit their world view to others who do not have the same control and power. Race, as a concept, does not exist, however, racism and the meaning ascribed to skin colour is. The notions of "Black", "White", and so on I consider ethnic groups as opposed to racial groups. This is what my challenger was responding to, as described in the earlier autobiographical sketch. Language When the transmission of culture is discussed, language becomes central to the discourse. Language and culture work to shape one another. A rough analogy could be considering a woman standing before us in army fatigues in an empty white room, saying "I do" . Next, if we have the same empty room but this time the same woman wearing a clown suit saying "I do", the way she utters these two words will, to a degree, depend on the clothes she wears and how these clothes construct meaning for that woman as the context shifts. Yet, in both cases the language used is, in part, shaped by the clothes and how people outside of the cultural norms view these superficialities. Interestingly, it is not the person but the covering which connote meaning. In a rough way this is how culture and language operate as well. The concept of "publics" or groups of people beyond ourselves being addressed must also be considered (Giroux, 1993). These "publics" are listeners, who are the 77 receivers of communication. They have more than one relationship to the speaker, who in turn, through the speech act, creates agency with others. Language is used as a key method for dividing or bringing people together (Fitzgerald, 1993; Giroux, 1993). Language becomes the medium by which information is relayed (Sue & Sue, 1990) and through which there must be a sender and receiver. Contained within this medium are symbols. These symbols, including letters and words being read, in turn, connote meaning intended by the sender and received by the public (Giroux, 1993). All communication involves the use of these symbols. These markers are culturally define and are imbued with meaning. Much of our communicative behaviour is outside our awareness because communication is a cultural phenomenon; language flows from culture (Westwood & Ishiyama, 1990). It is from these generally shared meanings that knowledge, values, beliefs, and attitudes (in short, culture) are created and perpetuated. Knowledge is not something received, but through reception is created within an individual and/or group (Fitzgerald, 1993; Giroux, 1993; Kim, 1986; Schoem, Frankel, Zuniga, & Lewis, 1993). What we are doing is sending, via language, information. Data information is the concretized form of knowledge of the world we have created for ourselves. We are always "converting" knowledge to the symbols of language and reconstituting it back into knowledge for ourselves. Knowledge is the meaning making people use to construct their individual worlds as they experience it. The knowledge we create for ourselves can, to a degree, be "translated" into symbols of language, however, because of the rigidity of language the translation is never identical to our internal knowledge creation. Language reflects the era within which it is used. As times change so does language. Because of this, expressions work to shape cultural ethos. Bissoondath (1994) shows, graphically, how temporally fragile communication can be, in his book, Selling Illusions; 78 Within three generations, then, the language of my great-grandparents had all but disappeared, and along with it had gone a way of life: dependence on the land, religious belief. We felt no sense of loss, no tincture of regret, no romantic attachment to a language that no longer served the purposes of our circumstance. And those of my parents' generation who still clung to the distant past - the few women who wore only saris, the few men who went to India in search of wives came to be viewed as eccentric and foolish (p.79). Ethnicity and language refer to commonalities which tie together members of a group. Language contributes to an overall sense of belonging for individuals within the referent group (Sue & Sue, 1990). Members of a particular ethnic group identify more closely with those who share their language as opposed to people sharing their cultural background (Gudykunst & Kim, 1988). Language of a particular group structures meaning, determines how members define things, perpetuates culture by allowing language to be the conveyor of meaning, traditions, and reference points, all of which profoundly affects world views, or perspectives (Sue & Sue, 1990). Because of this specificity of attachment to a particular culture, various groups will use different symbols to communicate (dissimilar languages). The enclave could have embedded in their symbols, meanings similar to, or different from, the meanings constructed and accepted within those different cultures. The styles or methods of communicating reflect the overall values of a culture (Dias-Guerrero & Diaz-Loving, 1994 ; Kim 1986). Just as Kim (1986) describes ethnic differences between the styles of Japanese and American speakers (i.e. the former values group conformity, silence, formality and reserve while the latter values individuality, assertiveness, familiarity, and "small talk"), I believe differences of language and speech differs, also, for cultures more broadly defined. 79 The importance of cross-cultural communication competency is a key factor in successfully adjusting to a new cultural and linguistic context (Gudykunst & Schmidt, 1988;Ishiyama, 1994; Louw-Potgieter & Giles, 1988). Not being able to make the adjustment because of language dysfluency has a variety of psychological effects -including social invalidation of the self. The focus seems to remain upon ethnicity, and, to some degree, colour and "race". The broader concept of culture is not included. As Ishiyama (1994) states, an immigrant's concept of self-validation has direct affect upon culture generally; Self - validation is regarded as a phenomenologically composite experience [my emphasis] of the affirmation or restoration of five interrelated areas; a) security, comfort, and support; b) self-worth/self-acceptance; c) love, fulfillment, and meaning in life; d) competence and autonomy; e) identity and belonging. This delineation also approximates Maslow's hierarchy of needs (Zimbardo & Ruch, 1976, p. 115). Meanings constructed and perpetuated within the language of a particular public are those of the predominant, or most powerful, culture within that society (Giroux, 1993). Minority cultures are not included. In order to communicate, marginalized groups must adopt the language of the majority (For example, English as the international business language establishes the Euro/North American culture as the pre-eminent business power -all other cultures must conform to the American influence.). Language tends to exclude minority cultures regardless of the society. Not being able to communicate through the language of the predominant culture or having a communication style not of the societal norm (i.e. older people may speak more slowly, gays/lesbians may be perceived to have speaking styles of the opposite gender, some 80 disabilities reduce speaking ability for some people) can therefore preclude groups from the "norm" (Ficarroto, 1990; Shor, 1993). What does this exclusion mean for those negatively affected? Identity This study draws from the definition of identity constructed within Chapter One in which identity is considered synonymous with self-concept. A person's sense of self includes both how s/he uniquely experiences and imagines her/himself interacting and appearing within the world. A significant point to consider is that each person is profoundly shaped by others interacted with as well. Sartre discusses this, at length, in relation to how one's identity includes the consciousness of a person existing within the larger world (1943). However, the notion of context remains an illusive concept because a specific environment contains elements which allow people to ascribe certain meanings which "outsiders" may not comprehend or identify with. To add to the complexity is the idea that our self identity is dependent upon how a person interprets his/her interactions within the larger world (Fitzgerald, 1974; Smith, 1996). My concept of identity is closely tied to the context of recent immigrants (in Canada between six to nine months) as they experience an opportunity to define themselves through automatic painting and reflection. Within the language of identity, metaphor takes an important place. Metaphor is the figurative conceptualization of one thing in terms of another, usually moving from an abstract to a concrete form, although the reverse can happen. This symbolism can refer to a person as a thing, objectifying them, in order to diminish the personal. This was the language often used in terms of slavery (Haizlip, 1994), or the language used to describe gays and lesbians by others (Ficarotto, 1990). It is interesting to note that this sort of objectifying through metaphoric language is usually used by the hegemonic mainstream toward marginalized groups. 81 Some "scientific" studies have made sense of identity through key terms of "person", "self, "self-concept", "ego", among others (Davies, 1996;Fitzgerald, 1993; Millikan, 1997). There appear to be few, if any, attempts of direct phenomenological or subjective studies carried out to date involving multicultural or cross-cultural research. This is echoed by Pedersen (1997) and Ross-Gordon (1991). The majority of current intercultural communication research remains contradictory, leaving much room for a study into the phenomenon of cultural identity in transition (Fitzgerald, 1993). This type of work is considered a novel approach to create a link between communication and identity (Fitzgerald, 1993). Within this study a specific form of communication, cross-cultural acculturation programs, and the "meaning" of identity was explored. Fitzgerald (1993) continued by saying that there remains a "lack of agreement" (p.20) with relation to identity's various levels and meanings. This thesis examined a specific context, using the words of the participants to construct, at least, one definitive meaning, out of a myriad of possibilities, for contextualized identity. Self-concept, or identity, is believed to help reinforce and affirm the core values of a society (Fitzgerald, 1993). As the basic beliefs of society change, over time, communicative competencies can become challenged. Identities are not static entities; they change in response to the broad environment, as well as to specific, fleeting contexts. Because there are multiple aspects to each identity, each dimension recedes or is brought forward depending on what is considered most important in conjunction to the environment in which a person finds themselves. For example, a person who may exist in some sort of natural disaster will respond differently than if they are in a circus or at the bedside of a dying loved one. Each context calls up certain aspects of the self which the person feels is most appropriate, backgrounding those aspects not considered needed in the 82 context. Over time, people modify their behaviours and sense of self because of aging processes. There is a whole science, demographics, built upon this presumption. Most people in their twenties behave in similar ways. When these same individuals are in their forties they behave as their predecessors did. When people retire they, in turn, behave as those who came before (Foot, 1996). According to Kim (1986) there is much confusion concerning identity and culture. This study, in part, proposes to explore this ambiguity. My belief is that these two concepts are not synonymous but are interconnected. When describing a person's or group's identity there are two perceptions which should be taken into account (Giroux, 1993). The first is that of the outsider looking in while the second is the person's or group's own perception of who they believe themselves to be. Models of identity formation look at different aspects of this. There is a model of Black identity formation with stages of pre-encounter (before entering a new cultural environment), encounter (experiencing a novel cultural environment), immersion-emersion (resisting what a person is encountering), and internalization (taking on the attributes of the new, host culture as part of who a person perceives themselves to be) (Sue and Sue, 1990). This approximates the Atkinson, Morten, and Sue model (cited in Sue & Sue, 1990. P.97) for racial and cultural identity formation (Table 1). The Helms (cited in Bollin & Finkel, 1995, p. 26) model for White identity formation of conformity (being like every one else), dissonance (experiencing a stress with the differing, new culture and the more ingrained way of being through one's home culture), resistance and immersion (trying to block the novel context from affecting an immigrant's sense of self), introspection (beginning to examine ways of how to include some aspects of a new culture in with older, more established behaviour and meaning making patterns), and integrative awareness (achieving a larger, more inclusive sense of 83 identity which encompasses aspects of the home and host culture into an identity that is neither completely one or other of the cultures experienced by someone). The major differences between these two (Black and White) "racial" identity models are the pre-encounter stage for Blacks - or before a person of colour enters a new culture; this seems to approximate the conformity stage for White identity development. The notion of a White identity model has arisen only recently (Suzuki, Meller & Ponterotto, 1996). The first stage, and apparently a rather "radical" notion is the concept of White as a racial identity. This is the idea of breaking out of the encapsulation of one's Whiteness, or understanding that White is not the given or neutral concept previous believed for generations (Suzuki, Meller & Ponterotto, 1996). The encountering stage for Black populations is similar to "White dissonance". This is where the presupposition of their racial beliefs (Blacks being undervalued, Whites believing in their superiority) begins to be questioned. Both White and Black racial identity models have an immersion/emersion (resistance and then integration) aspect which involves withdrawing from predominant cultural values; for Whites this seems to involve critical questioning of their beliefs while for Blacks the adoption of their own cultural beliefs comes under review. The second difference between the models is that the Black identity model stops at the stage of internalization where inner conflicts between the old and the new identities are worked through. The focus or ideal is to become more multicultural, or inclusive in one's interactions with others in the world.. The White identity model has two stages at this point; internalization and integrative awareness. The former is the critical reflective stage of working through cultural presuppositions; the second is the active seeking out of new and diverse cultural experiences in order to continue the act of becoming more culturally conversant and competent. The cultural identity model of Atkinson, Morten, and Sue has one stage for integrative awarenss. Table 2 - Racial/cultural identity development Stages of Attitude Attitude Attitude toward Attitude Minority toward toward Others of toward Development self Others of different Dominant Model the Same Minority minority Group Stage 1 - self group discriminatory group Conformity depreciating depreciating appreciating Stage 2 - conflict conflict conflict between conflict Dissonance • between between dominant held between self- group- views of minority group-depreciating depreciating hierarchy and appreciating and and group- feelings of and group-appreciating appreciating shared experience depreciating Stage 3 - self- group- conflict between group-Resistance appreciating appreciating feelings of depreciating and empathy for immersion other minority experiences and feelings of culturo-centrism Stage 4 - concern concern with concern with concern with Introspection with basis nature of ethnocentric the basis of of self- unequivocal basis for judging group-appreciation appreciation others depreciation Stage 5 - self- group- group- selective Integrative appreciating appreciating appreciating appreciation Awareness Source: Atkinson, D.R., Morten, G., & Sue, D.W., 1989) 85 The limitations with these models are their decontextuality, ahistoricity, linearity, and the neat compartmentalization, of something very individual, into ordered stages. These dynamics, in their combination, seem to preclude variation and minimize the differences among, and within, subgroups existing in a larger ethnic grouping. With these limitations in mind I would like to add a third linear model of cultural development; the Cass model of homosexual identity formation (1979). The first two models rely upon the more narrowly defined concepts of "culture". The model by Cass raises how identities are developed through a mores, broadly defined. These six stages include: identity confusion (between the favoured, societally predominant norm of being heterosexual versus the socially perceived stigmatized identity of being homosexual); identity comparison (looking at the potential of "becoming" identified as homosexual -what is lost and what is gained as a result); identity tolerance (the seeking out of the gay culture to see if this "lifestyle" can be "lived with"); identity acceptance (taking from the gay culture those attributes which are felt to be relevant and validating being humanly homosexual); and identity pride (the "devaluing" of heterosexual norms as the only acceptable way of being versus accepting homosexual cultural values as a legitimate alternative integrating these new beliefs into their overall identity structure - the ascension of homosexuality over perceived oppressive, "normative" heterosexual behaviour so that both can be integrated into a bi-cultural or multicultural identity) (Cass, 1979). The final stage is the synthesis stage where homosexuality becomes an aspect of the person's total sense of self. Homosexuality no longer is considered the whole identity of the person. There is a greater balance of being able to incorporate dimensions of homosexuality and heterosexuality into the overall self-concept of the individual (Cass, 1979). 86 Synthesis DEGREE OF INTEGRATION Identity Pride Identity Acceptance Identity Tolerance Identity Comparison Identity Confusion PASSAGE OF TIME Figure 4: The Cass homosexual identity development model In discussing these three models of identity formation there has been a minimal amount of focus on intra-group differences. Not all blacks, whites, gays/lesbians, etc. behave in the same way, nor do all group members have the same identity characteristics. This seems to hold for virtually all cultural groupings. Neither have I explored the dynamic involving the intersection of two or more cultural aspects and their potential influence upon one's cultural identity. This will be briefly discussed in the next section of the literature review. Intersecting Identities In the preceding discussion there was a somewhat reductionistic aspect to the pulling apart and separation of culture, identity, and language as though this were possible in reality. These are all woven together in a tight weave, which is hard to tease apart. There is, in much of the cross-cultural literature, a tendency to look at identity, culture, and language in a type of "purity," or singular form, as can be found within some literature ("all" women behave in certain ways as do "all" men, or "all" homosexuals behave in one way - which "must" be opposite to heterosexuals and so on (Belenky et al, 1997; Bissoondath, 1994; Cass, 1979; Bollin & Finkel, 1995; Ficarotto, 1990; hooks, 1984; 87 Louw-Potgieter & Giles, 1988; Sue & Sue, 1990; Taft, 1977; Vacc et all, 1988) in isolation of every other world view or perspective dimension. Within some current societies, there are many opportunities for a number of cultures to intermingle, resulting in much greater multi-faceted self concepts or identities. However, issues such as the following arise: I want to call myself Canadian, but I'm not allowed. My name is Hungarian by origin so therefore I am Hungarian. It doesn't matter that on my mother's side I'm seventh generation Canadian and before that our family came from Great Britain. It doesn't matter that I can't speak Hungarian and have only a marginal understanding of the culture. It doesn't matter that I was born and raised in Canada. It doesn't even matter that I am white... .My husband could have been born and raised in another country, but if he had an Anglo name then I would get my status (Szepesi, K., 1994. p. 29). Nobody has only one aspect to their identity. People are, instead, a composite of many mediating cultures working in concert with one another. An example of this is my facets of personhood include being a Canadian, bi-ethnic, gay, "late baby boomer/generation Xer" male. All of these aspects, and others not mentioned, work together to create an identity. This positionality also includes dimensions of culture such as being Canadian, bi-racial, gay, and male. It is debatable whether being of a certain age is cultural versus generational. But what does all of this mean? What is the "fixedness", or the point of intersection, of my identity? Cultural literature seems not to explore these intersecting identities and the mitigating influences that may result. However, some writers do indicate that research is greatly needed in this area relating to the meaning of identity (Sue and Sue, 1990). An extensive search of the primary research literature (both quantitative and qualitative) was 88 done by one writer to examine the extent of studies done within cultural issues and adult education. The result was that this is an area that seems to be ignored Ross-Gordon (1991). She reported the majority of the small number of studies found examined race, culture, ethnicity or colour in isolation, while keeping all other identity dynamics "neutral". A fuller inclusion of identity and the dynamics which shape one's self concept seems to be, in order to better understand the multi-layering of meaning attached to cultural identity. Culture Shock Picture in your mind the last time you, the reader, travelled to another country, or another part of this country or the city you live within. You, the reader, probably had a lot of fun learning how the local people lived their lives. I am wondering whether you came across anything that annoyed you - either something large or tiny. Perhaps you observed what others were doing at the time, around you and thought to yourself that they were doing something wrong, or you would not do something or think in - or "they have it wrong " or some other point where you compare others within their own culture and you find that it is they who have it wrong? Were you wrong? Were they wrong? These feelings are also encountered as we experience culture shock. These experiences come from a "mismatch" of our sense of place within the world through our system of customs, environmental cues, and cultural norms. When we are in a new environment where the taken-for-granted is no longer there to keep one's balance, it becomes very disorienting. There is a feeling that having not changed so it must be something else external. This, in turn, sparks an increased sense of lack of control on your part conjuring up feelings of fear, loss, sadness, frustration, anger, and ultimately stress. (Berry, Kim, & Boski, 1988; Furnham, 1989; Oberg, 1997; Pedersen, 1994). However, culture shock is not limited to the experience of crossing from one country (national culture) into another. Have you, the 89 reader, experienced unemployment? Think back to the first few weeks of not working. What were the emotions? Any major life event has some of or all the aspects of culture shock (Zapf, 1991). A pivotal life event for me, was "coming out" to myself and eventually to others around me, as being gay. My whole world was turned upside down and inside out for a few years. Feeling this way I needed to come out to theirs in order find help and support (Chapter Two). Interestingly, in the case of "coming out" it is not the world that has changed as much as the meaning the social environment has inscribed upon me as a result of my disclosure. The struggle becomes how much has changed as opposed to how much the world changes its interpretation and meaning (and value) as a result of the new information. The greater the perceived difference between the taken-for-granted and the novel, the greater the shock (Pedersen, 1994). What is "culture shock"? It seems to be described as either an adjustment process (Yoshikawa, 1988) or as a malady/illness (Oberg, 1997). Both definitions seem to illustrate that the stress of crossing cultures is "curable". Time being the most important factor. Oberg introduced the term in 1958 in order to describe the anxiety resulting from the loss of one's sense of how to behave when social cues are either missing or changed (Pedersen, 1997). The reason for this sense of difference and shock is that people are not having their identity validated; they are being negated, wholly or in part, by the new culture. People become motivated to seek out self-validation, or having who they are affirmed by others (Ishiyama, 1995). Self-validation, here is meant to include both one's internal world as well as how their external world relates to them. There were many models of culture shock described and explored by Zapf (1991). The models all follow a similar pattern. I have included a recent model here in the form of 90 Table 2. The table shows five stages; honeymoon, disintegration, reintegration, autonomy, and interdependence (Pedersen, 1995). Although this is a stage or linear model there are times when a person experiencing culture shock can regress, fall back to earlier stages, become stuck at one stage, or be in flux between two stages. The model is more dynamic than the "U" shape suggests (Pedersen, 1995). The "U" model is so named because the model traces the emotional bearing of a person as they adapt to a new culture. The person starts on a high, or in a "tourist" mode. This is where everything in the new culture or environment is new, exciting and different. There is no perceived attachment or recognition that this person is actually part of the new environment they find themselves travelling within. Then, as the person acknowledges this is an environment they have to actively seek membership as opposed to simply observing the activity as it is experienced, they sense an increased notion of sinking while becoming emotionally depressed. This is represented by sliding down toward the bottom of the U in the curve. As the person begins to incorporate novel learning, taking on the meanings of the new cues their sense of identity becomes "re-integrated" once again. The emotional make-up of the person begins to improve. This is represented by movement up the right hand side of the U curve. The final stage is an increased assimilation of other world views so that a person moves closer toward becoming a more "multicultural" person (Berry, Kim, & Boski, 1988; Oberg, 1997; Pedersen, 1994, 1997; Yoshikawa, 1988; Zapf, 1991). It is also a state of mind experienced during specific life events. It is an adjustment with the aim of reducing conflict, or dissonance, between new environments and taken-for-granted behaviour within more accustomed surroundings (Berry, Kim & Boski, 1988). Cultural adjustments have a persistent existence over time. This is as the result of people, new to the environment, have with others who have become a part of the social context. If 91 the behaviours between the person from another home culture is different from or in opposition to someone of the host culture may learn to develop a complementary world view (Yoshikawa, 1988). In describing culture, defined earlier, I see it as being a system of beliefs, transmitted in some way to other members of a group. When studying mores, as in this study, there are two "positions" a person can take with relation to society and the participants who will be introduced a little later. These positions, or approaches, are "etic" or "emic" ones. Briefly, an "etic" approach is the study of behaviour from a position outside the cultural system being explored (this thesis has been placed on the border, weaving in and out) while examining many cultures comparing them with one another (this will be done to limited degree). A "structure" is usually created (this study will be more one of drawing themes as a result of exploration rather than a structure per se), and criteria developed to evaluate these cultures are absolute or universal (this will not be; everything will be provisional. No criteria will be preconceived). An emic approach in studying culture, on the other hand, is through exploring the system of mores from an internal perspective. Only one culture is examined at a time. Rather than create a structure with evaluative criteria, these are discovered by the researcher. (Gudykunst, Ting-Toomey, & Nishida, 1996). As immigrants move from one context to another, or from one situation to another, their overall identities shift or are transformed in response to their new context. At least one researcher believes there remains a small "core" of identity inside of us (Collier & Thomas, 1988). This seems to be rather difficult to maintain because it implies a tension within a person as they pass through various environments. Even as the outer "layers" of meaning are moulded and affected, there has to be also, to some degree, change to the deep 92 inner self or identity - including my experience of a "core". Because most situations involve other people, social interactions are key in shaping our identities through our negotiations with other people as they challenge our identities - confirming, or negating senses of selveswho we are (Collier & Thomas, 1988). Identity is a combination of ideas about "being" and "acting". People who experience cross-cultural transitions are said to have deficits in the host culture where their home language, nuances of behaving, and social competencies are not communicating effectively or clearly in their new environment (Westwood & Ishiyama, 1990). How long does this process last? Duration of individual stages vary from person to person but the overall process of adjustment into a new culture can be expected to last about a year or perhaps longer (see Table 3)(Foster, cited in Zapf, 1991 ). This is why, as will be described in Chapter Four, I was looking for people who had arrived between six and nine months prior to the study beginning. This period of time would, theoretically, place the participants approximately at the bottom end of the U curve. The emotions experienced by these people, as a result, would be quite intense making the painting process and outcomes more dynamic and intense. To sum up, the immigrants you will be meeting a little later will be experiencing culture shock at various levels of intensity and at different stages. Common reactions that experienced can include culture fatigue (Pedersen, 1997), as evidenced by psychosomatic (the brain, under stress, tells the body there is something wrong when physiologically there is not, except, perhaps, at a superficial level) disorders. Culture shock is described as a sense of loss, of letting go of things familiar, as an initial rejection of the new environment, and a general feeling of being lost and helpless (Kim & Ruben, 1988). There is an additional element only recently being explored; culture shock as period of intense learning and growth. It has, traditionally, been treated like an illness (Oberg, 1997, Zapf, 1991), or 93 as a problem to be corrected rather than as learning. This latter aspect I shall explore further. Culture shock is now seen as a period of internal change, where a person's thinking, as well as emotional, and behavioural processes are thought to undergo their initial, cultural socialization. This includes the "moving away" from what has been considered "normal" within their previous cultural environment (Kim & Ruben, 1988; Pedersen, 1995; Pedersen; 1994). As the paintings of the participants in this study are explored patterns should become evident as the art unfolds over time. . 94 Table 3 - Five stages of culture shock Stages of Culture Relation to Relation to Time Locus of Emotional Shock Home Culture Host Culture Period Control Dimensions from Attribution Initial Entry Stage 1 - identify with seen as exotic; seen as wonderment, Honeymoon or home, distant, naive externally thrill, fun, positive Tourist insulated by dissociation, 1 -3 controlled i.e. outlook, prior child like, first mos. Fate, adventure socialization learning, accident, spectator, chance tourist, outsider Stage 2 - shattering of disorientation; internal; confusion; Disintegration aspects (or withdrawal; them versus clumsiness; total) identity helplessness; 3-6 me; not tension; stress; as established alien; foreigner mos. allowed to frustration; self-norms participate; blame; failure; irrelevant, not don't know sense of loss; valued how; loss of depression; control pain; inadequacy Stage 3 - . initial hostility; sees external; shift anger; hostility; Reintegration loosening from host culture in' blame back defensiveness; ; home; letting stereotypical to others sense of feeling go/loss; yet ways; 6-9 "stuck"; still strong condescension mos. resentment identity with ; beginning home - good recognition of as opposed to new culture; the bad host still bad, • culture negative Stage 4 - focus is begins relating self-assurance; Autonomy lessened here to host culture; internal; more confidence; more as sees legitimate fully autonomy; distance is differences 9-12 functioning relaxed; empathy; created between mos. person tolerance home/host; more positive Stage 5 -Interdependence positive aspects carried forward; blended with host culture; look at culture as a relativity transcends to include aspects of 12+ host/home to mos. form new personal culture or positionality internal; fully functioning; incorporating aspects of new with aspects of old culture sense of belonging; trust; authenticity; sense of transcending one culture to become bi cultural; identity broadens becomes more inclusive; sense of reconnection; coming full circle Source: Pedersen, P. (1994) 95 Cross-Cultural Programming As Freire suggests (cited in Shor, 1993), teaching and learning are human experiences with profound social consequences. Education and programs are seen as sites where the individual and society are constructed (Giroux, 1993; Shor, 1993). Empowering education is that which is democratic and transformative with regard to the relationship between learner and teacher, learner and learning, and learners and society (Jarvis, 1987; Shor, 1993). Since it is through education that culture is, in large part, constructed and perpetuated within a society; it may, also, be that pedagogy provides the potential for culture and identity to be transformed. However, this would require education to occur, predominantly, outside state institutions of "schools", which tends toward maintaining the status quo, to other environments of learning and teaching, such as community settings and/or alternative schools. This is particularly true, when one observes the intrusion of large corporate entities investing directly into colleges and universities so that we have things like the "Royal Bank" Library. These financial influences will also be able to shape education in schools to suit narrow corporate needs. It does seem to shudder back to the notion that the most powerful within a culture are able to shape the idea of "normalcy" within a particular society. In traditional liberal education, culture and social identities are invented through meanings and language from the top down with the educational structural hierarchy (Freire, as cited in Shor, 1993). Culture becomes something objectified, and commodified (Dicker, 1994; Giroux, 1993) through "official knowledge" such as classical Western literature, art, theatre, etc. The learner becomes a passive recipient of this "constructed" knowledge. This relationship may be accentuated in the situation of new immigrants wanting to "fit in" to the predominant culture. In the process, their own culture, and identity may become misplaced or lost (Pedersen & Pedersen, 1984). The models of 96 identity development, described earlier, would support this. It can be seen that should an individual get "stuck" at one of these developmental stages within the cultural identity models the skewing of their world view would also result in distorted perceptions (Cass, 1979; Sue & Sue, 1990). According to Westwood and Borgen (1988) there is "an apparent lack of programs that translate this understanding [intercultural communication] into effective practice" (p.115). Communication competence has been defined as; .. .the ability to function in a manner that is perceived to be relatively consistent with the needs, capacities, goals, and expectations of the individuals in one's environment while satisfying one's own needs, capacities, goals, and expectations (Ruben, cited in Westwood & Borgen, 1988, p.117). This definition seems to fit Ishiyama's (1995b) dimensions for facilitating cross-cultural communication, which include ...affiliation/support, social relaxation, interaction management, interaction posture, empathy, tolerance for ambiguity, orientation to knowledge, knowledge of the culture of the other, tolerance for difference and awareness of personal boundaries (p.264). Cross-cultural and diversity education seem to take learners as the educator finds them (Acton, 1997). There is limited attempt at going back in the learner's history before moving forward. How does this make the learner feel? What does this mean for the student? There seems to be little attempt at incorporating the immigrant's home culture with the new host culture to create a cultural "bridge" between the two. In the process of learning cross-cultural competency, or acculturation, there is a stage of unlearning before re-learning can occur. In some literature there seems to be only 97 passing mention of this (Christensen, 1992; Taft, 1977). It seems unclear what role, if any, unlearning plays in the process of cross-cultural learning and the effect upon identity transformation. Davidson (1995) and Sork (1988) claim that in planning programs there may not be opportunity to involve the potential learners in the planning of programming, however, with cross-cultural interventions I would consider the participants' input of paramount importance for inclusion in order to be sure that the needs (both, personally, historically and culturally rooted and the more current ascribed and felt requirements) are accurately addressed prior to the learning intervention taking place. This is an ethical dimension that seems to be addressed in the literature from a Western, white, straight, male perspective (or the predominant cultural view) which may or may not be accurate. In the programming literature it appears to be that education is something done to someone else by another (Adams, 1991; Davidson, 1955; Jarvis, 1987; Sork, 1988; Sork & Caffarella, 1989). The constructivist view of meaning is considered to be a social process rather than an individual one. This creates a need for the learning environment to be collegial, and cooperative, as opposed to a more "expert-driven" and hierarchical one (Todd, 1994). New learners, who are also immigrants to this country, may become overwhelmed during the learning intervention, having expectations raised and left unrealized, while at the same time having meanings distorted as a result of a mainstream representative directing the process of acculturation. This may come through in the participants' wishes to "please" the instructor so as not to dishonour him/her or the instructor's teaching efforts. Some of this was felt when Jasmine, from Taiwan, would ask how she should answer in order to assist me and my study. Any identity changes, as a result of an "expert-driven" or "autocratic" program, and the resultant meaning of the transformed identity may only be superficial. Immigrants' identities could wind up being something more shallow in order to appease 98 and meet the approval of the educator, therefore, not fully incorporated into their view of themselves in the world. The "good immigrant" identity would be worn like a mask as though it remained something outside of the newcomers, themselves, and worn when required. As Todd (1994) states, We change a culture by generating a new one: by entering into new forms of interaction; by engaging in new activities; and by using new tools and instruments to develop different practices. The recognition - better, affirmation - of difference is intrinsic to this process. We need to hear different viewpoints from different voices if we are to undertake even the first step of entering into new forms of interaction; and this is a process leading in directions which we cannot fully predict, for the process of participating in such interactions [cross-cultural programs] and activities also changes us" (p.114). Westwood and Borgen (1988) say that communication breaks down when the transmission of meaning from sender to receiver is distorted as a result of the decoding system which is synonymous with, and mediated by, the perceptual system. In cross cultural programming it is readily apparent, through differing world views, that there will be potential, if not a reality, for much distortion between the program facilitators and the learners. When there is loss of meaning occurring, as a result of communication distortion, there is created a level of defensiveness for both the receiver and sender (Dornyei, 1995; Westwood & Borgen, 1988). This becomes particularly acute when people from widely diverse cultures try to learn within one educational environment. With distortion so potentially prevalent it would seem prudent to ensure that meanings are made as clear as possible and discussed fully among all learners. In this way learners have better opportunities for formulating authentic cultural identities that suits their individual or group purposes. 99 It is not so much the teacher who teaches, but the learner who learns (Taft, 1977). However, it is also the teacher who can stifle the process of learning from taking place. Divergent cultures working upon one another are a source of interference as well. A method described by Mezirow (1978) by which perspectives, or world views, could be transformed relies upon the concept of "disorienting dilemmas" (p. 106). These dilemmas are socio-cultural, epistemic, or psychological events which serve to bring to our consciousness cognitive dissonance. The source of this distortion is through the way we perceive the world. In order for the perspective or world view to be changed, reflective or communicative action must take place. A central theme in Mezirow's (1978) writing and his "learning theory" is the concept of internalized meaning for the learner. Perspective transformation "theory" has much to offer in providing a way of informing how cultural boundaries become crossed effectively, with identities intact. This will be explored later in this chapter. Cross-Cultural Counselling The uniqueness of the cross-cultural counseling dynamic provides many challenges and wonderful opportunities for progress. You, the reader, should remember, from earlier in this thesis, that 'culture' was broadly defined to include, not only colour and ethnicity, but also personal aspects such as religion, birth order, gender, and sexuality. The broadening of the definition of 'culture' serves to take into consideration the whole person who is seeking re-integration of the aspects of their identity. The re-integration is to bring back into focus the person's sense of who they are, after the shock of having their identity jarred out of synch as a result of becoming caught between the grind of two shifting cultures. 100 Within the counseling relationship, between therapist and one who is sorting themselves out during a period of culture shock, the dynamic becomes challenging because the counsellee will draw from one or other or combination of parts of their cultural background while addressing particular culture shock issues (Pedersen, 1997). When more than one cross-cultural counsellee meets with a counselor this dynamic becomes compounded dramatically (Dillard, 1983). To begin with, in establishing the cross-cultural counseling relationship, the counsellor's background has to be taken into account. The literature highlights the notion of counselor bias or 'encapsulation' (Pedersen, 1997). In very simple terms, encapsulation, is when one person observes and evaluates the world, including other people, using, only, the observer's own cultural perspective (Pedersen, 1997, p. 14). Someone who has a background from within a specific culture's mainstream perspective and who observes someone not of the mainstream, but of some marginalized, minority culture within the same specific culture, and who evaluates the latter culture through only the mainstream cultural lens—as though that was the only culture that mattered -this is encapsulation. A particular person, is therefore, defining the world according to one defining set of cultural assumptions and stereotypes that have become highly entrenched and more important than any other set of cultural assumptions. With culture shock it is the undermining of someone's world view or cultural assumptions~once solidly defmed-being forced to crack and crumble in order to grow and expand (Zapf, 1991). Mezirow (1981) describes how encapsulation can become shaken to allow growth and a more inclusive, of other worldviews, perspective. Encapsulation is when we become fixed within our own particular cultural lens to the exclusion of others' specific views. There is no responsibility to try to interpret others' 101 experiences from others' experiences. There remains an impasse which the therapist or counsellor cannot traverse the cultural bridge to understand the experience and perspective of the counsellee. The person going through culture shock becomes an "object" being observed and something to which the therapist applies their therapy (Trevino, 1996). To help alleviate the automatic and exclusive reliance upon our own worldview, there are processes that can be done. The counsellor can work on their notion of 'knowledge' to enlarge the boundary of this concept to go beyond relying on rationality to including affectivity, emotion, intuition, spirituality, story-telling, and personal experience (Ponterotto, 1996). Within Western society creation of knowledge can often become synonymous with 'rational', 'objective' fact. There are many more ways of knowing as well as forms of knowledge which are not so easily measured (Belenky et al, 1997). These other forms can be more powerful and relevant, yet, are often made to appear irrelevant and deemed without value. Another aspect to breaking encapsulation is through other cultures, not of a western philosophy, placing a greater importance upon relationships than upon the individualistic self (Dillard, 1983; Pedersen, 1997; Sue & Sue, 1990). Coupled with this is the almost exclusive reliance upon Western mental health theories to 'fix' people of a non-Westernized worldview (Sue, 1996). 'Westernized' theories also are equated with a heterosexual, masculinist encapsulated lens with which many counselors seem to rely (McLellan, 1995). This seems to presuppose a 'neutrality' and a misleading 'objectivity' which the 'other-cultured', confused person experiencing culture shocked person must navigate to ' reach' the counselor, at a time when the counselor needs to not only reach out to the counsellee but work to understand~and show to the counsellee that they are being understood and not the other way around (Trevino, 1996). 102 Pedersen (1997) identifies some notions which contribute to a racist therapeutic practice. However I would broaden these concepts to oppressive therapeutic practices. These include: counselors often assuming that simply their good intentions makes them helpful; some counselors believe that they can counsel people from any background-they have made no effort to experience, address and name their biases because they feel they have few or no preconceptions; many counselors are not only ineffective but can be very harmful while working with minority clients because they overlook or discount special circumstances that influence both the behavior and adjustment of clients experiencing the crossing of cultures; and lastly the tendency of some counselors to rely almost exclusively upon 'either/or' or 'if/then' thinking which is deeply embedded within Western, ration thought (Mezirow, 1981). This sort of cognition lends itself to racism. This sort of thinking reduces the broader world into very linear, and black/white thinking. To my way of being— and being the focus of many oppressive homophobic attacks, I am sensitive to the world of grey we all live within. That is not to say that I am capable of working with all people, regardless of the population a person may come from. For example, I would find it very difficult to work with someone who was busy discounting me as simply a 'faggot'. I find it difficult to work with people who contain a deep hatred of others not like themselves. I prefer working with people who may be confused or wish to work on some aspect of themselves, either alone or within a group. I inform people that I do not mysteriously hold the answers but that each person holds the key to the issues they face. My role is to help with the process of uncovering the answer. This may not suit people who prefer to be told what the 'right answer' is and so what I do may not be of great benefit to them. That does not mean that they may not receive any benefit, but that it could be greatly reduced. This would be discussed up front with the person-as it was in this study. Jasmine was looking for answers that I was to direct her way. Shewanted to know how she could best answer or 103 tell her story in order to get 'the right answer from me'. When I told her that I did not hold the answer but that if she turned her own eyes inward and did not blink or keep her eyes closed while being honest with herself, she would find what she was seeking. This, as was described earlier, is also in keeping with both Gestalt and feminist therapies. Encapsulation occurs, also, when we assume that only a 'pure' discipline of psychology is best when working with people. Just as people are multi-faceted, with one or more sources of oppression working against them, so it is important to engage as many sources of discipline, or interdisciplinarity to deal with the various oppressions working upon the kaleidoscope of one's identity (Pedersen, 1997). The use of psychology, discussion, art, reflection, music, and visualization allowed each person, within this study, to explore themselves through a variety of ways and perspectives—even though our presence to one another remained somewhat constant. The relationships we had with one another were not filled with scientific and rational 'jargon'. They were filled with stories and experiences embraced by feelings and emotions. If we relied upon jargon--which is the invention of a particular occupational culture - then the relationships would have been marked by distance and not cohesion. I feel that I contain a lot of sensitivity and compassion for those found in highly emotional and challenging circumstances. I also contain homophobia. I contain racism. I contain bias. I contain hatred. So does everyone. Often people are afraid to admit it. Why is that? Because many people are afraid to show weakness. People feel shame. And shame is a tool for control. However, to be as effective a counselor and/or teacher as can be, there must be recognition that we feel these things (Corey, 1991). To deny these things only illustrates encapsulation. It does not mean a simple recognition and acceptance of them— the biggest process for a counselor or teacher is to continually work upon broadening their 104 own inclusivity (Corey, 1991). Encapsulated teachers and therapists tend to believe strongly that they do not contain biases; that they believe in a 'colour-blind' world-with themselves free of racism (Sue & Sue, 1991). Pedersen (1997, p. 34) highlights 'devaluing' of alternative therapeutic/educational intervention through the example of visualization. He shows that visualization and a more holistic approach to mental health, though very beneficial, appear generally as 'footnotes in the more traditional counseling literature'. And for many non-Western cultures, it is this internal visualization which people of these cultures draw upon (Dillard, 1983). There are cultures where there are few professional counselors to help with identity issues so people of these cultures have been culturally taught to seek help by going inside themselves, or exploring their life history (which is a series of stories passed from one generation to another), as well as the experiences that they have gone through, which they have turned into stories, 'listening' to their ancestors, or remembering lessons conveyed by their elders. (Dillard, 1983; Sue & Sue, 1990) Because culture contains the communication needed to perpetuate a system of knowing and interpreting the world, meaning-making is key. Culture allows the participants within a specific context to not only understand the behaviours of others but also the expectations that they anticipate lie behind those behaviors (Pedersen, 1997). This is in keeping with a social constructivist or interpretivist view of the world (Boshier, 1994). Both are needed to create meaning. The social contructivist view allows a group of people to create 'structures' of discourses which create commonly-held meanings among people. However, the interpretivist view, exemplified by Mezirow, proposes that each 105 individual creates meaning of their unique worlds for themselves (Boshier, 1994; Mezirow, 1981). It is both that are needed for meaning. I don't see combining the two as conflicting but complementary. In order to reduce conflict between counselor/educator and the members of a group, from different cultural backgrounds there are several key dynamics that should be evident. As with our group, the status of each group member and facilitator was relatively equal (recognizing my more evident power as a function of being facilitator); the social climate we created within each session was positive, supportive, and safe; the contact among ourselves was deep, meaningful, and profound as opposed to something casual and fleeting; and our time together was rewarding for each of us with everyone having the opportunity to give and take in order to foster personal understanding and growth (Pedersen, 1997, p. 51). For Asian cultures, there is both duty and honour to each person's existence (Dillard, 1983). When there is a birth, that infant carries all the previous lives of its ancestors within its body, mind, and spirit (Dalton, 1994). Each person is, therefore, duty bound to honour the memories of its predecessors and to ensure the memories and honour of their forbears does not become tarnished so Art Therapy In deciding what method I would rely upon I, initially, fell back to what I knew best and what I was most comfortable with. In my case it was art, generally, and theatre, more specifically. However, theatre, is far more involved - including movement, voice, space, time, character, scene development, and so on. In my mind something more in line with doctoral work. 106 I wanted to remain within the aesthetic, and through the literature settled upon painting; in this case watercolour. Through an art therapy workshop I took part in I found that sculpture was a more deliberate, conscious medium remaining more on the surface, dealing with the texture of things. The use of sandplay (making patterns in the sand) was used for control and soothing reasons. Other forms such as cooking, sewing, needlework were meditative, therapeutic and relaxing. These all made some moves toward the subconscious but not focusing in upon the area of exploration of this study. I was looking for something more. Exploring clay, I found it's tactile qualities had me thinking of childhood and earlier times. I was told it was a medium used for working through anger and aggression. As such, it has a tie to releasing physical feelings. Drawing with pencils, markers, or pastels were used for people who needed a lot of control in their lives because of fears and anxieties they faced. As I explored painting, I found the colours immediately drew me to different feelings and emotions. As was mentioned, in the workshop the liquidity of the paints and the use of water generally were seen as being signs of sadness, letting go and grieving. With the experience of crossing cultures, and the attached shock of living within the unfamiliar much of what faces people was a letting go of things familiar and grieving for the loss of their ethnic and cultural home country and, as such, large sources of identity validation. Colours tended to have a very universal language of their own as well, in that a particular colour would symbolize similar emotions, things or events within people's lives, regardless of culture (Chevalier & Gheerbrant, 1994; Hupka, Zaleski, Otto, Reidl, & Tarabrina, 1997; Wills, 1993). Some quick examples included red symbolizing blood, war, masculinity; green symbolizing growth as in plants; blue symbolized the sky and space; and black symbolized death and mourning (Chevalier & Gheerbrant, 1994).! chose 107 watercolours because of the above reasons, in particular, but also for practical reasons as well. Acrylic or oil paints were harder to clean, maintain, and work with. They were also more expensive than watercolours. Looking at the history of art therapy, and its relatively recent development, I found that it had been used from its earliest time in medical settings. In its earliest days, art therapy was used during and after World War Two when artists visited hospitals to help long-term care war veterans alleviate the boredom of recuperating (Case & Dalley, 1992). Doctors began analyzing patients' artworks to understand the patients' states of mind. "Art therapy", the term, was coined in 1942 by artist Adrian Hill, to describe the work he was doing at the King Edward II Sanitorium in Sussex, England (Waller, 1993). He found that painting not only helped to pass the time, but the painting process allowed for the expressing of feelings and emotions associated with loss, trauma and grieving. This history helped shape the traditional uses to which art therapy has been put - that of a medical one. The history of art therapy continued from these first days through to the present within the medical milieu, in that the art was a way to analyze or diagnose someone, then fix someone because of some identified deficiency or problem, whether because of illness, death, or injury (Case & Dalley, 1992). Within this study, art "therapy" was moved out of the medical setting and placed within a community education setting in order to give people an opportunity to clarify their identities as a result of the shuffling experience of culture shock. The art therapists of the 1950's through to the 1970's were criticized for thrusting themes upon their clients or groups, rather than allowing the group to raise their own topics for exploration (Waller, 1993). The small group I worked with would generally raise their own topics in later meetings. In the early sessions I would raise topics until the group 108 members naturally took over the process and used the space and time to explore for themselves, in their own terms, issues most relevant to them. The use of themes within art therapy was considered a way of containing the anxiety of what to paint; it gave the opportunity to focus the projection found within their minds, as representations, on to paper (Case & Dalley, 1992). Within art therapy, as in Gestalt, and some feminist therapies, there was a strong anti-verbal tradition in that art therapy regarded explanation and/or interpretation with extreme suspicion (Case & Dalley, 1992; Hogan, 1997; Zinker, 1978; McLellan, 1995). The suspicion was that once something was named, those in authority were then able to manipulate and control it while censoring out possible competing knowledges. However, the use of colour, space, shapes and lines could be incorporated to give general impressions of art without turning interpretations into prescriptive exercises. These findings could not, then, be used for any predictive power in order to control people's lives. Instead, the facilitator's role was added to the participants as one with them (Case & Dalley, 1992; Zinker, 1978). While there may have been an expectation of the facilitator's voice taking precedent, ideally, that was not the case here. The literature showed that with few exceptions, colours, the use of lines and space held similar meanings (Chevalier & Gheerbrant, 1994). With the study I provided these universal symbolic meanings for illustration purposes only - and only after the artist had interpreted their own work. A basic assumption supporting art therapy was that it was a kind of "safety net" for projections and that these images held meaning and value not only for the person but for the group (Zinker, 1978). I would extend this assumption - that images and the result of art making conjured meaning for any one who observed it being careful that "the eye that has looked on an object in the light of certain assumptions became a biased witness when that object presented in a different light for a different purpose" (Barzun, 1974). 109 Deoole who participated in art therapy were relieved to know that the facilitator's expectations was not for the participants to please the group leader on some level but the efforts of the group were focused upon the participants recognizing their own heeds and emotions - and resolve some of their own inner questions or conflicts (Case & Dalley, 1992). Another fundamental assumption was that each person constructed their own, individual inner world and because of their self and their unique perception created their own version of "reality" and "truth". Perception was reality within this interpretivist paradigm of being in the world (Boshier, 1994; Zinker, 1978). Because of the inner world and one's unique views and actions out into the outside world, the inner self is continually being reconstructed in reaction to the experiences with others "out there" (Hogan, 1997). This, in turn, determined the individual's view of themselves and of others - thereby affecting the expectations and selves of other people. This was congruent with Sartre's notion of the "gaze" and Foucault's "panopticon", discussed earlier. Within art therapy, the participant gradually realized how inner assumptions, such as those identified through Gestalt therapy, determined how one's interaction patterns develop (Fryrear & Corbit, 1989). Art therapy, like Gestalt, was a counselling technique based upon humanistic and existential/phenomenological philosophies (Waller, 1993). Five concepts were identified as being central to this style of therapy of aesthetics: human actions were not predetermined - freedom was part of the human condition; there was an importance of choice within human life; it is essential to take responsibility for one's actions; death was inevitable and the fact that everyone died could give meaning to their lives and how we lived them; people would be engaged in a creative search for individual patterns that would give meaning to our existence and our continually emerging and changing identities 110 (Fischer, 1973; Hogan, 1997; Lindauer, 1998; Zinker, 1978). As in Gestalt, art therapy took place in the present; dwelling on the past, in the past tense, or planning for the future were not encouraged; being drawn from only sparingly (Zinker, 1978). Both these temporal considerations were only relevant in terms of how they inform the present. The element of "play" or fun within art making would lighten the seriousness, intensity, and intentionality of reflection (Fryrear & Corbit, 1989) The more people let go, the more fun occured and the greater the receptivity to creativity and learning (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996, 1997). The art process also allowed the group process to develop more quickly. The art itself provided a more concrete visibility, availability, and tangibility for all group members. The imagery left behind after the painting sessions (in my instance, I took pictures of the art and returned the originals back to the respective artists) provided value for the group members to reflect back upon the work (Case & Dalley, 1992; Waller, 1993; Zinker, 1978). The art acted as a reminder of the process, like footprints showing the group where they had come from all the while, not knowing where they were headed. And that was okay; the group could concentrate more on the series of steps, or the path than where the journey led. The art pieces also acted as a catalyst for change for the group or its individual members (Waller, 1993). The catalyst served to avoid placing the focus upon an individual or on any specific content of a particular session (Fryrear & Corbit, 1989). As the art group developed and grew it became marked by a high degree of autonomy (this is discussed more fully in Chapter Four). With the group I invited to participated, I was fairly directive at the beginning to help establish the rough process, and structure. As the group became more comfortable with, both, my role as a "hands off facilitator or "leader" was challenged - as it should have been - these art groups became autonomous not requiring a so-called leader for the workshop sessions (Waller, 1993). Near the end of the group workshops, suggestions 1 may have made were challenged or Ill ignored in favour of the participant's own ideas. Rather than assume that I was an ineffective "leader" or facilitator this highlighted for the group that the art process and any initial guidance I offered provided the foundation for members to take control for all aspects of their art, their creative process, and for the group. As they became more and more independent as members of a group. This independence developed within each other's broader life as well. Multicultural counselling also looks toward art, or what this literature refers to as "projective" methods. Three potential ways of exploring culture shock are alluded to as potentials; the Rorschach test, Thematic Apperceptions (pictures are presented to the client and they construct a story based upon the picture), and early childhood memories (Dana, 1998). The latter, multicultural counsellors believe, holds the greatest possibilities. My study draws from participants their histories to tap into what Dana (1998) believes will allow me to better understand the participants' general interpretation of the world, their world views and attitudes toward relationships, their sense of self, their emotional expressiveness, and general coping strategies (Pedersen, Draguns, & Lonner, 1989). Rather than present pictures to the women to have them describe stories which may or may not be directly related to their experience of immigration, I feel that having them draw their own pictures and tell their own stories wil! have a much stronger effect upon their making sense of the world. For Zinnia, she had made a decision that she was going to find a job before the series of sessions ended - and did it with two weeks to spare. She found herself what she considered a perfect job for her and was thrilled - as the whole group was - celebrating with her. Jasmine decided, as part of the Epilogue, in Chapter Six, to move out on her own and find her own apartment, not relying upon others. It would be interesting to see if she stayed within her own Chinese community or ventured out into another area of the city - as she had suggested she would in an early art session. 112 For most people, born in Canada, neither of these decisions may appear very bold or profound - yet for two people new to this country, knowing no one from their home culture, and still learning about the broader society, here, these were life-shifting events. Both signs of autonomy - in part, as reflected through their work, during their paintings and group discussions and the later reflections upon their art. To reflect to the members any change in identity that might have occurred during the time spent in the group I looked for something that could be compared over time. The exercise chosen was the "Body Image" paintings. This was a life sized painting of the member's own bodies (Waller, 1993). Brown parcel paper, approximately three feet wide and eight feet long, was provided for each group member and the facilitator. Each person, in turn, laid upon their parcel paper in a position they felt best represented how they saw themselves at that moment in time. The other two took a large tip felt marker and drew around the person on the paper in a body outline. We each took turns until we each had our own body outline. The group members, then, painted in the body outline how they saw themselves at that moment in time. This was done in the first and last painting sessions with the paintings done in the intervening workshops plotting the path navigated from the first body painting to the second. All the body paintings hung together formed the group portrait of individuals. The art remained as a concrete record of movement in time and space which could not be forgotten. The most important aspect of images was that they conjured up many meanings at different levels as time and space change. While reflecting the culture within which each participant was encapsulated - in this case Australia, Taiwan, and Canada - all the art was created within Canada, specifically a classroom within a community centre within a neighbourhood called Kitsilano, within a city on the West coast of Canada called Vancouver - we were able to "converse" on such a deep and profound level through art. As 113 such, images had a particular association for the artist while they were being made. This could change over time as the image took on a new and different significance through the passage of time, increased insights, and the gaining of further understanding (Anderson, 1989). From a psychoanalytic perspective the encouragement of the process of pictorial expression of inner experience was seen as a process of spontaneous imagery released from the unconscious (Lyddiatt, 1971) - or the releasing of a picture from the private, oftentimes hidden self, to the public self and beyond. The issues of transference and counter-transference were central within art therapy. Transference was when a person transferred strong, raw feelings that originated from childhood experiences on to the facilitator or therapist (Corey, 1991; Case 8L Dalley, 1992). Even though we were exploring childhood stories ! did not feel that this would be an issue, yet I would remain open to the possibility of that happening. I believed that the transference would be on to the paper through the paint and not on to me. Counter-transference was similar to transference. The image was the catalyst for the relationship. Counter-transference was when the facilitator's own feelings were placed upon the image to form meaning (Case & Dalley, 1992). A caution with regard to counter-transference was that the therapist's feelings might result in a defensively evasive reaction back to the group member's own feelings, destroying the efficacy of the painting sessions (Case & Dalley, 1992). A large part of the process that had to be negotiated was the understanding of how this process of communication involving myself and the group members and the image was going to occur. The value of using art as an experiential way of teaching was that aesthetics allowed the group members to overcome the difficulty in speaking because of illiteracy, language dysfluency, or biological inabilities. The use of concrete imagery and pictures as 114 a language was more universal than abstract letters and words. Across cultures, symbols convey similar messages (Chevalier & Gheerbrant, 1994). Pictures provided far more potential and freedoms than the limiting, delimiting and exclusionary nature of words, which were necessarily bounded by culture. The use of art could speed up the progress of what was achieved over more traditional "talking heads" because art was so evocative, feelings and emotions could be gotten in touch with in a more intense, meaningful way (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Lubart & Getz, 1997). Through painting and discovering as perceptions unfold, the artist and participant developed a trust in what they observed around them. Aesthetics encouraged creativity, imagination while promoting a healthier, more fully developed sense of self (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996, 1997). In our society we lived as one of many categories of things and people, constantly trying to make room for and conform to labels (Camus, 1982). Even if the group perceived they were rebelling against a category, the participants were still reliant upon labels. By being opposite something the women were still labeling themselves (Cooke, 1997). Then we entered a mode of being that did not rely upon words - and therefore categories and labels held a lesser importance - and this could be extremely uncomfortable and disorienting (Caputi, 1996; Cooke, 1997; Jolley, Zhi, & Thomas, 1998). Names for things . and words delineated, and therefore allowed, for the controlling of people, objects, and people as objects. Not having access to this could feel very threatening and destabilizing. The converse may be true - that we may actually ignore feelings we experienced, because we did not have the words for them. However, that did not make the feeling, or the effects of these emotions any less real (Jolley, Zhi, & Thomas, 1998; Lubart & Getz, 1997). In addition to painting I also incorporated the use of music (world music, jazz, classical, and soundscapes) because this encouraged all of us to remain focused in the present moment of painting and less on what the painting "should" look like (Gawain, 115 1995; McNiff, 1998; Zinker, 1978). Music played upon our creative, intuitive, emotive brain while minimizing our logical, verbal, censuring brain (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Gawain, 1995). This provided, for the study group, a much more active, whole-body approach to what we did and how we did it. We would stand, squat, kneel, sit, pace all the while with the music urging us on in our journey and our selves floating along for the ride. "Creative visualization is especially good when used by a group, because the group energy tends to support the others, and in this case the whole becomes more than the sum of the parts" (Gawain, 1995). Most people experience blocks to their creativity. I think of it as the two sides, the logical and creative, battling it out for control. Some of the experiences that were encountered navigated as "blocks" included: fear of failure; reluctance to "play" because someone felt or feared they looked foolish or silly (after all adults have outgrown "all of that" when they reach puberty...right??!!); a fear of failure to see one's own strength or weakness; held an over-certainty and reliance upon established formulaic problem solving strategies; or wanted to avoid frustration because of existing intensive ambiguity (Zinker, 1978). People, often, find ourselves bound by the custom of the way things are "always done"; having the ability to fantasize and/or imagine "schooled" out, because of the over emphasis upon rationality, empiricism, and logic as well as the over-valuing of the "objective", "real world", or "common-sensical" while ignoring or demeaning the inner images and visualizations we experience of ourselves (Mezirow, 1981). Many people seem to hold a deep fear of the unknown, needing to bring balance and avoid chaos. For some they can encounter a reluctance to exert influence over another or be seen as pushy because "polite" sensibilities may this as being "oppressive",. The group practiced this very thing on a daily basis in subtle ways, being comfortable with the knowledge while having a reluctance to "let go" (if there was a lot of investment of time, and energy; 116 psychologically, emotionally, and cognitively people will retain beliefs, almost blindly at times) (Mezirow, 1995). Some people in the group preferred to let the passage of time direct the process perhaps because of an under-developed emotional life or an unintegrated yin/yang in that there was no examination of opposites which might have been taken as the only options available (male/female, young/old, native/immigrant, as examples); or not using or relying upon our own primary senses as a way of knowing (Fenner, 1996). What, at times, Jasmine was looking for was permission to be granted by another "authority," allowing them to be fully creative and expressive. Art making and art therapy did this while providing the space and time to do so (Fenner, 1996; Fryrear & Corbit, 1989; McNiff, 1998; Zinker, 1978). As a way to bridge disciplines, while "healing", was the relatively recent development within feminist art therapies.(Hogan, 1997). Today art therapists, working with specific groups, (specific racial groups, for example, or single-sex groups) attempt to integrate their practice with social theory. This has been done in a number of ways, with themes in art therapy to address specific issues (blackness, single parenthood, AIDS and so on). The client was not seen as an individual neurotic, but as a person negatively affected by social norms which may not have been rational, constructive or positive. (Hogan, 1997, p.27-28). Some feminists have evaluated the work of some politically minded art therapists and have now developed and adopted strategies to politicize their cause through art, because many women understood the power imbuing political message with emotion. "We must ensure that art therapy practice continues to challenge those social and cultural conditions which pathologise women and cause distress" (Hogan, 1997, p. 19). This made political power an equal outcome in conjunction to the force of clarification or "healing" for, not only women, but other marginalized groups. I fear that used in this way the 117 political overpowers everything else. I do feel that art therapy does have a wonderful empowering effect for those who turn to it for energy, clarification, and even healing. Politics raised a noise that could, simply, replace one source of oppression with another. People could only become free on their own terms - not on the terms of another force -political or otherwise. When art therapy became a "rallying cry" it grew scarier to me in that the walk toward indoctrination could not be that great a distance. In this study, I did my best to withdraw and take a back seat during the latter half of the workshop sessions to allow the participants free reign over their work, the process, and the outcomes. I admit it did become a tension that had to be examined; to allow total free reign could be just as destructive as guiding the process through a political lens. Summary This literature review has been done to examine some of the dynamics surrounding the overarching issue of; "How do "social strangers " come to understand the meaning of their "identities- in-transition " during the experience of reflection during an eight week painting workshop? ". To place this discourse in some form of context, I provided a brief character sketch, through "tensions" that I contain, of myself so that you, the reader, could understand some of the facets of my "identity" behind the words. These dynamics were in the form of "tensions" I brought to the study. A detailed biography is captured in Chapter Two of this study. Some of the dynamics explored were the concepts of culture, language, identity, intersecting identities, cross-cultural programming and counselling,. With regard to methodological literature I reviewed, to some degree, areas of Gestalt therapy, art therapy, and cross-cultural therapy. Each of these components contribute to the overarching question, restated above, in that these elements need to be explored on their own within the literature and then together within the dynamic of a field study. 118 As a result of the preceding discussion and the rhetorical questions posed in the earlier sections some foreshadowing questions, for me to keep in mind, were raised which were explored during the field research and literature searches. Questions which foreshadowed this study, remaining in my mind throughout, were: 1) How are objective and subjective aspects of home and host cultures seen by the learners? 2) How are the course dynamics (materials, facilitator, environment) seen as contributing to the meaning.of cultural identity? 3) What feelings are attached to their cultural identity during transition? 4) How are metaphors, art forms and/or language used to delineate meaning? 5) How is meaning attached to the private and public cultural selves? 119 CHAPTER FOUR HOW TO GROW A VIBRANT GARDEN Overarching Question How do "social strangers " come to understand the meaning of their "identities- in-transition " during the experience of reflection during an eight week painting workshop? Introduction The purpose of this study was to describe my experience of entering into a long-term same sex relationship which began on the internet between myself and another man who was 4000 miles away when we first met. This is described as a backdrop to the experiences of two people who had recently immigrated to Canada and their efforts to clarify their cultural identities. These two women had identities which were somewhat in flux because of changes they were experiencing as they moved from their home to their host culture. Helping participants with this process of transition was the use of the creative process as the group worked together defining themselves and projecting these interim images through paper and paint into pictures. This art work involved the perceptions, interpretations, meanings, and themes surrounding the participants' experiences. In terms of a concrete focus, the illustrations also allowed for a pathway of sketches to "fall behind" as the participants made there way through their culture shock. The portraits aided in creating a cultural "mapping" for the participants' movements as their identities evolved. Once new, and presumably more encompassing world views or perspectives were developed, the women could put into action the new learning and knowledge they had created for themselves. This project is unique in that the study created a specific space and time to meaningfully listen to the, often, silenced voices of marginalized learners. Reaching out for help. 120 These voices could aid in enriching theory and future programs, alike, while assisting these learners in an embracing relationship often overlooked, or completely discounted. The following discussion will describe concrete aspects of the study process. The literature review supporting the more abstract aspects can be found in Chapter Three while the field notes and personal reflections supporting the decisions I made can be found within Chapters Five and Eight. I raised some of the tensions brought with me on this trip and how these would be unpacked as we proceeded. My role was, then, described so that both you, the reader, and the women were clear on how I fit into the study. This allowed you to visualize how you can insinuate through these words, into the study. The final discussion outlined the overall process, both graphically, and textually. As the words unfold you, 1, and the participants know where we are, where we have travelled, and what can be expected, in general terms. It is from this point we move into Chapter Four. More about that at the appropriate time. Let's pick up the discussion at this point. My Biases/Tensions and Their "Bracketing" The biases that framed this study were many. My parents' backgrounds have created for me an extensive background in learning about more than one culture. This created, for me, a significant level of comfort while interacting with people from dissimilar backgrounds. My being raised on a farm and being socialized in a small town (my first year of school was in a one room schoolhouse)/rural environment has imbued my personality, values, beliefs and ideation with a heightened sense of community and family (albeit it from a rather mainstream perspective as well). Having gone through identity transitions within my own life (Chapter Two) and currently being a person in the midst of a shift, again, I believed I would be sensitive to issues of other people experiencing dramatic changes in their lives. 121 My socialization had been somewhat mainstream growing up, however, for the past two years I find myself becoming increasingly marginalized because of my sexual minority status and economic position (Chapter Two). I do not identify or "fit in" with the gay culture nor am I accepted as a full member of the social and cultural "norm". I am caught between borders in a kind of "no man's land". Experiencing this prejudice had instilled in me a high level of self-reliance and discipline; often demythologizing much of what I had been told about "how the world worked," or my socialization, by those around me. This, also, placed me in close proximity (spatially and temporally) to the participants. The danger was one of identifying too closely (being sympathetic as opposed to empathetic) with them, rather than maintaining some distance before, during and after the study. This was constantly checked through journalizing and having drafts read by an outside "disinterested" writing group ( my comprehensive exam study group). As some participants could have, potentially, come from extreme conditions in their home country or family life, I was concerned with my being able to fully comprehend these circumstances. There was some concern that there was a problem with a researcher's personal values interacting with what the research project accomplishes (Boshier, 1994). However, I felt that research could not be value free because of its necessarily involving people. In this instance I had decided to acknowledge my own biases, personal background so that you, the reader, can understand more about me, and through my voice understand what 1 perceived. It was also for this reason that the "data" collected appeared verbatim within Chapter Six. The voices within that chapter are the voices, directly, of the participants. In Chapter Seven, I made some rudimentary observations - as opposed to evaluations with regard to what is found in Chapter Four. However, as was pointed out, I did not presume to offer "the truth" about what I have experienced (Hammond, 1989). Truth was multi-faceted and not fixed, as well as very perishable. As circumstances changed so did the nature of what we thought of as truth. 122 Central to my life were "tensions" that constantly tugged at me as I experienced people, events, and situations. Describing these, with reference to my life review in Chapter Two, should clarify who I am and where some potential "blind spots" existed as I carried out this study. My place in society, has put me in a position where my existence has been shunned by many in this society has instilled within me a strong sense of self reliance and individuality. I have learned to love who I am for all my faults and strengths. I am somewhat reticent in new situations until I felt a level of safety and comfort. Some new situations have been easier than others. At the same time I have worked and learned best in groups because of my strong expectation that "the community" had to work together to live and thrive just as it has had to do in most rural settings. There can be a balance struck between being a strong individual within a collective or community setting. As the group changed so did the potential for throwing this balance off. I had experienced both and believed that I was able to strike this balance in my study group. I am more of an intuitive, subjective learner as opposed to an objective, rational one. I could work in an objective environment yet am most comfortable in a subjective, intuitive context. There were times when both were called upon - presumably with a much greater emphasis on the intuitive processing. However, this was a preconception I had. I needed to reflect on whether I was allowing objectivity in where appropriate or allowing subjectivity to take over completely in the research process within this study. Having been raised in a predominantly mainstream environment through to my teen years, yet living as an adult within a more marginalized position within society, I experienced both sides of the cultural gap. Also, with my intersecting aspects of identity positionality bridging cultural rifts (rural/urban, Eastern Canadian/West Coast Canadian, gay/straight, West Indian/White) I am faced with discrepancies between my "public" and "private" self. My public self, as perceived and reinforced by "others", I feel, see, and identify myself as the former in each of the foregoing pairs of attributes. My life, thus far, has been navigating back and forth across 123 this gap pleasing "others" on one side and maintaining my semblance of who I am, on the other. I had to be diligent in recognizing which perspective I found myself relying upon, and why, as I worked with the participants within this study. I had noticed in much of the research literature that sexuality was absent; heterosexuality was considered the only norm. Gays and lesbians fell somewhere in the data. Like Hunnisett (1990), I believe sexuality, gender, and sensuality had a place within research. Researchers seemed to strive to de-sex findings or interchange one sexuality with another, assuming there were only two sexual identities in the world. An heterosexual bias that has persisted. This study was somewhat unique in that it was authored by someone who acknowledges their homosexuality - and any attached biases reflected. I explored issues of sexuality among other aspects of cultural identity. If phenomenology was about intentionality and motivation why has the research literature been almost silent on one of the most powerful sources of motivation for humans? Sexuality was not about the sexual act in and of itself, but transcends the act to a world view; a perspective which was ever-present and was used throughout this study. My bias was the assumption of asexuality, or equating heterosexuality as "asexuality," are both artificial and unnecessarily limit the richness of any results. This is a tension you, the reader, and I will be experiencing as we both proceed through this study together. The social concepts of masculinity and femininity would be at play with one another. Sometimes they would be in harmony, most times not. At the root of this tension would be what defines these social constructs of masculinity and femininity. As I moved from one version of the gay culture in Toronto to that of Vancouver, the concepts of masculinity underpinning homosexuality in each of these milieus varied (Chapter Two). Coupled with this tension were various attempts I had made at "passing" as straight in order to lessen troubles within my own life. This had, I am sure, caused me to internalize aspects of heterosexism which may become highlighted as we passed through this study. 124 Along with a de-sexing found within research, generally, there seemed to be a dearth of emotionalism, another source of motivation or foundation of intention for people in social situations. I embraced emotionalism as human, this defines who I am. Despite the upbringing of my rather stoic, emotionally unavailable and disciplinarian father, my extensive experience in theatre had allowed me to free myself from that restraint and allowed me to rejoin myself back with my emotions in a more holistic manner. The process of cultural transitioning, as I have experienced it was wrought with emotion. To divorce emotion from this process and this study could be equated to flattening a finely etched crystal into a flat piece of glass. It can still be pretty but does it have the same substance, sparkle, and richness to it? The other stereotype was that emotionalism must be intense, up-front, and overwhelming. Much emotionalism can be very understated, just as strong, and yet subtle at the same time. A wonderful movie which epitomized emotionalism on a very understated scale, yet was overwhelming in its intensity, was "Babette's Feast." There was minimal dialogue (when there was it was in subtitles and was generally ignored by the viewer anyway) yet the virtuosity of emotion through the look [which Sartre (1943) had described at length], body language, and actions of the performers told a truly heart warming story of gratitude. As you read these words before you I have tried to convey the same breadth and depth of emotion in a way that heightened and informed, more deeply, the story of the process which has unfolded before you (Heshusius, 1994). Throughout this research there was a tension between the abstract and the concrete. The type written words (abstractions) on paper describing concrete experience, as evidenced through paintings (which are concrete). The physical works of art aimed to capture abstract thought processes, feelings, and experiences. Borrowing from a contemporary of Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, Antonin Artaud described as this, The formula T am cold' which abstracts all the body sensation, all the actual and complex feelings connected with one's individual experience of such a physical state, 125 exemplified for Artaud the manner in which too glib a use of language desiccates experience and eventually makes people who rely on such modes of communication and thought lose contact with life itself. They seemed to him to substitute the mathematical formula, the abstract blueprint of experience for the complex fullness of the surging flood of existence in all its richness and complexity. (Esslin, 1976, p.69-70) Throughout this thesis you may have noticed a struggle to keep things simple, and as concrete as possible. This required me to translate abstractions, where possible, to exactly what I meant in more concrete terms. I live comfortably in abstraction yet do need to continually ground myself in concrete experience. As you, the reader, may have noticed, this thesis has unfolded as an extremely personal document in its tone and contents. This is intentional. My tension had become how much do I disclose to you, the reader, and how should it be done (Rosenau, 1992). Because I was learning as I carried out this study there were mistakes made, hopefully calculated ones. To not disclose relevant and significant information would not be fair to you, the reader, or to the women found among these pages. Yet, there was a level of confidentiality and, therefore, nondisclosure that had to be maintained as well. When the participants were discussed, I erred on the side of their protection and privacy; when it was regarding myself I erred on the side of you, the reader, and disclosed as much as I was comfortable revealing - and a tiny bit more. As I stated, I learned as I proceeded. I hope you, the reader, disclosed things to yourself perhaps you might not have thought of before. If that happened I have been partly successful. If I informed you about cultural identity transition as a result of my exploration in addition to your "self-disclosure" I consider myself wholly successful. The issue of disclosure, or not to, remained problematic (Peshkin, 1998) throughout this paper. 126 Coupled with disclosure and nondisclosure was the issue of writing explicitly/implicitly. Everything could not be made explicit (Hargreaves, 1996). What remained implicit? In order to clarify this dilemma I had been part of a thesis/major paper writing group who had helped me check for what I am assuming and perhaps should not be or, indicating where things may be able to be left unsaid. The last tension I wanted to raise was the one around the whole issue of meaning. In phenomenology, generally, there was a tremendous importance placed upon having a specific meaning placed upon key words used throughout this study. Yet abstract concepts, words represent, are open to wide interpretation. For example, the concept of "Black race". Perhaps I could have used the "precise" definition of the "one drop rule" whereby one drop of Black (a problematic concept in itself) blood in a person's background would immediately "name" that person as being Black. What do I mean by Black? Is it African Black, Caribbean Black, South American Black, North American Black? How big is the drop of blood? This may seem absurd -and it is. The problem was we were dealing with perception and meaning. With regard to "race", I had discounted it as a concept, simply because it was now generally understood biologically as having no foundation (Boyd, 1996; Gardner, 1996). As discussed a little earlier, there was a discussion of multiple meanings for concepts, words, and experience versus having only one meaning. The problem became evident when definitions I chose to use were seen as irrelevant, at times, or not applicable to the women - who in turn might have many meanings for concepts being explored. Where possible I had written all of these down and mapped them for us to refer back to as we proceeded. Rather than have me predetermine the limits through imposed definitions, I looked toward the participants to supply these where I could. What I have outlined, here, were the major biases and tensions that faced me as I entered into the research phase of this study. I used reflective journals and the insights of my writing group to help me navigate around the above mentioned blind spots. 127 The Place of Study The site selected was the Kitsilano Community Centre. This location was selected for a number of reasons; most of them based upon practicality. The centre itself had a number of rooms available for the study period. The price for four hours of time was $17 (Figure 6) and for approximately 16 sessions this kept the most expensive component of the study to a minimum amount. Another consideration was the access through public transit. There were a number of buses which passed by the centre because the building was located a block off the main east/west bus route within the city. Located at the centre was ample parking should participants have chosen to drive to the sessions. The Kitsilano location was also centrally located within the city with about half an hour in each direction covering the area containing the areas of downtown, Kitsilano, the University of British Columbia, Commercial Drive (a large ethnic area), Chinatown, Richmond, and Surrey (also where there are large communities of people with various ethnic backgrounds). 129 RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS SOUGHT: RECENT IMMIGRANTS INTO CANADA CALL FOR VOLUNTEER PARTICIPANTS A study <s being parried aut ta explore the >TMr«<(! immigrant* give lo Jhaif **p#rienee) of Growing cultured rwdfcf* Also th* study *# help th* greup ol fttutfy participa i:s matt* sense pf «M» experience and meaning* etenWUsd and jnparperat* th« learning into thsw new Uvea m Canada In orcer :<j eon plate the fequi'ecnent* St the Utters Degree <i> Adult Educas.or, ana C<?yn»ai»ng PtfShokagy. in* Master'? student (candidate) is umdartaknv^ a si-ay of the experience* of immigrants fecsnlfr a/nved Into Canada en e permanent r*»!d«ricy basis Pleas* And baio* the otierle for being e»n&ide'«4 for inclusion lit the study The method of explofdHon et e*panencie. of pu)iyral transition M> Wfpugli Um medium of painting, Prior ttnowHrSga aftiwwi in (t^wbng tt not betas iao^\ In order (a bg pensldei-Gd for partetpatton the following era the criteria 1) Arrwai into Can*ts on « permanent basis **thin im past 6-9 months (Between January 1, ig97a«| Jpne 30, 1997) 2) Particifsalton In a I »«w*K aft therapy program of % e«cr.ngs a w«S* for 4 hOure par session, producing at leaa: 4 faeces of palnbnf WHKng to mte rpra: aaah parting orally fun* pa nod ot the study win ba hem January, 1998 to March 31. 1 3) wipng to identify ihemsetye* aoaoKtifig to uw ow specinc demograprxc data such a* gander, education, occupation, reJflion, etc a) Wiling and able lo chare in v^ry perwnel experawce*. errvpaon. thoughts and EODM prtmanty on a en* an one basis «k (he group faoJttator, a) Wvuna to ahafe the atefte*. mtsfpratatusfi* and pictures *its a group pr apprcKimaieiy 6 pihar parfoetpajit mamtw* and with the group facilitator *! &» fluent in spoken English (either a& their another tongue Of or* fluency in Cngjfeh. aa a senend language wntwn eng'ish fluency is not a requirement (or she study itself). • Ait pointing maieitais and meetlnj) costs wW be covered by the researcher • No hpnprertum wall be pwd to ejirttyppnts in tht* reaeerph study • Th» time required for aa«h participant over ma time parted ouMtnad aapve will td hears, • Participants rrsusi r>»v* access to meating mine central Vancouver are*-Kits'tano) Please forwent your nam*, phone number ana your eneeKed inventory (tee &**>*! to tre foiKmwng addtaaa in tPUt!pepftaense. SJaae WobJ*. Matter'* Candidate Dspartirjf.t of §«Juc»fional Studies, University of Brtttefi Columbia. Por.d#rc«* «, 3044 Lower Mall, Vancouver. British Calumhla. Figure 6: Page one of Call For Participant Handout/Advertisement 130 PARTICIPANT SACKORQUNP IWVtKTOftY eh*ek at most yot-f bQGHQrww eh«--tot»ri*t)e». QSS^SiL- MB* Country rno>i Hy>ad Hi fmm birth 10 irw jflj a> Aj»^.!P.CjrWfl»,aM: Larwl*« lrt\miflf«nt: R»fufl#* ggfeSmg^l^ §Ofl)o| Clara: Am »ivrtd ip «jjWeh f^gjori of twtfv fcrmarfrwa 'ram: (t«<U yrfcian girth) Ofqar CMtieat«hU mtddl* eh!W yeunaost Child only chUsS Name: , Those eoo^m <xa ee«{*fi{#s( w snskxivt e> study v#s ft«ve M>*ir mmtof Figure 7: Page two of Call for Participants - Participant Background Inventory The information regarding the study and the attempts to glean from the broadest population base as possible included the use of the Handout and Advertisement (Figures 6 and 7) which described the study, contact information, and a demographic checklist. These were distributed to immigration intake organizations, settlement houses, multicultural media organizations and newspapers ( a full detail of this search for participants has been described in Chapter Five). 131 Finally, conditions also included the participants being interested in creating and/or able to create as many original paintings as they wanted, and that they were at least orally fluent in English (either as a first or second language). Once a study cohort of three (including myself) was arranged, some time was spent with the participants at the research site to help the research group and myself become accustomed to one another and reduce "performance anxiety" and develop a good collegia! relationship before proceeding. The Study Participants The small group of people found within these pages, where possible, were drawn from the general population through the process of a few targeted special interest/cultural community newspapers (see Figure 9). Key attributes were those people who had immigrated to Canada within the last six to nine months and who were at least 21 years old at the time of their permanent entry into Canada. The reason for the six to nine month spread in time was, according to the literature, culture shock stages from beginning to end generally ran approximately one year for most people moving from one culture to another. The most intense period of time, emotionally, runs approximately from six to nine months (Zapf, 1991). There were social and personality variables which shortened or lengthened this seemingly normative time span. I wanted to focus on the time when the person experienced the most upheaval and uncertainty surrounding their identity. The number of people targeted for the group was ten. This seemed to be a little on the large side, however, if fewer joined the study that would fine as well because it would allow for the potential of a more in-depth study. Also, if ten had joined the group at the beginning, 1 thought that perhaps two or three would drop out early and this would have dropped the number down to a manageable cohort size. If participants had dropped out it would have been interesting to get an understanding as to why they had. However, this was not to be the case. 132 Reading Chapter Five, you, the reader, will better understand the efforts that I had made to get this group up and running. In the end, two participants were recruited in addition to my participation. The people for the group were selected in the following manner. All had colour or ethnicity as an aspect of their cultural identity, however, other cultural attributes were searched for inclusion as well; religion (i.e. Jewish, Islamic, Hindu), age (young adult - 25/40, middle aged 40/60, and older 60+ were all be represented), various forms of disability, sexual identity (gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual), class (refugee/poor, professional, wealthy), and marital status (single, married, divorced/separated) (Figure 7). Study Timeline The timeline for this study was to carry out the literature review over a four month period (December to March 1997/98). This served the purpose of developing a solid understanding of issues surrounding culture, identity, and the movement of one's self concept between or among cultures. In addition, this was a period for me to become acquainted with what was needed to carry out the field elements. During this time period I had prepared and finalized my ethics review documentation, submitting it for approval, and receiving a request for amendments to my initial documentation. This was forwarded through a memo which resulted in my receiving final Ethics Approval in November, 1997. The field research took place during the period February to June, 1998. Both the availability of participants and community centre rooms were easier to schedule during this time. Starting in late January, 1998 some time was made to allow me and the participants some opportunity to familiarize ourselves with one another, allowing for reflection prior to the program beginning, experimenting with the painting process, and the initial meetings. A way of reflecting was to invite each,participant to create, through the painting process, a work of art 133 which, for them, best illustrated how they perceived their cultural identity. Each, then, wrote or orally taped a descriptive interpretation of how this art related to how they saw themselves. At some point in June initial analysis began and continued until some point in late July, 1998. As dialogue was recorded and brought in, it was transcribed and some initial analysis done. This first treatment sparked further exploration and changes in the methodology (hence the emergent design concept). The writing up of results, comparison with the literature, and implications began in early August and continued through to the beginning of September, 1998. The oral defense was carried out the beginning of November, 1998 to complete the study process. My Role As Researcher/Participant The relationship among and between participants and myself was that of co-discoverer, where the roles of observer/observed moved back and forth (Clandinin & Connelly, 1994). The approach behind my role was that of "first learning" whereby I named my biases, background and history (Moustakas, 1995). Once done, these biases were, as much as possible, suspended or minimized so as to allow the total experience of the field and the participants to "wash" over me and become "unconditionally" taken in, observed, analyzed, reflected upon, and interpreted as though this was an unknown and novel event (to a significant degree it is) (Van Manen, 1994). There was as little judging/censoring taking place as possible. Rather, it was, as much as possible, a verbatim participating, recording, and experiencing exercise; one with the participants (Smith, 1988). There was the ideal of equality among myself and the participants, mindful of my responsibilities, and subject confidentiality. To ensure confidentiality, private names, addresses, and phone numbers of the participants were codified. The names for the participants were jointly decided upon and agreed to everyone in the group. Only I had this code/participant information list. Any written materials 134 from the participants, i.e. written interpretations of paintings, were photocopied, coded and the originals returned to the participant. Tapes were coded and transcribed, and returned to the participants so that they could continue interpreting pieces of art as they were created through the upcoming workshop sessions. None of the original tapes were kept by me after the field work was completed. The pieces of art created and used within this study were photographed; the pictures were scanned into my thesis and appear, together, in Chapter Six. A select few pieces of art, namely the first and last body images and pivotal painting for each participant, were used in my defense, and then returned to the participants. I retained the pictures and the negatives for my personal archives. These were also coded and cross-referenced with other information gathered. I was a colleague within a cross-cultural program as a co-learner, with the participants themselves. I set up the meeting spaces and times and supplied the materials. Much of what was discussed within the sessions were guided by the participants' needs at the time of the session. Some of the earlier sessions were "led" by me through particular subject areas I was intrigued to learn about, through their perspectives. Because the situation was new for all of us, there were varying levels of unfamiliarity with regard to the freedom the participants found they had. I had some advantage over the participants being from Canada, but shared in any feelings they had of "not belonging" or feeling "marginalized". I recorded my reflections and observations in my own journal as I proceeded along this journey and shared them with you, the reader, while continuing (Chapters Five and Eight). The participants received a typed transcript of all their interviews for verification. A copy of my thesis, in its entirety, was provided to the participants for their review and comment prior to the final thesis being turned in. The relationship between myself and the participants was, as much as is possible, equal -recognizing the limitations of this with regard to field research (McPhail, 1995). Rather than considering the relationship as co-researchers, it was one of co-discoverers (Eisener, 1988). All 135 group members were working at recording impressions and thoughts on what they found, or discovered about themselves through the process of painting and through dialogue. Beyond that, the research was carried out by me. The Painting Process and Aspects of Art Imagine yourself being asked by someone you have never met before, possibly even from a background completely unfamiliar from yours, ask you to paint something deeply and emotionally part of who you are. This is precisely what I had asked of my respondents. I asked them to paint the deeper aspects of who they were at various points within the timeline described above. But, why use art? This is what this brief section will help to illuminate for you - why did I choose this process? Why did I choose painting, specifically? Through reading the literature connected to art therapy, and the process involved in engaging creativity for those who are not considered artistic, 1 have found the use of art as a way of bringing people together from very dissimilar backgrounds while helping to connect the group through a common language (Fenner, 1996; Hogan, 1997; McNiff, 1998). The coupling of phenomenology with the use of the painting process worked to deepen the exploration into the unconsciousness of the people of the group (Zinker, 1978). There were three common points of contact; joining the philosophy of phenomenology with the action, thinking and emotionalism of the painting process (Quail & Peavy, 1994; Rhyne, 1970; Roje, 1994; Wadeson, 1980; Wilson, 1994). These three dynamics; beginning with everyday lived experience of the participant, directing the participants to renew their contact with that world. Phenomenology, like the painting process, was in large part, a process of relearning to see the world in a new, and more encompassing way (QuaiL& Peavy, 1994). 136 Phenomenology did not have as its aim to represent the world in an "accurate" way so much as to renew the contact of a person within their world (Roje, 1994). Both painting and phenomenology involved practices of description and interpretation of the lived world (Wadeson, 1980). This was done, in both instances, from the subjective view of, respectively, the artist and the researcher. Painting was an organized expression of how it felt to live in life; so it was with phenomenology. Because both were creative endeavours there was a tension continuing throughout the study of process versus product (Montgomery-Whicher, in press). The processes of learning and discovery were extremely important, however, as the study drew to a close, it became equally important to be able to present this new learning and discovery in a way that best portrayed the evolution contained within the study. The tension between process versus product was eased somewhat knowing that art and phenomenology allow for a large degree of flexibility within their concepts (Quail & Peavy, 1994). Both allowed for creating new forms, the facilitation of the process, and product to become more aligned with one another (Montgomery-Whicher, in press). Living as a human being means creating meaning, not the discovery of it (Wadeson, 1980). Meaning is not an implicit attribute of relationships or physical objects. We create meaning based on our past living experience (Robbins, 1980), socialization, and culture. Meanings were created from experience and carried, to a degree, within the medium of language (Roje, 1994). In this study, the medium used was that of images created through paints and paper. How do people most often communicate meaning? Usually this was done through words found within verbal/written language. However, before words are formed, thoughts are often of images (Wadeson, 1980). It was those images that were translated into words. How often has the statement been made, "I know what I mean but I don't know how to say it," or "words can't describe it." Images were created in the right hemisphere of the brain, where intuition, emotions, nonverbal processing, and imagination were found (Rpbbins, 1980). This was the part of the brain where logic and reason were not. When participants picked up their brushes and daubed them with paint they, as time progressed, became more engaged (Cameron, 1992). They gave themselves over to the art materials and let their body, and mind work with those materials with much reduced conscious effort (Cassai & Cubley, 1995). The block that affected people in the beginning stages was the "censor" that exists inside the mind (Roje, 1994). The censor tried to hide and edit what the women were showing the world through their paintings. Once the censor was pushed away, intuition and the subconscious were allowed to take over and "speak" through the brush, paint and paper (Cassai & Cubley, 1995). Result of logical thinking and reasoning comes from the left side of the brain, where language also emanates (Robbins, 1980). Images were what we stored in our memories as we perceived our external environment, and the meaning attached to these (Wadeson, 1980). A fear of mine was that I would have to find people who knew how to paint or who were artistic. The reverse was true; art therapists writing about their clients have shown that those people who had no art background were the most open to intuition (Wadeson, 1980). Artists had a certain "logic," through technique, rehearsed into their repertoire of actions. Before people with a painting background can truly let go, they must first "unlearn" the "logic" and discipline they have been taught in art schools (Cameron, 1992; Cassai & Cubley, 1995; Robbins, 1980). Before going on to describe the expression of images, I wanted to touch upon creativity. It had been simply defined as the "ability to bring something new into existence (Luongo & Robbins, 1980, p. 191)". Coupled with this was the concept of imagination. Without imagination the desire to create would remain unexpressed (Roje, 1994). When the study group created, in this case paintings, we did this to have our work seen - to be "witnessed". Each of the participants, through their art, created a separate "reality" or illusion that could be shared with others (Cassai & Cubley, 1995). Creativity was not the same as .art. Throughout our lives we 138 were constantly engaged in an ongoing creative project (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). I used the process of art to advance the "larger" creativity of the participants' lives and attribute deeper meaning to their identity (Cameron, 1992; Csikszentmihalyi, 1997). The painting process also fit within the postmodern paradigm in two key ways. Painting allowed for a depiction of multiple realities to come together in one portrayal. Because postmodernism did not ascribe to the views of either a universal inner "truth" nor a fixed external world, art could portray a plurality of viewpoints and perspectives within one piece of work, recognizing that it too was not the one "right" version (Byrne, 1995). However, showing one version allowed a whole range of meanings to be interpreted from one phenomenon of art work (Quail & Peavy, 1994). The artwork did not and usually was not a neat integrated whole. It was more often a fragmented or splintering of many images, sometimes not related. This, too was in keeping with the postmodern view (Byrne, 1995). The expression of images, in this case painting, was the bringing together of the participants' inner and outer realities (Cassai & Cubley, 1995). It was also the synthesis of exploring one's inner drives and placing one's self within one's outside world (Wadeson, 1980). How this bringing together, or synthesis, was realized was through reflection. Reflection occured within the sub-consciousness and consciousness of the individual (Roje, 1994). In order to concretize this reflection, the participants used the painting process as a physical extension of what their mind was processing (Cassai & Cubley, 1995). A characteristic of verbal/written language, that by its very nature it linear. We write in sentences using one thought at a time. With images we can paint many simultaneous thoughts at the same time (Cameron, 1992). Painting also allows for the use of a variety of dimensions such as colour, shapes, space, time, size, dimensions of lines, shapes, brush strokes, and other painting attributes (Cassai & Cubley, 1995). A person generally sits to write their record of experience. 139 Painting invariably requires one to stand so that kinetics, touch, smell (of the paint), in addition to the personal subject of the painting increases the likelihood of active engagement with the project (Wadeson, 1980). Painting often increases the level of energy and concentration of the participants, because of the novelty of using this medium to communicate, becoming more focused upon their lives (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Roje, 1994). It can be shown that this also increases the level of openness, revelation of one's self and receptivity toward the overall project of living (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997; Robbins, 1980). In turn, this allowed for a deepened, richer level of information that resulted from both the subject of the paintings as well as the content within the interpretations. Because art does not get caught up in the objectified intellectualization of language use, there was opportunity for exploring the emotional aspects of the cultural transitions within which these people found themselves (Quail & Peavy, 1994). For the purposes of this study, various pieces of art formed a visual record of our journey together. The series of paintings provided a map of where we had come from like footprints in shifting snows. Where we were going was not as crucial as where we had come from. We discovered the importance of the trail behind us by turning around and reflecting on the path(s) we had taken through our art. These reflections can be discovered in later sections of within Chapters Seven and Eight. As we progressed through the educational program and the later interviews we referred back to earlier paintings and the interpretations to discuss more fully and deeply the shifting of the participants' identities. Because of this permanence, coupled with the written/oral interpretations done at the time of the painting, forgetting how participants were perceiving was minimized when these were revisited later as the study unfolded (Wadeson, 1980). These individual maps of the participants' journey were solitary paths with group influences. At the end of each of our workshops these paintings were shared by one another. Seeing all the paintings together, with interpretations sparked further reflection by participants, including myself. This deeper reflection sparked a communal and deeper exploration into 140 unknown territory as evidenced by the transitions we had journeyed together (Robbins, 1980). In a way, we shared how we made sense of our meaning as it related to the study process and the process of reflection through painting. When I examined the paintings, I reviewed the interpretations provided by the women as well, using three areas borrowed from art therapy. These three areas were; semantics (or the use of the signs, symbols, images, and what these specifically mean); syntactics (or the overall structure of the painting or message); and pragmatics (or the relationship of the signs and symbols to their meanings - semantics - and the relationship of the signs to the artist) (Wadeson, 1980). These concepts will be more fully described in later sections of this thesis as "analysis" activities are narrated. Other dynamics of the paintings were the timelines (one frozen moment, or a time period) depicted; the use of space within the paintings; whether the painting is heightened to a more "universal" theme, or is specifically contextualized; whether the painting appeared to move or whether it seemed frozen in space; the vitality of the paint strokes (light, and quick, or bold and heavy, for example); the variability of sizes of objects within the picture and whether they show a realistic proportionality or not; and the use of colour (what colours are used, and for what are they used) (Cassai & Cubley, 1995; Wadeson, 1980). This will be outlined in the analysis and reflections I carry out later within this thesis. The Journey of the Study's Path This process, which was initially tentative, became more developed and evolved as the phenomenon progressed as is typical of an emergent research design. What was most important was the trip, outlined by my footsteps and the journey from the beginning to where I found myself at the end. Other techniques were incorporated as time passed and, if appropriate, were included. The research process included the following: 141 1) Initial contact with research site to determine availability, and costs. 2) If not available or too expensive at the first research site another community organization was going to be contacted; if interested a draft "contract" describing the relationship and the study was drawn up and agreed to by all parties (see Figure 9). 3) Posted advertisements in community newspapers for participants, distributed flyers to all the immigrant settlement houses, multicultural organizations, and ethnic media organizations and drew from these responses for final cohort. 4) Met with each participant "informally" (kept notes after each meeting; these journal entries and reflections appear in summary form within Chapters Five and Seven) and then with all participants as a group. These meetings were not recorded but were described within my journal. Determined access into each person's private lives. Spent some time with them to dismantle some of the barriers (mine and theirs) that have been in place. As part of this familiarization of the participants with me and vice versa I carried out an informal, casual, half day painting workshop. This was done to get everyone (including myself) accustomed to holding a paintbrush and painting a picture; anything. This helped to drop some of the self-consciousness we all felt as we painted. We also brought in tapes of instrumental music from our various cultures to listen to. We took a couple of informal snack breaks. 5) Each participant was invited to use the painting process to create illustrations, initially, of how they perceived their current cultural identity. Attached to this art was a brief written/oral interpretation, by the creator, of how this painting reflected how the group of three saw themselves. The outcome of this exercise was a life-size "body image" painting which reflected how they saw themselves in the current moment. 142 6) A week before the study I met with each participant individually. 7) The field study. After each workshop session, I took the paintings home to be photographed to be returned to the respective artist at the next workshop. After the second workshop each person took their original painting from the session before and tape recorded their interpretation of the work with two key thoughts in mind: what was going on in their minds while they were painting (process), and what does the painting as it was at the end mean to them (product). This process was repeated through the eight weeks of meeting twice a week for four hours or a total of about 64 hours of discussion, painting, eating, and reflection. 8) One month after the final of workshop session the study group (including partners) held an evening of celebration and discussion with regard to our lives and future plans. The postscript found within Chapter Six is as a result of this celebration and of the emails the participants forwarded to me after the series of workshop sessions. 9) Throughout this process I reflected upon my experiences and participated in the painting process as well with my personal interpretations. These can be found in Chapters Four to Six and Eight along with the detailed voices of all the participants. My code name was "Sunflower", my life-partner's code name was "orchid" and Zinnia's life-partner's code name was "Aster". By taking in a variety of perceptions the end result of the field study was substantially deeper and fuller than if I had used only one method of having the participants describe who they felt they were. In total, about sixty paintings were completed within the eight week period. All have been reproduced as part of Chapter Six. An outside reader group reviewed drafts and checked for implicit/explicit researcher bias. 143 Summary At this point I would like to catch my breath, allowing time to take in what has just been described and experienced settle a little. Over the past three chapters the road travelled through the introduction of the first chapter, followed by the autobiography of me in the second chapter and the concepts that will be used in the study described in Chapter Three. These will all weave this study into a tight fabric through the methodology in this chapter As we progress, I remind you that Chapters Two, Five, and Eight will be drawn upon so that both the images and reflections come together to form the whole. The "data" from Chapter Six combine with the reflections from Chapters Five and Eight_and the "analysis" found within Chapter Seven The threads used to tie this study together included the ideas contained within phenomenology, art, art therapy, to some degree, postmodernism. The main strand represented the process by which we would be able to see what this transition, in part, looked like. This focus was the painting process coupled with elements from art therapy. These strands would weave in, around, and through the study as we proceeded. All the while there will be the words and seeing the paintings of the participants as they discover, explore, and reflect upon their broad cultural identities. Just to remind you of the question which underpinned this study was "How do "social strangers " come to understand the meaning of their "identities- in-transition " during the experience of reflection during an eight week painting workshop? The purpose of this study was to explore and chronicle the experiences recent immigrants had of culture shock as uncovered through the creative process. Central to the narrative was that concerning one's cultural identity as it found itself, suddenly and 144 traumatically, in flux. As a type of backdrop to the relating of these experiences I underwent participation within the study to make sense of my own sudden shift as a result of the sudden and unique change in my own circumstances. Now that we have just reminded ourselves of where we have been I would like to proceed further. The next section will explore the process of discovery as the study progressed over the months leading up to the study. 1 will narrate my story of putting this research together before carrying out the study. These reflections make up the chapter which follows this one. 145 CHAPTER FIVE THE WORK INVOLVED IN THE PLANTING OF SEEDS Ethics Review Process In order to prepare for the ethics review process - the exercise of having the Academy approve of what I was doing -1 must be sure of what it is I wanted to accomplish and how I thought 1 should proceed. In order to set something for the Academy, I initially met with my faculty advisor to discuss early versions of the first few thesis chapters. The central discussion seemed to be surrounding the imposition of structure into my study. Preferring to enter my study with a more phenomenological, or "stand back and see" demeanour in order to be unobtrusive, during the time of the study, I preferred to have the structure, like much of the research, to emerge fluidly depending upon the participants and what their foci might be. My advisor had suggested that there was nothing called a phenomenological methodology and that to go into a study without a set structure would make the research more difficult. In order to meet the needs set before me, I acquiesced to establishing structure within the study, before the field research began. With my idea of phenomenological structure per se nullified, I was forced into sitting down and outlining what I had hoped to accomplish. In further discussions with my faculty advisory he had also suggested that, instead of observing and participating within a group of recent immigrants going through an established acculturation program, that I do away with using the outside program offering. He suggested that I lead a program myself and not evaluate - but describe the dynamics as they unfolded before me. 146 To me, this was a sudden shift in focus and research dynamic. This would create a much different composition than what I had set out to undertake. In the proceedings of the field work I had planned to participate and observe within a regular course offering of an acculturation program as provided within a community development setting. In this scenario, I felt I would be able to be more on par and operating from the "inside" of the group dynamic with the study participants; the power differential would not be quite so explicit. I felt I could achieve a higher level of trust with the participants, coming from cultures, potentially, where people seen as being in positions of authority or power may be suspect, and because of this, shape their participant responses. Moving from the position of participant-observer would have allowed me to become an "inside" member of the group, working with them conversing with them. However, delivering a program placed me, squarely, within an authority, facilitator, leader position - a role outside the "inside" dynamic of the group. This move in focus would shift, substantially, from being participant to being observer - and not being able to invest much time on being on the "inside", to sense the group dynamics from that side of the program rela