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Telling stories about places for sustainability : a case study of the Islands in the Salish Sea Community… Sparrow, Vanessa 2006

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Telling Stories about Places for Sustainability: A Case Study of the Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project  by Vanessa Sparrow Bachelor of Arts, University of Western Australia, 1991 Postgraduate Diploma of Psychology, Curtin University, 1993 Master of Public Health, University of New South Wales, 2003  A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of M A S T E R OF ARTS in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Geography)  UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A December 2006  © Vanessa Sparrow, 2006  Abstract This thesis is about the ways in which people tell stories about places and the importance of those stories to a community's capacity for adaptation and sustainability. I argue that the traditional discourse of sustainability is embedded within a rationalist, techno-scientific paradigm that precludes the inclusion of subjective, contextualised knowledge. If genuine sustainability is predicated on social and environmental justice, as I argue it is, then it requires an inclusive, ethical framework that can value beliefs, imagination, desires, experiences and relationships. The concept of place, seen as an articulation of the dynamic relationships between the material, cultural and experiential, offers a powerful basis upon which to develop such an approach. Drawing on the theoretical relationship between narrative and place, my aim is to investigate the potential of artistic community mapping to offer an engaging, inclusive form of story-telling and place-making for sustainability.  I do this by presenting a case study of the Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project, which took place in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia's Strait of Georgia between 1999 and 2004. This project worked with local artists and coordinators on 17 of the most populated islands to engage local communities in identifying and documenting via handcrafted maps what they valued about their home places. How this was achieved, the successes, limitations and further possibilities of this way of working with communities to tell stories about their places, are the concerns of this research.  By reviewing the theoretical foundations of this project, together with undertaking interviews with coordinators, artists and other participants, it is my aim to present not a comprehensive evaluation, but a detailed case study of how concepts of community story-telling and placemaking can be realised "on the ground" and effectively used to help us in the work of sustainability.  Specifically, my objectives were: to review the literature pertaining to the question of whether place-based narratives, such as artistic community mapping, can help in the work of sustainability; and to investigate the Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project as a case study of how such work might be possible.  Table of Contents  Abstract Table of Contents List of Figures Acknowledgements  ii iii vi vii  '. •  Chapter 1 - Introduction 1.1. A personal sense of place  1 .  1  1.2. Place, justice and sustainability - making the connection 1.3. Community mapping 1.4. The Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project  2 '.  3 .  1.5. Objectives and research questions....  Chapter 2 - Background and theoretical framework  5 9  10  2.1. Sustainability  10  2.2. Engaging an ethical approach  12  2.3. Place, ethics and the bioregional model  14  2.3.1. The bioregional model  17  2.3.2. Bioregionalism as an ethics of place 2.4. Stories of place, community and empowerment 2.4.1. The concept of narrative  20 23 23  2.4.2. The relationship between stories and place.  24  2.4.3. Community, empowerment and narrative  29  2.5. Place-making through community bioregional mapping  31  2.5.1. Maps as object of power  31  2.5.2. Community mapping as bioregional process  32  2.5.3. Islands in the Salish Sea: a bioregional community mapping  35  project for sustainability  Chapter 3 - Methodology  37 *  3.1. Using a case study approach  37  3.1.1. Bringing it back to place  39  3.2. Description of the Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project... 40 3.2.1. Vision  40  3.2.2. Rationale  41  3.2.3. Chronology  42  3.3. Research and review of project documentation  45  3.4. Interviews  46  Chapter 4 - Results  ,  4.1. Summary of the interview results 4.1.1 The project coordinators' perspective 4.1.2. The island coordinators'perspective  50 50 50 54  Salt Spring  54  Bowen  57  Savary  59  Gambier  61  Denman  ..63  Saturna  64  Thetis  66  Kuper  67  Gabriola  69  4.2. Two case studies: Mayne and Hornby islands 4.2.1. Mayne 4.2.2. Hornby  Chapter 5 - Discussion  70 71 75  79  5.1. The power of artistic community mapping  79  5.2. The challenges and limitations of this approach  82  iv  5.3. Telling stories with artistic versus traditional maps  83  5.4. The role of the artist  85  5.5. Funding, power and multiple agendas  87  5.6. Seeing place through a celebratory lens - conflicting narratives  89  5.7. First Nations  92  5.8. The link to sustainability  93  5.9. The project coordinating group 5.10. Concluding remarks; suggestions for future work  ;  95 97  Bibliography  100  Appendix A: Introductory letter to participants...  109  Appendix B: Herb Rice's text to accompany the map: Myths of Kuper Island  Ill  Appendix C: Comments made by attendees at the ISSCMP Exhibition  112  Appendix D: Ethics approval form  113  v  List of Figures Figure 1.1. Map of the Islands in the Salish Sea region.....  7  Figure 2.1. Sack's relational model of place...  16  Figure 4.1. Cloak for a Watershed Guardian  55  Figure 4.2. Amphibian Migratory Routes Across the Roads of Bowen Island  58  Figure 4.3. Savary Island  60  Figure 4.4. Gambier Island  62  Figure 4.5. Morrison Marsh (on Denman Island)  63  Figure 4.6. Saturna Island (detail)  65  Figure 4.7. Thetis Island  67  Figure 4.8. Artist Herb Rice with his map: The Myths of Kuper Island..  68  Figure 4.9. Gabriola Island (detail)  69  Figure 4.10. Mayne Island  73  Figure 4.11. Hornby Island  77  Figure 4.12. The first exhibition of Salish Sea maps, Salt Spring Island  78  A l l images in Chapters 1 and 4 are reproduced from Islands in the Salish Sea - A Community Atlas (2005) with kind permission of Sheila Harrington and Judi Stevenson, and the artists involved.  vi  Acknowledgements Firstly, I would like to thank my supervisor, Professor John Robinson, who has offered just the right mix of intelligent questioning, direction and support throughout this process, and has taught me much about bringing my ideas and passions together and presenting them with my own voice. Thank you for your unwavering confidence in me and your patience with this necessarily messy endeavour. I would also like to thank my second reader, Professor Trevor Barnes for feedback on my draft, and Murray Journeay and Sonia Talwar'for their help in the early stages of developing my ideas. Most of all though, it is the amazing friends I have found here in Vancouver who have made this such an invaluable experience: Tenny and Kristin - it's hard to do you both justice on paper, but you have brought wisdom, caring, humour, and adventure to every step along the path to completing this degree, and to my life in general. You even made me decide it was worth putting up with the rain to live in Vancouver permanently! Thank you so much. Thank you also to my other friends at U B C - Chris, Pablo, Meg, Kirthi, Bill, Emily, Elisa, Sonya, Steve and many others who have never failed to amaze me with their creative passion for their work and their generosity of spirit in supporting their colleagues. Thanks also to Junnie Cheung and Graeme Wynn for helping to steer me through the labyrinth of graduate studies in a new department and a new country, and to Alison, for providing a place of refuge when it was needed. I'd also like to thank my Mum and Dad for things too numerous to list here, but mainly for believing in me, supporting my move to Canada, and for gracing me with enough visits over these past few years to keep me feeling so much a part of your lives. It's a long way to come and I am grateful. Finally, without the generous support of Judi Stevenson, Tina Farmilo, Kathy Dunster, Briony Perm, Sheila Harrington and all the other people from the Islands in the Sea Community Mapping Project who gave their time to be involved, this work would have remained simply an idea in my head. Thank you all - 1 hope I have been able to capture at least some of your extraordinary vision, dedication and achievements in these pages.  Chapter 1 Introduction In this introduction to my research on the Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project (henceforth also referred to as the ISSCMP) as an example of community storytelling for sustainability, I aim to provide an overview of the context, both personal and academic, in which this work took place, and the way in which my thinking evolved. Key terms, such as place, story and sustainability, are discussed in detail in the following chapter. 1.1. A personal sense of place I have had a long-standing interest in how people in communities construct, develop and respond to a sense of their cultural and physical environment, or 'place', especially through narrative or story. I believe that these stories of place, with their potential for conveying social values and ethics, are vital to a community's capacity for adaptation and sustainability. Understanding how these narratives manifest in particular settings and via particular processes thus constitutes an important basis upon which to develop more meaningful dialogue between local people, policy-makers and other stakeholders in building the environmental and social justice required for sustainability. Coming to this belief has been a long story in itself, and one that it seems to me important to note something of here; i f not the entire journey, then at least some of the ideas that inspired it. Doing this not only enables me offer an attempt at situating myself with regard to this thesis, but also to reconnect with the inarticulate stuff of the heart that motivated me to be here is the first place, but that has gradually, over time, become translated into the headiness of academic discourse. In trying to grapple with the shape of this thesis, it helps to go back to the initial impulse - the visceral urge to work something out.  From a young age, I apparently told my mother, and anyone else who would listen that, when I grew up I was "going to go to Canada and study bears". Given that I grew up in Perth, Western Australia, one of the hottest (and furthest from Canada) parts of the planet, and was completely unacquainted with any native creature bigger or scarier than a wallaby, this must have seemed like a strange desire. But it made perfect sense to me. Since I can remember, I have held an internalised (no doubt idealised) picture of  1  "Canada" - to me this meant mountains and glaciers, husky dogs and bears, and the occasional person engaged in honest-to-goodness work with those 'fir' trees I loved so much in my picture books. I didn't question it at the time (much as I never questioned why people in a city with twelve inches annual rainfall paint fake snow on their windows at Christmas), but my sense of "Canada" was deep and strong, and I knew I should be there.  Many years later, after the various diversions of university, career and the general demands of getting on with one's life, I finally got around to travelling to the great North, and headed for Alaska. I did not consciously recall my childhood fantasies about this hallowed place (Alaska, Canada and the Arctic were all the same place in that "Canada" I had internalised), but I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of "coming home" that I experienced as I stepped on to the ferry and set sail up.the Inside Passage. The feeling persisted everywhere I went in the Pacific Northwest and coastal British Columbia (so much so that a three-week trip turned into six months) and lingers for me today. It was somewhere in the forest around Juneau, absolutely sure that I was finally in the right place that I first consciously wondered: "what is this landscape of the soul; how is it that I feel in place"! Incredibly, it was later that same week, in a tiny bookstore in Juneau that I happened upon a copy of Barry Lopez's Artie Dreams - a book that asks the very same questions: "How do people imagine the landscapes they find themselves in? How does the land shape the imagination of the people who dwell in it?" (Lopez, 1986; p. xxv) I did not know this at the time, but this mutually constitutive relationship between human experience and material environment is at the core of one of the key definitions of the term place, and is a central preoccupation of the field of human geography, to which I was eventually, unsurprisingly, drawn.  1.2. Place, justice and sustainability - making the connection At the same time, I was concerned with questions of social justice, having long since given up the practice of clinical psychology for which I was trained, out of frustration for the lack of attention to structural change and the pretensions toward the apolitical reasoning of science that the field seemed to demonstrate. It was not that I thought  science useless; simply that it seemed to me to be an inadequate paradigmatic prism through which to apprehend the dynamic interplay of human beliefs, culture, desires, memory and values, and their impact how we live, and certainly not a sufficient basis upon which to foster a fairer and more sustainable world. People's subjective experiences of their encounters with the material world - reflected in the stories or narratives we choose and tell (and indeed silence) - are not deemed legitimate knowledge within the techno-scientific discourse that dominates knowledge production in the field of sustainability, thereby excluding such information from the development of policy and practice.  Over the course of my professional and academic work in the field of community development, it became clear to me that fostering the social and environmental justice I believe to be at the heart of sustainability necessitates engagement with this broader range of narratives than is often the case in current community and environmental planning. The different perspectives (and underlying values) presented by different ways of knowing - such as Geographical Information Systems, historical archival material, statistical data collection, etc - frame the story in different ways, emphasizing some ideas, values and beliefs, and obscuring others. Furthermore, some of these "storying"  1  methods emerge as having particular power for engaging and capturing diverse, and often marginalised voices in telling stories of place; challenging homogenizing grand narratives and making explicit the values and beliefs that operate in shaping the physical and cultural landscape at more intimate scales than tend to count as legitimate for "data collection". One such method that is gaining increasing interest among communitybuilders is artistic community mapping.  •1.3. Community mapping A l l maps are tools that translate information into visual form to shape our perception of place. Community mapping aims to provide an inclusive and graphic framework for  This is a term I use throughout this thesis to refer to the processes (such as written and visual media, performance, social activism, etc) via which people, individually and collectively, define and communicate their identity. 1  3  )  people to affirm and pool their experiences and knowledge about their home place (Common Ground Community Mapping Project, 2006). Community mapping is as much about the process as it is about the completed map/s. As a participatory and creative educational tool, this kind of mapping depends on the active engagement of participants and can bring together diverse perspectives and people to create dialogue and common understanding. Community mapping has many and varied applications, and associated ideological agenda, but is fundamentally a way of expressing a set of relationships between people and land, and the values that inform them. As such, the process of making a community map can be become a powerful way of exploring the place-identity that results from peoples' embodied transactions with material settings, and especially illuminating of the way in which they seek to shape those settings to reveal themselves (Dixon and Durrheim, 2000). Sometimes trivialised as "local knowledge" and included in policy by those who govern to appease the governed, the passion and intricacy of place rendered at this scale is actually vital to understanding the imagined landscape and its possibilities. As the founder of the British community-building and social justice organisation Common Ground, Sue Clifford, points out: "so much surveying, measuring, fact gathering, analysis and policy-making leaves out the very things which make a place significant to the people who know it well.. .With each level of abstraction, we feel less able to argue what we know, and less sure in our valuing of the unquantifiable smallness..." (Clifford, 1996)  Artistic (also called creative) community mapping attempts to put these things back in by re-personalising place relationships with the use of hand-drawn and imaginatively rendered maps. These maps can be of any size and form, and are used to help express community values and portray creatively how people define and communicate what makes their place what it is, and what they would like to preserve and/or change about it (Harrington and Stevenson, 2005). While not seeking to undermine the utility of maps derived by GIS-trained experts, artistic community maps aim to reveal what abstractions from objective data cannot - the experiences, desires, fears and values of the people who  4  collectively define the "place" beyond its Cartesian coordinates. Engaging people in the process of narrating themselves in this way not only has the power to undermine the hegemonic stories of "inevitable global development" that suppress local resistance; it can also act to reinvigorate the sense of connectedness and interpersonal responsibility that community adaptation, (and ultimately sustainability) requires. This is not to suggest that community mapping is a sufficient condition for community empowerment and sustainability, nor that it ought to replace other ways of knowing a place. Community maps are not exempt from the possibility of reproducing power inequities, creating new outsiders and reifying the local as somehow separate from global or even regional economic and social dynamics, as geographers like David Harvey (1995; 1996) and Doreen Massey (1994; 1997) have warned us against. In their capacity as visual representations of "fixed scalar locations", maps of all kinds can operate as powerful tools for legitimating some voices and silencing others - this is a pitfall of any text claiming to tell the whole story. However, it is in the negotiation of which voices are heard, which stories "we want to tell", that the process of community mapping (rather than its final outcome) becomes potentially inclusive and liberating, in a way that the homogenizing, universalizing technologies of other narrative frameworks (such as statistical data analysis) are not. The proposed research will investigate the Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project) as an example of using this approach to effectively engaging communities in sustainable place-making.  1.4. The Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project I first came upon the Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project as I was listening to C B C radio in April 2006, as one of the three coordinators of the project, Sheila Harrington from the Lands Trust Alliance of British Columbia talked passionately about using community mapping to enhance people's sense of place in the quest for regional sustainability. Hearing the words "community", "place" and "sustainability" uttered all in the same sentence, I was immediately intrigued and contacted Harrington soon afterwards to ask her more about this project. Soon I was talking to Judi Stevenson, another of the project coordinators, and the person most responsible for developing and facilitating the community engagement process for the ISSCMP. She generously agreed  5  )  to spend some time talking with me on the phone about how the project had been conducted. From the first five minutes of conversation with this inspiring and articulate woman, I knew that I wanted to explore the ways in which a project like this could manifest the kind of place-based ethic of sustainability that I had come to believe was so important.  The ISSCMP was designed to use community mapping to encourage people living on the most populated of the Gulf Islands off the coast of southern British Columbia (see Fig. 1.1. on page 7 for a map of the region) to research, record and communicate their distinct natural, economic and cultural heritage . As defined by the project group, its goals were to: •  "Unite a group of isolated island communities in a project that celebrates our commonalities and unique rural identities;  •  Help people discover and learn'how to document and record what they value about their island communities through locally created collaborative maps;  •  Share these maps in a touring exhibition, encouraging broader public interest and understanding of the distinct rural character, special traditions and rich Aboriginal, cultural and natural heritage of the islands;  •  Create a lasting resource that can be used as a catalyst for sensitive and sustainable rural planning and community economic development initiatives;  •  Present the final 30 maps rendered by local professional artists in a community atlas, to motivate people everywhere to cherish, respect and care for these special islands and their own home places;  •  Capture in words, for the inclusion in the book, the personal and collective visions and experiences that gave birth to the maps, and thus contribute to community mapping and sustainability in other parts of Canada and beyond." (Harrington and Stevenson, 2005, p. 12)  2  A full description of the ISSCMP process is given in Chapter 3  6  This project took place between 1999 and 2004 in the Gulf Islands region of British Columbia's Strait of Georgia; an area (along with Puget Sound, USA, to the south) dubbed the Salish Sea in reference to the Coast Salish peoples who have made this area home for millennia.  Figure 1.1. Map of the Islands in the Salish Sea region  Emerging from the collective desire of three local women with backgrounds in education and community development to reconnect people living on these islands with a "deeper understanding of their home places" (Harrington and Stevenson, 2005), and an opportunity to give these places a voice amid the rising cacophony of development pressures, the project focussed on 17 islands in the Canadian part of the bioregion. By identifying organisations on each of the islands to work with local coordinators and artists, the project was eventually able to produce an remarkable range of hand-crafted community maps depicting various aspects of each place that are valued by those who live there, culminating in the Islands in the Salish Sea Community Atlas. How this was achieved, the successes, limitations and further possibilities of this way of working with communities to tell stories about their places, are the concerns of this research.  By reviewing the underlying philosophical and theoretical foundations of this project, together with undertaking interviews with coordinators, artists and other participants, it is my aim to present not a comprehensive evaluation, but a detailed case study of how concepts of community story-telling and place-making can be realised "on the ground" and effectively used to help us in the work of sustainability. I believe it is of vital importance that attempts continue to be made to bridge what I perceive to be the stillyawning gulf between academic knowledge and the knowledge held in local communities. Both arenas have access to different skills, resources and networks that are necessary to promoting the kind democratic dialogue I will argue is at the heart of what sustainability means. But the mechanisms for communication between them are still scant and, where they do exist, under-utilised. Perhaps one of the things a graduate student, with their "in-between worlds" status, can achieve more readily than many others, is to act as a conduit between community and academy, research and practice, and help to answer the question that the bioregionalists pose as all-important to making a difference: "what's the do of it?" (Carr, 2004, p. 72)  8  1.5. Objectives and research questions Objectives: •  To review the literature pertaining to the question of whether place-based narratives, such as artistic community mapping, can help in the work of sustainability  •  To investigate the Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project as a case study of how such work might be possible.  Research questions: •  How effective was the ISSCMP at facilitating the telling of diverse place narratives?  •  What impact might it have had on these communities' capacity for sustainability?  •'  What were the limitations and lessons learned?  9  Chapter 2 Background and theoretical framework This thesis is about the ways in which people tell stories about places, with their potential for conveying social values and ethics, and their importance to a community's capacity for adaptation and sustainability. Almost every term contained in this seemingly simple premise is contentious and difficult to pin down to quantifiable definition for the purposes of research. This fluidity and potential for heated debate is part of their appeal in articulating a plea for increased complexity and multi-vocality in discourses about sustaining human-environment relationships. However, without a theoretical context in which to embed them for the purposes of my work, key concepts such as "place", "narrative", "community" and "sustainability" becomemeaninglessly ephemeral. The following chapter will present the aetiology and philosophical underpinnings of my argument of the importance and utility of stories of place for sustainability, and explain the link between this theoretical framework and the practice of artistic community mapping, such as was conducted in the ISSCMP. It is important to note that I am not attempting to present a comprehensive review of all the associated literatures here, but rather to bring a range of concepts together to form a rationale for viewing the kind of community engagement process demonstrated by the ISSCMP as one way of contributing towards a new, place-based paradigm of sustainability.  2.1. Sustainability Informed by Enlightenment faith in the power of science as the ultimately rational discourse, and the way to know all truths about the world, modernism has brought us to an age of technology and capital accumulation that we may be forgiven for thinking can achieve a kind of "escape velocity" from the constraints of the natural world. Yet this same wealth and technology give some of us the means by which to apprehend an alarming view: a world which, whether we choose to call it catastrophic or not, is increasingly depleted of natural resources, life-sustaining ecosystems, biodiversity and social equality among those who live in it. Embedded in this anxiety about perceived natural limits and the need to live within them, the notion of sustainability has emerged over the last decade as an approach to solving problems of depletion and degradation. To necessarily over-simplify, discourses on sustainability could be said to fall into roughly two ideological 'camps', which Robinson (2004) has called "radical" versus  10  "reformist" approaches. The latter tend to have technical, economistic orientations that see improved sustainability - management of available resources within natural and technological limits - in terms of increased growth, within which the environment must be incorporated. The former see sustainability more in terms of improving and maintaining human welfare and thus concentrate more on the relationship between poverty and its ecological impacts, thereby highlighting issues of environmentally-focused social justice. In a global political economic environment dominated by the neo-liberal capitalist agenda, the reformist discourses of "sustainable development" have had a tenacious grip on decision-making across institutions and at a range of levels (Daly and Cobb, 1994; Jacobs, 1999; Hay, 2001; Robinson, 2004; Rees and Westra, 2003). Those advocating radical approaches, such as those in the environmental justice movement and political ecology field, have argued that this construction of sustainability largely ignores issues of power, exploitation and the distribution of resources and thus "distracts us from the real social and political changes that are required to improve human well being, especially of the poor, in any significant way" (Robinson, 2004; p.370).  While acknowledging that the term sustainability is thus intended in this latter use to challenge the economic rationalist terrain of sustainable development, it continues to be my observation and concern that the two are often mistakenly conflated or worse, the "goodness" of sustainability (as David Harvey, 1996, has pointed out - how can one be against it?) is strategically co-opted into the discourse of development as the force for progress and equality. Some time spent wrangling with this dilemma has left me very reluctant to use the term myself and convinced that its recruitment by reformist agenda calls for new ways to think and talk about the issues. So, although in my mind sustainability still means working for the social, political and environmental conditions that promote and maintain equity and well-being in human and ecological communities, 1 believe that we need to talk about it in a different way; to find (and 3  value) forms of social discourse with the potential to engage and challenge the rationalist, instrumental, totalizing discourses embedded in modernist thought about Nature, and directly engage with the critical ethical issues that lie at the heart of the sustainability dilemma. This 3  The assumption here, of course, is an anthropocentric one: that these are themselves good things and worth pursuing. This is an entirely subjective and untestable matter of values — there cannot be a way to move outside my humanness to judge whether or not there is intrinsic worth in maintaining human communities, and a full discussion of how this debate might proceed belongs elsewhere.  11  means, among other things, moving away from the kind of calculative thinking of "sustainable development" that has us embedded in notions of material exchange as the basis for human conduct, and towards a view that incorporates notions of conscience, care and the obligations that come with our relationships to land and each other.  This implies the need for a shift in the terms of the discussion from an exclusive adherence what is known (according to scientific and technological rationality), or even experienced, to an explicit engagement with what is felt and valued. This is not to suggest a.wholesale dispensation with techno-scientific discourse; rather it is an appeal for acknowledgement of the exclusions that the power of science rests on, and a genuine attempt to fundamentally change the basis of what counts as legitimate and sufficient knowledge on which to base a more sustainable world.  2.2. Engaging an ethical approach However, problems in mounting such an approach are quickly encountered i f ethics are applied as a set of universal abstractions that take into account only the content of a problem rather than its form. Plumwood (1998) has described this problem in terms of the rational ethical frameworks that she argues have dominated modern debates about the environment. Rational ethical frameworks are comprised of clear dualisms, chief among them being the distinction between reason and emotive experience, with a devaluation of the latter. These dualisms are central to a rationalist outlook: distinctions between human and nature, male and female, mind and body, and universalism and particularity, and emerge from a desire to be able to categorize, thereby potentially creating absolutes from which divergence is devalued. A morality that is universal applies abstract absolutes to all agents, whereupon divergence is deemed immoral. Detached and universal, this ethical starting point degrades (in theory and in practice) the devalued aspect of each dualism (nature, women, etc). The specific contingencies of situations and relations are ignored. Smith (2000) has also described this tendency in debates about human/nature interactions, arguing that much of what is termed environmental ethics has merely expanded the boundaries of moral considerability beyond the human horizon, without altering the philosophical methodologies involved, in a process he refers to as "axiological extensionism". This he claims (and I agree) only reinforces existing forms  12  and structures by collapsing particularity under a uniformly applied rubric: "ethics thereby becomes an abstract theoretical tool for passing judgements or evaluating actions at a distance, rather than an embedded and intimate relation to relevant others." (p. 15)  Sustainability, as a rational universalist ethic (as I have argued it now tends to be applied) is thus inadequate because it fails to recognize the particularities of individual .locations and the situations that are unique to certain times, spaces, and conditions of culture, economy, and society, and assigns values from an abstracted set of absolutes, as described above. A n alternative is to allow the particular values and dependencies that 'unite people who depend upon land' (Plumwood, 1998) to determine conduct according to the contingencies in operation in any given context, in what is known as relational ethics. In this pluralistic approach, the reductionism of rationalist ethical binaries is absent, since the situated and dynamic particularities of each relationship are at stake. Gus di Zerega also takes this relational approach to the issue of sustainability, noting that "since ethical considerations enter into how we treat other beings, it is in the character of the relevant relationships that we should look to for ethical guidance" (1995, p23; emphasis added). Thus, in contrast to the rationalist ethics described above, I am arguing here for a relational ethical framework for trying (to the extent that this is ever possible) to step outside the current terms of environmental discourse - one which could be termed an "ethics of place". By this I mean an understanding of environmental/social issues in context of when and where they occur, and as mediating of and mediated by. specific sets of relationships across a range of scales. This is not to assert that relational ethics eliminate the problem of who gets to decide what counts as appropriate conduct, but it does suggest that this approach makes the issues of power and agency an explicit and fundamental part of the ensuing discussion.  As Cameron notes (2003), several recent scholars have explicitly considered how an ethics of place might be manifest. As part of her work to reconfigure paradigms of sustainability, Stefanovic (2000) introduces the notion of 'place' into environmental ethics. She uses Heidegger's phenomenological thinking as her way of re-examining the concepts of 'development' and 'human needs' that underlie sustainable development. As  13  noted, modem ethics is trapped in dualism between subjectivism and objectivism, and she argues that the phenomenological notion of 'place' gives the possibility of an ethics that • precedes the subject-object split. She arrives at a place-based ethic that "aims to guide us in our actions, not through the imposition of static principles and rules, but instead by teaching the meaning of attunement to a balanced fitting relation between human beings and their world" (p. 117). This ethic "respects the bonds that tie us to our dwelling places but [is] one that allows for continuing dialogue as we collectively reflect on environmental questions of right and wrong" (p. 135). The use of the term place in this manner is by no means self-explanatory and thus some discussion of its evolution and utility for the purposes of my argument is warranted.  2.3. Place, ethics and the bioregional model Place as a concept has occupied proponents of many traditions, including literature, art, architecture, planning, anthropology, human geography, environmental psychology, sociology and ecology. In schools of social theory, however, place and its attendant meanings have been a source of contention, confusion and, perhaps paradoxically, a nexus for interdisciplinary understanding with rich potential for manifesting the kind of relational ethics that have been described. Political geographer John Agnew (1989) has argued that much of this confusion stems from the tendency to conflate the term 'place' with spatial location, region and, especially, community as defined by the geographical co-location of groups of people. Until relatively recently, the dominant approach to place in the social sciences was embedded in ideas of location - the spatial distribution of social and economic activities - relegating the concept to an "abstract and empty Cartesian extreme" (Williams, 1995) - space waiting to be filled.  This treatment of place can be clearly linked to the modernist project (Agnew and Duncan, 1989). In keeping with modernism's privileging of positivistic, rational discourses, space was valued as neutral, objective and universal, or a tabula rasa (Casey, 1996), in opposition to place, which was devalued as subjective, existential and particular (Johnston et al, 2000). Under this agenda, "placeless" national society was preferred over place-based community, and people-place relationships were devalued via the processes 14  of the commodification of, among other things, land. The devaluation of place under the influence of modernism had impacts both across and within disciplines. In human geography, an area of social inquiry theoretically deeply concerned with space and place, the result was "[t]he suppression of local context and culture, and the imposition of uniformity as a means to universality" (Ley, 1989; p60).  On the rising tide of anti-modernism emerging from social science in the 1970's, interest in exploring place as an experiential and social phenomenon resulted in a wealth of scholarship in which places ceased to be a backdrop for existence and instead became rich with symbolic and sensual meaning, leading to a sense of dwelling or of belonging (Relph, 1976). Much of this work draws upon Heidegger's anti-modernist notion of "beings as things in their particularity" and the corollary idea of "authenticity" (Hay, 2001). In this philosophy, place becomes the locus of authentic being, of caring for and preserving things in their essential state, of "dwelling". Yi-Fu Tuan, possibly the most influential geographer of place, coined the term topophilia to describe the "affective bond between people and place" (Tuan, 1974), a concept later explored in depth by Edward Relph and constructed as "a homeward directed sentiment, one that is comfortable, detailed, diverse and ambiguous without confusion". These phenomenological approaches to place thus explore the idea that people-place relationships are mediated by and constitutive of social relations, and therefore not simply a passively-received experience, an approach later taken up by social constructivists from sociological schools of thought, asserting that "cultural groups transform the natural environment into landscapes through the use of different symbols that bestow different meanings on the same physical objects or conditions" (p2; see also Kemmis, 1990).  However, such an idealization of place as the socially-constructed and uncontested locus of authentic being is not itself without potential problems of reductionism; the tendency to focus on the apparently natural environment as the raw material out of which place is constructed, leading to the conflation of place with all that is good, just and appropriate, creating totalizing discourses anew (Harvey,.1996; Cresswell, 1996). Harvey argues that the "penchant for regarding place as a privileged if not exclusive locus of ecological  15  sensitivity rests on the human body [and experience] as "the measure of all things" in an unmediated and very direct way." (1996, p303) He claims that this leads to a distortion or obscuring of the full extent of our relations with other organisms via the chain of commodity production and exchange that reaches into every corner of the globe, which can result in what he calls the "militant particularism" of exclusive and homogenizing regional identities ((Harvey, 1995; see also Paasi, 2003). Here we see place rendered as territory, defined largely by what is on the outside, or excluded, and hardly the progressive response to the universalizing of modernism that we are seeking.  However, place understood as an ever-changing context for human actions rather than merely their setting, can offer a lens through which to view people/environment interactions that reveals something quite different. Human geographer Robert Sack . (1997; 1997, 2001) proposes a framework in which the three realms of social forces nature, social relations and meaning - converge at specific points on a spatial plane, thus creating the everyday experience of place (see Fig. 2.1).  Figure 2.1. Sack's relational model of place; the arrows show the dynamism of the forces that are woven by place (the circle at the centre); adapted from Sack, 1997  The concept of place thus constitutes a concrete focal point wherein the mutual dependency and causality of these forces can be understood. By using a relational framework that positions place in this way, the pitfalls of abstraction can be avoided, context reclaimed and methods of knowing "thickened", to use Sack's term (borrowing  16  from Clifford Geetz), to include symbolic, experiential and material realities. The traditional "view from nowhere" embedded in the abstractions of rationalist, scientific discourse is thus challenged. A relational characterisation of place such as this combines both objects and affect across a range of viewpoints between relatively centred and relatively decentred - resulting in what Entrikin calls the "betweenness of place" (Entrikin, 1991; 1997). This approach sees places as "significant not because of their inherent value, but rather because we assign value to them in relation to our projects" (1991; p. 16) and their specificity as identified places as inseparable from the "unique experiences that individuals and groups associate with [them]" (1991; p.20.)  Considerable work in human geography and, increasingly, environmental philosophy has been undertaken recently that attempts to grapple with place-based approaches to understanding human/environment relationships and some of the problems with doing this described above. Some of these have even proposed explicitly moral frameworks for action. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to capture the full breadth and depth of this work; however the most obvious example of an approach that has made place a foremost concern, and that was a driving influence for the ISSCMP, is that of bioregionalism. This is a term that has been used to refer to many, seemingly contradictory activities and philosophies, and is worth investigating in some detail with regard to its possibilities and limitations in establishing an ethics of place.  2.3.1. The bioregional model Bioregionalism as a movement can be traced to the formation in 1974 of the Planet Drum Foundation in California by counter-culturist Peter Berg and ecologist Raymond Dasmann. The guiding principle of this group was a commitment to "living in place" (Berg, 1978), meaning that human society should follow the limitations and possibilities imposed by the natural characteristics of a particular site. This attempt to live harmoniously with ecosystems - to recapture the ideal co-existence with nature assumed to be an inherent property of indigeneity - has been described by Berg and Dasmann as "reinhabitation". The primary values of reinhabitation (used instead of inhabitation to stress that human displacement from natural regions is a phenomenon of modern living)  17  are the maintenance of the integrity of the regional ecosystem and maximization of economic self-sufficiency within the region (Metzner, 2004). Berg and Dasmann point out that the "term refers both to geographical terrain and a terrain of consciousness - to a place and the ideas that have developed about how to live in that place" (Berg and Dasmann, 1990, p. 36). Thus, the core concerns of bioregionalist activity are to restore and maintain natural systems, find sustainable ways to meet basic human needs (involving decentralized governance and small-scale economies), and to foster cultural diversity, consciousness and connectedness within the region, all of which are expected to support the development of "dwelling" or living-in-place (Berg, 2002).  These apparently value-laden and idealistic appeals for a world in which anthropocentrism gives way to a kind of biocentrism have not gone unchallenged. Bioregionalism as a philosophy has been largely taken up and critiqued within the field of environmental ethics, and much of this criticism relates to problems with the notion of ecologically circumscribed boundaries, "the deification of the laws of nature" (Alexander, 1990), and apparent dependence on reasoning from first principles of environmental determinism. Frenkel notes that the modern stigma associated with environmental determinism has resulted in wariness among geographers of "strong causal links between the physical environment and culture" (1994, p. 290). However, he further comments that while bioregionalism does have much in common with the academic traditions of regionalism and its deterministic qualities, it also espouses decentralized and egalitarian philosophies that are anathema to deterministic social hierarchies based on environmental factors. Herein, he argues, lies the essential contradiction of bioregional thought: " i f bioregionalists acknowledge that certain ways of living [those in harmony with natural systems] are better than others, how can they avoid becoming authoritarian or totalitarian in determining how others should live?" (p. 294). Similarly, Smith argues that the bioregion is a relatively fixed and bounded site that prescribes the cultural possibilities of those inhabiting its dominion (Smith, 2001, p. 214). According to this reading of the bioregionalist approach, nature, not the socially constructed world creates sense of place. Such predetermined bioregional boundaries weaken ethics, in Smith's view, creating a kind of provincial morality that has no scope beyond the border of the  18  ecological region. Bioregionalism is thus regarded as a "naive branch of radical ecology that identifies the resolution to all of our environmental and social troubles as commencing with the identification of the bioregion and the despotic assignment of cultures to that region" (Ryan, 2003, p. 6). Here "nature dictates culture" as the nonhuman aspects of space shape regional society.  However, a different reading of the bioregionalist approach is seen by some theorists as a way of ameliorating this splitting of place, as either ecologically circumscribed space or phenomenological construction; claiming that it offers sufficiently non-literal tools for reexamining place not as a perfect union of the two, but as a way to "dissolve the antagonistic differentiation" (MacTaggart, 1993, p314; see also Berthold-Bond, 2000). Some of the most influential work on how this amelioration can take occur has come from environmental philosopher Jim Cheney who, in a seminal paper considering bioregionalism from a poststructural viewpoint, asserts that place provides the ground upon which to defend marginalized voices from the totalizing discourses of modernism through "storied residence", a term he borrows from Holmes Rolston III (see also Entrikin, 1997). Cheney argues that situating knowledge via storied residence - relating people to places in time - engages us in a: "complicated working out of the relationship between home, identity and community that calls into question the notion of a coherent, historically continuous, stable identity and works to expose the political stakes concealed in such equations" (p. 126) . A powerful way to express and realise these people/place 4  relationships is via narrative - not merely an internalized, self-referential story, but one that is grounded in the geography and social relations of the bioregion, and therefore contextualized and, Cheney argues, explicitly moral (morality here denoting action based in relationship, as previously discussed). He claims that the bioregion is the story, such that the self is embedded in ecology through the specifics of place, resulting in the 4  Reinhabitation can thus be seen as a way of occupying the landscape as both social and ecological terrain, as a way of grounding culture in nature via the praxis of "living in place". Furthermore, this allows for the possibility of what Andruss et al (1990), have called "thinking feelingly": bringing together vision and ideas, and claiming emotions, desires and imaginings as integral to knowing. This idea is critical to the concept of artistic community mapping in general and in particular informed the work of the ISSCMP, and is discussed further in the section on mapping in this chapter.  19  creation of an "ethical vernacular". A major problem with this argument, is that the bioregion does not necessarily provide us with an automatically anti-essentialist, contextual discourse. Here Cheney has conflated context as a specific, bounded environment, with context as non-universal claims to knowledge - there is no reason to assume that bioregional contextuality equates with discursive contextuality. The danger is indeed that the former will masquerade as the latter while in fact imposing the kind of exclusionary essentialism of "community as place", located in bounded region, discussed earlier. This conflation of context as bounded location with context as situation results in what could be described as a placed-based ethic, rather than an ethics of place - the latter referring to place as process.  Furthermore, as Cameron (2003) has observed, an ethics of place must include an accounting for difference as well as commonality. Basing ethics on experience and on 'being' carries the danger of submerging gender and cultural difference (Plumwood, , 2002). If place defines the frame within which the ethical itself must be located, the frame must include differing and conflicting narratives of self and culture differently embedded in place. "Some narratives are more ecologically and socially beneficial than others, and this is surely a task for ethics." (Cameron, 2003, p.113)  2.3.2. Bioregionalism as an ethics of place However, and further to the above, the idea of place-story as providing the potential for emancipatory resistance to dominant discourses that Cheney presents is, I think, a critical one, offering a useful link between poststructural theory and environmental ethics, and lying at the heart of an ethics of place. One of the fundamental premises of poststructural theory is that claims to immutable and universal truth (often made through hegemonic discourses of'quantification', 'capitalism', 'economy', 'development', etc) are suspect and require our critical scrutiny. Truths are statements within socially produced discourses rather than objective "facts" about reality, always based on partial and situated knowledges (Haraway, 1991; Foucault, 1990). As Haraway says, theory is value laden, and values are "story laden." However, as has been noted by political economist Timothy Mitchell, "it is not adequate to describe [in this case the economy] as a social  20  construction, or an invention of the social imagination, for such an approach always implies that the object in question is a representation, a set of meanings, a particular way of seeing the world. This kind of analysis leaves the world itself intact.. .maintaining the absolute difference between representations and the world they represent, social constructions and the reality they construct" (p.5). In arguing for the continual intertwining and co-creation of processes (e.g. narratives) and material objects (e.g. environments), Mitchell cautions against the simple extrapolation of general abstractions from particulars: "the theory lies in the complexity of the cases" (p.8). Thus, he asserts, these stories about the world require cautious telling that resists binarization and "locationless logic" and is instead able to leave confusions and ambiguities intact, but not unexamined . Similarly, Gibson-Graham (2001), describe an "ethics of the local" that is 5  based in respect for "difference and otherness" and affirms that locality need not be a parochial enclave but can be instead a place where we exercise our responsibility to the "other",  M y argument, then, is that one way to occupy a point of view, as opposed to the view from nowhere, and as Entrikin (1991) would have it, "see things together" in all their complexity, is through emplaced, narrative approaches. The term narrative is explained in greater detail below; for now it can be said that by drawing together agents and structures, intentions and circumstances from a point of view that does not privilege the objective over the subjective, and makes the constructive process of meaning-making explicit, narrative (or story) can capture context and provide a potential vehicle for voices which are often excluded by universalist, scientific discourse. If, as Schneekloth and Shibley (1995) observe: "the tasks of place-making - opening dialogic space, confirming and interrogating contexts, and framing action - are inherently political and moral acts" (p. 18), such narratives also have a fundamental relationship to ethics and personal accountability; calling for what Cheney (1989) calls "responsible understandings" rather than truth claims about the way the world really is — in other words an ethics of place.> It should be reiterated that I am not claiming that narrative approaches are in themselves  5  See Benjamin Belton's Orinoco Flow (2004) for an excellent example of such a narrative approach.  21  inherently undermining of totalizing discourses; rather I am calling for something similar to what King (1999) has called contextualism: an open-ended recognition of the incompleteness of rational/objectivist ethical strategies and a creative acknowledgment of the extent to which all ethical arguments are embedded in narrative strategies and imaginative contexts - places . 6  Concretely, this might mean identifying and seeking out existing narratives (in conversation, in art, in the management of public space, and especially in maps) and explicitly trying to recognize and understand both the particularity of the subject position from which the normative claims contained in the narrative are advanced, the audiences to whom they are addressed, and the wider-scaled processes in which they are embedded. Just as important is an attempt to question the silences - whose story is not included, what is not being said? - in each articulation of place. Such an approach may not lead to finality, closure, or rational certainty (at least I hope not for the reasons previously specified), but it may open up the space for intelligent, ethical inquiry that recognizes and is accountable to the particulars of situations and the plurality of author and audience standpoints contained in environmental (and other) narratives, without collapsing into place-based relativism.  Stefanovic (2000) suggests that this kind of ethics should be developed by listening to narratives, stories about how people perceive and understand their local environment. Each place is different and thus each requires judgement to be made in context, rather than from abstract rules. Hopefully, such an ethics of place can, in Sack's words, "be rational and realistic, but take the necessity of our differences and situatedness seriously navigating between the arrogance of modernity and the relativizing tendencies of postmodernity" (1997; p7).  This notion of a contextual approach has also been taken up by a number of human geographers in the past decade in response to the absolute containers of space and time that have traditionally been represented by regional geographies. Nigel Thrift, in particular, has suggested in contrast, that time and space are productive elaborations: "what we labour to produce as we go along" (Thrift, 1999), constantly and differentially folded into streams of action and activity (Johnston et al, 2000). Sensitivity to context thus illuminates the partiality and limitations of all theory - a hallmark of the poststructuralist approach. 6  22  So far my argument has proposed that sustainability needs to be reconfigured as a placebased ethic (rather than a universalist one) in order to be socially inclusive, responsive and just. Developing such an ethic requires an understanding of the dynamics of place and the interactions of the physical, social and experiential worlds that they comprise. One approach that has attempted to develop a place-based approach to sustainability is bioregionalism; fundamental to the practice of this approach is the ethical relationships between people, land and community that are manifest in stories. This all-important link between an ethics of place, the role of story-telling (or narrative) and community capacity for sustainability is explored in the remainder of this chapter.  2.4. Stories of place, community and empowerment 2.4.1. The concept of narrative "The stories we tell ourselves and each other to establish a meaningful lifeworld" (Fischer, 1984, p90; cited by Alkon, 2004) continually form and reform who and where we think we are. Stories can be seen not as repositories of immutable fact, so much as guides to appropriate action in a particular context - what makes sense, here and now. " A narrative unites many actions to form a plot" says Carr (1986: 122), but the same set of events can be made sense of using different plots, thus forming different narratives - each story is thus unique. Whether claiming to be true or fictive, narrative works as a communicative act in the same way - as a means of understanding and depicting "temporal and causal relationships between agents and events - regardless of what use it is being put to" (Krieswirth, 2000: 313). Much of what we think we know about places, in terms of their apparent sustainability, falls under the heading of factual and/or descriptive. This is the legacy of a positivist tradition in science, for which the gold standard of useful knowledge is that derived from the ability to quantify and thus prove what is 'real' about the world. Stories are often seen as synonymous with fabrication, valuable maybe as entertainment, but ultimately unable to offer knowledge, as opposed to imaginings.  However, stories can be viewed as symbolic enactments of social power that reveal and reify relationships among actors (including places) in the story, and the values they are  23  based upon. Chamberlin (2003), argues that the "ceremony of belief that is a story thus allows us to grasp the ways in which things are both real and imagined at the same time, giving us opportunities to. invent the future. These opportunities are not infinite however - what matters is the scope of the story - who, where and what it claims to be speaking for. This raises important questions of whose stories count and whose don't, so that while, as Rappaport says: "all societies have characteristic narrative structures that help members construct and maintain knowledge of the world" (1995: 805), this structuration of identity is not necessarily benign, and may in fact be exclusionary and oppressive, an issue to which I will return in this discussion.  So part of what creates a place is the stories that are told about it, and to some extent the place (in its material and cultural reality) will determine the nature of those stories, who tells them and in what settings. This is a relationship of interest to many of the social sciences, but to historical/cultural geography, environmental history, and political ecology in particular. In an attempt to ground and integrate the complex theoretical strands described above I now present examples of some of the main thinking on narrative and place to emerge from these fields, and some of the methodologies they have employed in seeking to understand this relationship.  2.4.2. The relationship between stories and place We have seen that the sustainability of a region requires an understanding of the beliefs, values and perceptions local people hold about their place i f sustainability is to successfully integrate the social, economic and environmental aspects of that region (Waller, 2003). As discussed, place is the intersection where these ecological, economic and social worlds meet. It is the site where communities and individuals construct sustainable [or unsustainable] landscapes from past experiences and future intentions. Place narratives, then, manifest in many forms: oral histories, anecdotal information, local and indigenous knowledge, and: "are central to the well-being, the confidence and sustainability of communities. [They allow] communities to generate and sustain a sense of belonging and cohesion and purpose even through periods of tumultuous change especially through periods of tumultuous change. It allows them to constantly redefine  24  who they are and who they want to be; these many and diverse stories must be told and listened to before they can be weaved and transformed into a new regional story, and before a region can imagine a new and sustainable way into the future" (Waller, 2003, p20). What follows is a description of the some of the recent work from human geography that has grappled with this complex, iterative relationship between narrative and place.  A particularly articulate example is provided by Julie Cruikshank's book Do Glaciers Listen? (2005), which investigates the voices that are revealed through certain kinds of narrative account; oral, written and cartographic, indigenous and colonial. As such, it is concerned with how place-making processes (in this case related to glaciers and how they are seen as cultural agents in some stories and inanimate landforms in others) are perpetuated, and how some knowledge about a place can be framed as myth or superstition and thus displaced by more privileged discourses. In working with indigenous women in the Yukon to understand the way in which storytelling operates as a moral framework for living in a specific landscape, Cruikshank notes that by rooting the teller in the material and social realities of place, these stories, rather than being stranded on the shores of postmodern relativism (to which they are often relegated by social science) "actually confront hierarchies of power in very precise ways" (2005, p51). The women she interviews take for granted that "it is largely impossible to speak about past social relationships among people without reference to place or to speak of place without explaining how people who lived there were connected". Place, personhood and kinship are all "deeply interconnected stories" that are both referential to and constitutive of the known world.  Other notable examples of work coming from human geography that attempt to reclaim the complex interplay of human/environmental agency, are Claire Campbell's Shaped by the West Wind (2004) and Laura Cameron's Openings (1997), both of which seek to employ a range of methodologies to reveal and reshape narratives of particular places. . Openings explores the issue of place - in this case Sumas Lake in British Columbia - as something "shifting, 'messy'.. .shaped and encountered by living, experiencing bodies in  25  the very real world" (p6). Cameron does this by searching for 'openings' to the story of the lake and its eventual draining in a multiplicity of narratives gleaned from interviews, photographs, magazines, maps and other public records, and allowing the resulting stories about the lake to emerge and overlap. She excavates the repetitions and gaps that she finds for what they can tell us about which stories were told, which counted as truth, and who may have been left out of the construction of this place. Importantly, she places herself inside the story by revealing her own values and assumptions in the process of researching and writing about the lake, and the methodology that results. In situating herself this way, Cameron is making explicit the role of the researcher as a co-creator, rather than simply a reproducer of stories.  Opening her history of the draining of Sumas Lake with a chapter on oral history, Cameron seeks to break down the simple binaries that construct the lake as either "wasteland" or "playland", lost Eden or reclaimed ground, by recognizing and interrogating the value assumptions embedded in these distinctions. Thus she sees oral history as a useful way not so much of seeing the place "as it really was" but for "gathering historical, rhetorical power" (16), with its implications for revealing who did and didn't speak for the records. In particular she attempts to understand the role that Aboriginal people played in articulating the lake, aware that many ethnohistories, as George Miles puts it: "have plots [that] render Indians more interesting and important as foils for White history than as significant participants in it" (1992: 55).  Campbell's fascinating exploration of the human geography of Georgian Bay, Shaped by the West Wind, similarly views place as the experience of encounters between what is, with what was expected. Over time these encounters form "stories about us and where we are" - and thus generate a regional identity, with its attendant inclusions and exclusions. Analysing cartographic history of the Bay, shifts between resource development and recreational use, recurring symbols of water and rock in landscape design and representation, changing memories of place, and the environmental politics of place read through debates about resource management and parks, Campbell recreates a place narrative that exists, but changes, across temporal and geographic scales as the  26  result of complex, shifting interactions between the actual and the imagined. Specifics of how this dialectical process, between the physical and cultural environments, manifest "on the ground" challenge ideas of nature as immutable and determining, and our tendency to take for granted the associated grand narratives of national identity.  This question of place and identity, and the narratives that convey these, is also taken up in recent work in political ecology. In their re-examination of some traditional notions of the links between property rights, culture and land, political ecologists Doubleday, Mackenzie and Dalby (2003) make the point that cultural adaptation happens in particular locales, so that connections between identity and land (expressed not just through official narratives such as government policies, but also art and other symbolic practices) are "key to thinking about sustainable modes of living". They go on to say: "the related point is that traditions and stories, material art as well as property relations, are the matrix of meaning that provides the vocabulary for political debate, vocabularies that are frequently unknown to resource companies planning extractive activities in rural areas and anathema to the technical criteria of environmental assessments and government agency resource management practices" (p400). This statement alludes to the potential of narrative methodologies to resist and offer alternatives to the dominance of scientific grand narratives in sustainability literature and practice. As Norris, et al, put it: "narrative, unlike science, leaves open the nature of connection" (2005: 539); what is considered a vice in science - openness to competing interpretations - is a virtue in narrative" (Czarniawska, 2004: 7).  The use of the term "competing" here is significant and alerts us to the authority wielded by those vested with the power to tell tales. Thus, as much as political ecologists are able to point to the resistance to cultural hegemony that takes place in the vernacular and metaphor of localized story-telling in folk music, art, etc (Harner, 2001), they are also concerned to demonstrate the ways in which that hegemony operates through the narrative constructions contained in official documents, statistical surveys and other such artefacts (Dalby and Mackenzie, 2003). So while it may be accurate to identify the narrative form as dialogic (there is always a 'teller' and a 'listener'), contextual and  27  contingent, and stories thus as "especially viable instruments for social negotiation" (Bruner, 1990: 67), it would be dangerous to assume that this necessarily makes them • democratic, progressive, or even just benign. The capacity of narrative to convey a sense of shared values is what makes story-telling such a rich, subversive but also potentially oppressive practice. By organizing information around what Bruner (2004) calls "the vicissitudes of human intention", and attempting to reconcile private motives with accepted (or sanctioned) action (Polkinghorne, 1987) narratives construct powerful social conventions that are empowering and restrictive, inclusive and exclusive.  The recent movement in environmental management towards the importance of local and indigenous knowledge (Cruikshank, 2005; Robertson, et al, 2000; Bowerbank, 1997) must therefore remain vigilant as to the inherently political nature of how that knowledge is constituted and transmitted, and the possibility of co-option of these discourses by institutions of power (Stokowski, 2002). Given that all narratives are vulnerable in this way, the important issue becomes "who gets to tell the stories?" We must be vigilant about what Krieswirth (2000) describes as the potential for "narrative hegemony" that is just as likely to occur when the local story is privileged as bearer of truth about the world, as when the totalizing grand narrative subsumes the particularity of place.  A related point is made by Bridger (1996) in his'discussion of the way communities come to be typified by what he calls heritage narratives. He defines these as "selective representations of the past that that feed into and are partially driven by the demands, sentiments, and interests of those in the present" (p. 355). By providing temporally-based accounts of how a community or place came to assume its current form, these heritage narratives develop what Bridger call a form of "constitutive rhetoric [that] creates an audience to whom appeals can be made" (p.. 355). He goes on to note that such narratives are especially powerful because they do not appear to be rhetorical; they seem simply to "recount the history of a community and its people". Avoiding the assumption of neutrality and inevitability that such narrative appeals make is of course a difficult mission - much as Haraway's calls for situating knowledge is a forever incomplete  28  project in real-world research - the attention to contingency and context in telling and hearing stories must leave confusions and ambiguities intact, but not unexamined.  In concluding this part of the discussion, it can be seen that place both structures and is structured by narrative, and that narratives are fundamental in articulating both place and identity. These narratives that are embedded in a community's landscapes and memory can be contested and manipulated as strategies of forming shared identity, and also of resistance. Which place narratives are dominant and why, and how new stories can be enacted are critical ethical questions in the construction of the environmental and social awareness required for sustainability, questions succinctly posed by Cameron when he asks: "Which of the stories we tell ourselves and implicitly live by, or would like to live by, are more likely to lead to ecological sustainability and the flourishing of difference?" (Cameron, 2003, p 113)  2.4.3. Community, empowerment and narrative How might communities create and tell stories about themselves and their relationship to the landscapes they inhabit? How do certain stories come to be legitimized at the community scale and other resisted, ignored or rejected? And how do place stories impact a community's sense of empowerment, and associated capacity for sustainability?  Linguistic anthropologist Barbara Johnstone attempts to answer these same questions in her examination of community authorship, or 'collective story-making', Stories, Community and Place (1990). Subscribing to the notion of narrative as social action, wherein the process of coming to know a place is described as "coming to know its stories" (109), she uses the example of Fort Wayne, Indiana, to explore the process via which reports of the floods of 1982 became stories with community actors taking on assigned moral roles, finally leading to the mythology of the "town that saved itself. She analyses the reports emanating from the "community's spokespeople" (journalists, editors, government institutions) for the way in which these renditions of the 'facts' become increasingly characterized by narrative coherence and organization around a moral point, gradually creating an apparently- shared truth that could easily sublimate  29  other points of view, in the absence of community structures for doing so (this is surely what much 'folk' music and 'street' theatre represents).  In examining these kinds of connections between the mechanisms of democracy (or public inclusion in governance), storytelling and sustainability, community planner Robert Beauregard (2003) concludes that publicly-told stories are a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for the kind of transparent, participatory planning practices that are claimed to be the foundation of sustainability - what he refers to as "discursive democracy" (p66). Recognizing that "some stories will manipulate and deceive; some stories will be crafted (that is, told strategically) to serve interests that are not fully revealed" (p69), he argues that only by creating forums for private stories to be made public can the diversity of narratives needed to expose such manoeuvres occur. Unfortunately, he does not elaborate on how, or what those forums might be, but at the very least I would like to suggest that we begin with accepting stories, and the mix of facts and values that they comprise, as a legitimate tool for generating meaningful data in our work as researchers, and indeed creators of knowledge about the world.  On a smaller, personal scale this means for me, situating myself in the process (what story am I trying to tell myself?), attending to a variety of perspectives (for example consciously trying to find the voices that seem to be missing from historical texts), investigating a range of those texts (who is to say that a community notice-board is not as important a source of a community's sense of place as a museum?), and always remaining suspicious of any single, cohesive narrative that seems to "speak for everyone" and tie up all the loose ends. Rather, as influential education theorist Paolo Freire (1988) would have it, transformative change emerges from the ongoing tensions and resonances in "dialogic encounters", rather than from essential or absolute truths or ideologies. As noted in the introduction to this thesis, one of the strategies that emerged from my research as a powerful way in which to address these issues is that of community mapping.  30  2.5. Place-making through community bioregional mapping 2.5.1. Maps as object ofpower The power of maps to make the world has been thoroughly documented and analyzed by geographers, historians and others (Harley, 1989; Wood, 1993; Sparke, 1998, Harris and Hazen, 2006) and I will not attempt to review this extensive literature here, as this thesis is more concerned with engaging communities in story-telling about places to increase their capacity for sustainability, than it is about maps or map-making per se . In the context of my argument that true sustainability requires an ethics of place, the important -point to make about maps is that they are forms of narrative that describe relationships between people and land, and that in both their making and their being, have tremendous power to articulate (and silence) particular places.  As Sheila Harrington points out in the introductory chapter to Islands in the Salish Sea A Community Atlas, "a map is a representation of selected and limited observations about a specific place, at a specific time. Because what is mapped is selective and how it is mapped is also a human choice, it is actually a statement about relationships and values" (Harrington, 2005, p i 5). I would add that it is also a statement of truth claims about the world that, like any story, blends what is real with what is known, desired and imagined. However, in performing their "fix on place" (Giere, 1999), and rendering seemingly static what is, in fact, in flux and contention, maps are instruments of persuasion that are often used to perpetuate notions of an unproblematic, objectively represented world (Harley, 1992; 1988; Daniels and Cosgrove, 1988). Furthermore, as Doug Aberley once observed, "mapping is a.. .language that once upon a time we collectively gave away to so-called experts" (Mason, 1998, p58). One could argue whether the power to make maps was ever willingly transferred from common to elite interests, but the point remains that the European tradition of map-making has long been grounded in production of modern states and the concomitant appropriation of lands. Turnbull puts it thus: "In the western tradition, the way to imbue a claim with In particular, there has been a wealth of recent literature looking at the role of Geographic Information Systems in participatory community mapping/planning. See especially Leitner et al, 2002; McCall, 2003; and Sawicki and Burke, 2002 for discussions of this work.  7  31  authority is to attempt to eradicate all signs of its local, contingent, social and individual production" (1989, pl4). The legacy of this tradition today is the continued use of mapmaking as a tool of official control and subjugation of local knowledge by 'expert' planners and others who are trained in the technical skills we assume to be the foundation of accurate mapping. These are important skills and important kinds of maps; but they are specific kinds of knowledge that tell only part of the story, while at the same time tending to claim to be telling the whole, and the only story. By using legitimated, technical conventions of scale and symbol, maps are often read as taken-for-granted reflections of the real world, thereby concealing the power that they wield. Raymond Giere provides a simple but effective example: "Maps.. .represent spatial regions from particular perspectives determined by various human interests. Imagine, for example, four different maps of Manhattan Island: a street map, a subway map, a neighbourhood map, and a geological map. Each, I would say, represents the island of Manhattan from a different perspective, appropriate, for example, for a taxi driver, a subway rider, a social worker, and a geologist." (Giere, 1999, p81) Each of these maps is telling a truth about the world, but no one of them can claim to be representing all there is to know or, as Alfred Korzybski put it in his famous dictum (cited by Lydon, 2002): "the map is not the territory".  2.5.2. Community mapping as bioregional process Redistributing power over the process via which maps reconstitute places is the central concern of community mapping, sometimes also referred to as alternative mapping. Although this term has been used to refer to many types of mapmaking process, the core concept of community mapping is the production of local knowledge by making maps that record "place as a contested site of representation", that draw attention to the story and portray a process that reveals the multiple and contingent human/environment interconnections that it tells (Crouch and Matless, 1996, p244). In this sense, community mapping is (at least) as much about process as it about the eventual product. If, as Harrington surmises, "maps are icons, powerful visual propaganda which intrinsically accent or ignore issues important to the map maker", then "the underlying premise [of community mapping] is that people who live in place have the potential to guide  32  governance and development of that place more efficiently and wisely than any distant authority."(Harrington, 1999, p6). While notions of notions of what constitutes efficient or wise land use is clearly debatable depending on one's point of view, Harrington is drawing attention to the fact that those who live in a place have knowledge, beliefs, values and interests about it, that, whether they are deemed right or wrong, are fundamental to the actual functioning and capacity of that place.  Sue Clifford from Common Ground, an influential social justice and community activism organisation in England, describes this notion in such familiar, everyday terms that it is worth citing in full: "So much surveying, measuring, fact gathering, analysis and policymaking leaves out the very things which make a place significant to the people who know it well. The great thing about making the map yourselves is that you can choose what to put in and what to leave out. You need not be corsetted by convention or conscious of fashion. You can decide on how to gather and discuss, the mix of natural history with buildings, orlegends with livelihoods, the scale at which you wish to work, what boundaries to use, the materials, the symbols, the pictures, the words, the place where the map is to hang. You can move at your own pace, be diverted into appearing at a public inquiry, working to clear the footpaths, acting in the community play.... because these are actually the point." (Clifford, 1996; pp 4-5)  As Doug Aberley points out in Giving the Land a Voice (Harrington, 1999), giving power to local people to record what is important to them in their home places, thus reclaiming knowledge of the land from "outside experts", is very much in keeping with the bioregional goal of "reinhabitation". Aberley describes several other, related purposes of bioregional mapping: demonstrating graphically the impact on physical and cultural landscape big business and centralised government; illustrating a vision of a sustainable future in a way that words cannot; depicting strategies of resistance to unsustainable developments and helping to focus that resistance; and describing complex interrelationships between land, water and people. As noted by fellow bioregionalist Michael Carr: "Ultimately, Aberley argues, bioregional mapping is about processes and relationships rather than disembodied facts. What matters for him in bioregional  33  mapping is not how good your cartography is but developing your ability to fill the world "with personal and communal descriptions of time and space".. .to build community. (Carr, 2004, pi42)  Bioregional mapping is thus a powerful social learning tool for communities to develop an ethics of place. "In learning how to steward the resources on your land, it quickly becomes obvious that no single parcel is an isolated island. This realization implies that the best protection for your immediate family and property is the creation of a much wider shared perception of what "home" is" (Harrington, 1999; p7). As these perceptions widen to include relationships with others, mutual dependencies and the necessity of sharing limited resources, a bioregional perspective evolves - "slowly and steadily through the learning, sharing, and practical use of local knowledge." (Harrington, p7) Similarly, in describing a community mapping project for the Mattole watershed region of California, Woolley, et al (2002) note that it was "not simply a matter of observing the spawning salmon, or noting the geography of the place, or gathering scientific information for a particular place or region. Rather, as the bioregional activist Freeman House puts it, this is a process of'making community'" (p. 140). Approached in this way, community mapping can reintegrate that which has been disintegrated (or even obliterated) in the functioning of a place, by the dependence on or reification of stories that seek to conceal values, power relationships and contingencies. Involving local people in this reclamation of multiple voices is one vital way in which to build community capacity for social and cultural sustainability, and the knowledge required for land-use planning and stewardship (Lydon, 2002).  In her writing on the ISSCMP, historian and activist Kathy Dunster talks about community mapping as "a powerful process of seeing, learning, exchanging memories and experiences, and imagining both the past and the future" (Dunster, 2005, p249). The concluding section of this chapter will look at the specific approach used by this project to developing a place-based ethic of sustainability in the Gulf Islands region. I  34  2.5.3. Islands in the Salish Sea: a bioregional community mapping project for sustainability There are many ways to engage in community mapping, and many kinds of maps that can result. The ISSCMP draws specifically on the work of the Common Ground project mentioned previously in bringing a creative, artistic rendering of maps to the project. This approach reveals the contingency of scale, symbol and other cartographic conventions, by allowing imagination, the personal and the aesthetic - the artistic - to come to bear on images of place. The idea is that creating visually engaging, handcrafted maps is a more visceral experience than conventional map-making from disembodied satellite data as it requires hands-on exploration of what is around. This process is also known as 'barefoot mapping' and can be described as a non-technical form of mapping where people go into an area and record its features, using only pencil, paper, compass and their senses as tools. The maps that result are potentially more inspiring to the people who see them than digitally-created maps, as they favour intimacy over abstraction and allow those who view them to literally place themselves in the map (Harrington and Stevenson, 2005). These maps still contain real information, and are not seen as a replacement for the kinds of uses to which more 'conventional', quantitative maps can be put - such as counting and recording visually the number of old trees that exist in a measured area - but they tell a different story, for example about the role those trees play in the sense of place of the local inhabitants. In her introduction to the Atlas, Sheila Harrington claims: "maps like these express the interior of a place, rather than the exterior boundaries of territoriality, surveillance and control. They offer an outward portrait of a local intimacy, providing an opportunity share, to empathize, to know and to care" (Harrington, 2005, pi9). By dealing explicitly with values, the non-quantifiable ecological and cultural relationships that are woven through places can be brought forward as important information in any decision-making processes about how to sustain those places (Walien, 2003).  This is the idea of bringing together the information that science can provide, with the imaginative rendering of art, or 'marrying the map and the mandolin', the central guiding metaphor in the work that the ISSCMP sought to do. Salt Spring Island artist and  35  community development worker Caffyn Kelley expresses it this way: "[Artistic community] mapping subverts established notions of what art is or can be, as it brings image and science together to create community knowledge. A map tells a story about a place. It is in image that communicates what we see and cherish in the world around us. We are surrounded by maps made by developers, scientists and engineers, but these maps can obscure both the intricate workings of natural systems and the values held by local residents... maps that are personal and communal descriptions of space can also depict process and relationships" (Kelley, 2002, p7).  In conclusion then, I have argued for the vital role for an ethics of place in any movement towards a sustainable society. Community mapping is not a sufficient strategy for developing such an ethics, but it provides a potentially rich and powerful framework for both the development of empowering, capacity-building processes, and the creation of inspiring, transformative tools. How the ISSCMP applied the theoretical concepts discussed in this chapter, and the extent to which it was able to achieve its goals, provides the focus for the remainder of this thesis.  36  Chapter 3 Methodology 3.1. Using a case study approach In seeking to do my research on the ways in which "storying of place" impacts on sustainability practice in local communities I was faced with some key methodological questions: how can studying particular places, in all their specificity, contribute useful knowledge of place as a general process, such as I have described in the theory section of this thesis? Does such a focus on the local, the specific, perform what Haraway (1991) has famously described as a "god-trick" by claiming a territory within whose "natural" limits it is possible for the researcher to see and describe everything? These questions of course reflect more fundamental ones that are embedded in all inquiry into knowledge production: What counts as evidence? Whose account is deemed reliable and on what grounds?  Robert Stake (2000) points out that crucial to case study research are not the methods of investigation, but that the object of study is a case: "As a form of research, case study is defined by interest in individual cases, not by the methods of inquiry used". These methods may range from biography to surveys - the point is that the researcher is interested in a relatively bounded entity or process, which may be theoretical, empirical, or both (Ragin & Becker, 1992) but is, at the very least, a phenomenon specific to time and space,- and which must be understood in context (Yin, 1984)). Debates about the relative value of positive and reflexive science, deductive and inductive methods, and nomothetic and idiographic knowledges are deeply embedded in the history of human geography and all forms of social inquiry (see Cloke et al, 2004; Limb and Dwyer, 2001; Johnston et al, 2000), and are well beyond the scope of this thesis.  The crucial issue in the context of the current research is that, with the rise of quantitative methods in the 1960's, and their emphasis on probability statistics and prediction based on falsifiability criteria, came the inevitable view that "one can do little with the unique except contemplate its uniqueness" (Haggett, 1965; cited by Johnston, et.al, 2000). Even for those whom the study of particular was itself a valid pursuit insisted that a single case  37  study could make no claims to valid knowledge unless those findings could be generalised to illustrate an empirically testable theory (Gerring, 2004; Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 1984). The core question at the heart of the "generalisability problem" is what do I want to know by studying this situation in its particular time and place? According to conventional wisdom, studying a single case yields only one credible theoretical outcome - the development of hypotheses that can be confirmed or denied by testing more cases (Rueschemeyer, 2003). Some early detractors from this form of research have claimed that nothing 'true' can be known of a single entity until it has been compared with others (see Campbell, 1975; Yin, 1984).  Others have claimed, however, that this insistence that the case study meet the standards of the positivist scientific method is inappropriate . Stoecker (1991) has argued that the outcome of the case study's "misplaced location in dualistic debates" misses the crucial point that understanding the relationship between two (or more) processes is not based on typicality (and thus dependent on representativeness), but rather upon plausibility - the power to make meaning. In an open system, such as any social setting could be said to be, the heuristic potential of the case study - its ability to produce what anthropologist Clifford Geetz has called "thick description" - is its strength, not its weakness. Educational researcher Robert Stake puts it well: "The way the case and the researcher interact is presumed unique and not necessarily reproducible for other cases and researchers. The quality and utility of the research is not based on its reproducibility but on whether or not the meanings generated, by the researcher or the reader, are valued" (Stake, 1995, p. 135). Once it is liberated from the requirement to contribute to the grand epistemological strategy of comparison, the case study can become a site of rich, local meaning.  There is a-powerful case to be made for the assertion that positivist scientific method cannot meet these standards of "truth-telling" either! See especially feminist critiques of science arising from the work of Sandra Harding and Donna Haraway for further consideration of this issue.  8  38  3.1.1. Bringing it back to place So how can we study place making-processes? The reality is, as Arturo Escobar (2001) has pointed out, that people continue to construct some sort of boundaries around their places, however, permeable, and continue to be grounded in local "socio-natural" practices, no matter how dynamic and dialogic those grounds and practices might turn out to be. How to consider these processes in their particularity, without homogenizing them under theoretical grand narratives; while at the same time reading them for the trans-local (and multi-scaled) structural forces that they do in fact articulate is a difficult (and forever incomplete) task that is fundamental to progressive human geography. As geographer Doreen Massey puts it in her discussion of locality studies: "Variety should not be seen as a deviation from the expected; not should uniqueness be seen as a problem. 'General processes' never work themselves out in pure form. There are always specific circumstances, a particular history, a particular place or location. What is at issue.. .is the articulation of the general with the local (the particular) to produce qualitatively different outcomes in different localities" (Massey, 1984, p7).  In studying the ISSCMP then, I am not seeking to make a general claim about community mapping as a tool that could be applied in the same way in different places with the same results. The Gulf Islands were a unique context for this project, and it happened at a particular time, involving particular individuals - all of which impact on the outcomes in unknowable and irreproducible ways. However, as per the theoretical framework proposed in Chapter 2,1 am making a claim that an artistic community mapping project such as this is inherently more likely to produce a different kind of place knowledge from which a different kind of conversation about the sustainability of that place is likely to emerge, and that this is a kind of conversation we need to have.  The value of exploring this case then, is in looking at the degree to which this potential was actualised, and how such processes may be applied in other locations in the future. By collecting the rich, personal narratives that come from semi-structured interviewing,  39  and validating this information with written records of the project, I believe that such and exploration of the ISSCMP can make a useful contribution to discourses of sustainability. 3.2. Description of the Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project 3.2.1. Vision The Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project (ISSCMP) was conceived of as a way of recording and celebrating the unique cultural and environmental landscapes of the Gulf Islands region of British Columbia, through the creation by the communities of the region of an atlas of artistically-rendered maps. A l l long-time Salt Spring Island residents, the three coordinators of the project, educator Judi Stevenson, historian Sheila Harrington and artist-mapper Briony Penn shared a sense of concern that the places that comprise these islands, and their qualities as social and ecological habitat, were being eroded. Perceiving an urgent need for carefullyconsidered planning decisions to be made, the group believed that the "conversation had to be wider.. .we wanted to find a way to get more people to be deeply moved, but not to polarise people, as many of the old methods were wont to do, i.e. developers versus conservationists". The central idea, therefore, was to take a snap-shot or baseline portrait of the islands, to try to evoke that conversation and increase awareness of what is cherished about the islands. Judi Stevenson expressed it to me thus: "If we don't capture it, we'll spend the next 20 years arguing about what it was like - we need to know what to protect and why".  The project was conceived as having three distinct stages. The first of these would be for community groups from all the major islands to work with local artists to animate historical, cultural, economic, geographical and environmental information via their interpretation into the form of imaginative maps. In the second stage of the project, these maps, along with others showing aspects of the region as a whole would be brought together into a travelling exhibition. The exhibition was envisaged as a focal point for community celebrations in the millennium year. These completed maps were also seen as providing a rich potential source of baseline data for future planning and community  40  visioning. In the third stage, selected maps, accompanied by written stories of their creation from coordinators and artists, would be compiled into an atlas of the Salish Sea, as a lasting tool that could be put to long-term preservation, communication, planning and community development purposes.  Ultimately, the driving force of the project was the coordinators' shared commitment to design and render an atlas of the Salish Sea for the new millennium, believing that it would help the participating communities (1) explore, understand and appreciate their inheritance; (2) work with governments at all levels to envision and plan sustainable ways of surviving and thriving in the 21st century and beyond; and (3) celebrate and share the fascinating natural and human history of this region of Canada.  3.2.2. Rationale The 470 islands in the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia) are widely recognized as a region of national and international ecological and cultural significance. They are protected by a special Act of the British Columbia government, and administered as a Trust Area for the people of Canada. Approximately 24,000 people live and work on the 15 largest and most populated islands. Since the coming of white people, these islands have largely retained their rural identities for the past 100 years, but are now under increasing development pressure as more people arrive seeking an alternative to city or suburban life that such places can offer. Concurrently, hundreds of thousands of people from across the country r  and around the world visit the Islands each year in search of recreational experiences and contact with a distinctive part of rural Canada. The instigators of the ISSCMP believe that the islands: "[Have] now reached a critical point in their development as rural communities, where they need to take stock of who they are, in order to identify the environmental, cultural and economic values that are vital for survival. Once these values are identified and mapped, communities will be better informed as they work towards preserving and protecting the ecosystems, culture and social heritage that support the local economies derived from the land and surrounding sea" (Stevenson, 2006, personal communication).  41  Community mapping in this instance is seen as a way for people to come together to investigate, assess and document their home-environments at this critical point in their development. Both the maps, and the processes through which they are created; are seen as valuable ways of bringing individuals and communities, as well as levels of government, together to create something local, meaningful and enduring, to help ensure the long term survival and well-being of these unique places. Map-making in this guise is seen as a way of taking back some of the power to capture place from the so-called experts; a way of both 'ground-truthing' the information supplied by traditional technical maps produced by government agencies, and of enriching it by providing the local, contextualizing stories that only residents know. As Stevenson says: "Our maps will capture and represent such things as: fading knowledge of old place names, First Nations' traditional and current use of land and sea, sensitive ecosystems on a small scale, heritage farms and buildings, sites of current economic activity, hiking trails and viewscapes, rare wildflower habitat, the last few breeding ponds for rough-skinned newts - the things that matter locally, and should matter nationally" (2006, personal communication)..  3.2.3. Chronology The Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project builds on the pioneering work of Briony Penn and Sheila Harrington, who introduced the ideas of Doug Aberley and the concept of bioregional mapping to this area in 1994. Their first workshops inspired an interest and enthusiasm for mapping as a tool of community self-discovery and change that had grown stronger over time. Community groups on many of the islands had been struggling to carry out their own local mapping projects ever since. At a conference of the Lands Trust Alliance of B C in Nanaimo in the spring of 1999, Judi Stevenson and Briony Penn and others began to discuss this situation, and the opportunity that the upcoming millennium presented for attracting funding for a project to map the special qualities, social and environmental, of their home places. Working with Sheila Harrington, these women formed a central coordinating group, who set about developing funding proposals, overall project guidelines and mapping criteria, and identifying local mapping or heritage/conservation groups to host the project on each  42  island. Often these were the Land Conservancy organizations, but not all of the islands had these, and thus residents had to be contacted through personal connections and word of mouth. A n Advisory Group was established to help ensure that the project reflected the needs and interests of the disparate islands. This group was chaired by Dr. Kathy Dunster, a geographer and biologist from Bowen Island and included: John Munro from Salt Spring who has extensive project experience with First Nations groups throughout the Salish Sea region; Liz Webster, the Coordinator of Training and Development at Malaspina College in Powell River and a member of the Lands Trust on Savary Island; and Ian Douglas, a biologist and writer working on Quadra Island. After receiving a commitment from the Department of Education and the Islands Trust Fund to provide the seed money for an exploratory workshop, invitations were sent out across the Salish Sea for representatives from the islands included in the project to attend an introductory mapping and orientation session on Salt Spring Island in January, 2000.  At this workshop, held at Beaver Point on SSI, the project coordinators and people from 16 islands were brought together in an historic experience for these usually fragmented island communities. Each island coordinator gave an overview of their home places - the environmental, social and political "lay of the land" - and was able to share their ideas, experiences and concerns. Commonalities and differences were explored, with the group coming to recognize the delicate balance that these island communities have to maintain between an economy that supports its people, and a desire to preserve their unique ecological systems and cultural and social networks. The gathering of this information was a community-building experience that amalgamated government data with local stories; enabling the individuals involved to build future alliances and increase their ability to communicate, respect and understand the diverse range of people who have an effect on their island homes.  Sabina Leader-Mense from Cortes described it thus: "That first meeting was the catalyst for our shared undertaking: to identify record and make maps of what is special, what is loved, what is important and what is threatened on our islands. We were told that this  43  project would "marry the microscope with the mandolin", making it a shared venture in the sciences and the arts" (Harrington and Stevenson, 2005; p 119)  At the completion of this launch workshop, island coordinators went home with two major tasks: (1) to ensure that they had an organizational sponsor (a legal, non-profit entity which could provide accountability, such as the local Land Conservancy), which would manage and disburse the money; (2) to ensure that a local coordinator was identified if they themselves did not wish to take on the project (most did). A formal "letter of agreement" between the local sponsoring organization and the project team was signed by each island. This agreement included a general time-frame for the community mapping work to be completed, and a payment schedule based on the achievement of certain milestones. The final deadline for the completion and submission of maps was March, 2001, at which time a second all-island workshop was held on SSI to display them to the public.  At the time of the first workshop, the coordinating group were optimistic that they would receive significant funding from the federal Millennium Fund, and thus anticipated working with (and paying) different artists and sectors of the communities to make multiple maps of each island. Although this money did not ever materialize, the team was committed to paying coordinators and artists for their time, and continued to look for sources of funding. Eventually, sufficient money was raised (with the main portion coming from the then B C Ministry of Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers) to allow for 1-4 maps for each island (depending on the size of the population) as well as the development of a number of regional maps. This money was also sufficient to cover expenses for a travelling show of all the maps, which were eventually exhibited on a number of the islands, finishing on Salt Spring in May, 2003, and then as part of a national stewardship conference in Victoria in July, and for the launch of the Atlas in October of 2005.  Publishing the Atlas proved difficult. The project team had originally intended to self publish and continued to try to locate funds to do this throughout 2003, and into 2004.  44  Eventually, it was decided that this was not going to be possible, and the search began for a publisher. After many unsuccessful attempts (a full-colour book of this size is prohibitively expensive to produce) a publisher was found in connection with the Heritage Group, Touch Wood Editions, and work on the manuscript began in October, 2004. The Atlas was finally published in December of 2005, nearly six years after the initial idea was discussed in Nanaimo.  3.3. Research and review of project documentation After hearing Sheila Harrington talking about the production of the Atlas and the ISSCMP in general on C B C radio that day in April, 2006 ,1 immediately emailed her and asked to talk with her about this work and what it might mean as a form of community engagement for place-making. She referred me to Judi Stevenson as the person with the most involvement at each stage of the project. Following an email exchange, a phone call and my purchase of the ISS Community Atlas , (all of which consolidated my sense 9  that this project was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to talk about), Judi helped me gather the information I needed to orient myself to the work that was done, and get in touch with the key people involved.  Over a period of some months, this amounted to reviewing many documents, including funding proposals, meeting notes, written comments from patrons of the exhibition, relevant theoretical papers and book chapters; visiting some of the islands; and of course, conducting interviews.  9  This book was in many ways the culmination of the ISSCMP and contains reproductions of the maps that were chosen for each of the 17 participating islands, as well as a wealth of other artwork and photographs that emerged from the process. In addition, chapters are included on the philosophy and practice of bioregional community mapping, and some geological and cultural historical context of the region. I referred often to this work in the development of my understanding about the project, and I have quoted from it where relevant. It should be noted, however, that my research is not focused on evaluating the outcomes of the ISSCMP, including the Atlas, so much as on exploring the ways in which the process served to engage these island communities in telling diverse stories about their home places, and how those stories might contribute towards sustainability. Anyone interested in finding out more about the ISSCMP or artistic community mapping in general, however, should refer to this beautiful book (Harrington and Stevenson, 2005), available through the Lands Trust of B C .  45  3.4. Interviews Between June and September 2006,1 conducted 22 interviews with 17 individuals who were closely involved with ISSCMP. These interviews mostly took place via telephone (5 were done face-to-face) due to the prohibitive time and cost factors involved in visiting the islands where interviewees reside. Island coordinators were initially contacted on my behalf by Judi Stevenson, informed of what I was hoping to achieve and asked if they were willing to have me contact them by email. None of the 17 of the island coordinators contacted by Judi had any objections to my contacting them, so I sent out an email with details of my research and proposed format for interviews (see Appendix A). After receiving few responses to this email, I contacted Judi again, who pointed out that many islanders do not use the Internet as a primary form of communication and that I should follow up with phone calls. Eventually, after a lengthy back and forth email/phone process, not helped by the tendency for people to be rather peripatetic during the summer months, I was able to set up and conduct interviews with most of the island coordinators. Some of the coordinators, including those from Lasqueti, Pender and Quadra were willing to be interviewed but their unavailability unfortunately prevented this from happening. The coordinator from Cortes was travelling at the time and the coordinators from Galiano and Texada similarly could not be reached. The fact that these islands were not included in my research should therefore not be taken as indicative of unwillingness on their part to be involved, or as evidence of selection bias. The interviews that took place generally lasted between 40 and 120 minutes, (paid for by me when they were done by telephone), and were based on the following questions (which the interviewees had been provided with in my original email):.  •  What was the nature of your role in the ISS project?  •  What was the process you undertook in working with the community to develop the map(s)?  •  What were the strengths of working this way?  •  What limitations or problems did you encounter?  •  How would you do the work differently i f you could repeat the process?  46  •  What do you think is the potential for this project for contributing towards sustainability on your home island? In the region?  •  Were there stories that emerged in the process that challenged 'official' knowledge of the place? Were you able to capture these?  •  Can you give any other examples of how the mapping process on your island helped to reveal a local 'sense of place'?  Initially, I was concerned that conducting interviews by telephone,, instead of in person, would result in a lack of connection that may prevent interviewees from trusting me with their stories. However, after doing a number of interviews by phone, and then a few face-to-face, I was reassured that, on the contrary, the telephone seemed to provide participants with the anonymity required to talk candidly about their experiences. I might add that it was also clear from these conversations that the coordinating group had won the trust and admiration of all the island coordinators, to the extent that Judi's. recommendation that they speak with me appeared to be sufficient to convince them that I would respect their confidences and to establish a valuable rapport.  I spoke to the island coordinators first, as I wanted to be able to hear their stories without the preconceptions that might result from speaking with the project team. Having spoken to 13 of the 17 island coordinators I then had in-person interviews and phone calls with the project team, following up in some cases with second and third conversations, for clarification. A result of these conversations was my decision to use two islands as case studies within the case study, as it were, to illustrate the radically different ways in which the community mapping approach can be implemented, and to provide a richness of detail that was not possible for all 17 islands.  Originally I had not intended to contact artists, as I had very little time for this phase of the research, and felt that it was better spent talking to coordinators, but after some time (and securing an extension to my deadline) I decided that their point of view was unique and important, and thus did a final two interviews with the artists that were involved in the making of the maps of Mayne and Hornby - the two islands I chose to look at in  47  depth. I chose these two partly because their experiences of the process (and resulting maps) were so different, yet both so evocative, and partly out of the sheer expediency of having made good connections with both of the coordinators involved (to the extent that I was able to visit both of these islands and spend some time with people intimately involved in how the ISSCMP evolved in these places.  I also conducted additional interviews with Judi Stevenson, who was the project coordinator most involved throughout the project with managing the participation of each of the islands. I visited her on Salt Spring Island, as well as conducting a number of conversations by email and telephone. These were the key questions that I asked:  •  What was the vision for the project - apart from the official objectives - what really inspired you?  •  How did you stay motivated and manage to complete a five-year project?  •  How did you define community for this process? What degree of engagement did you expect?  •  What guidelines/expectations were given to the coordinators? Did there need to be flexibility with these? What were the advantages/disadvantages of imposing this process?  •  How did you deal with tension/conflict/contradiction - both in terms of each island's vision for the map, and in dealing with coordinators/artists?  •  What were the implications of framing the process in terms of 'celebrating the beauty and uniqueness' of the islands (as opposed to taking a more problemoriented approach)?  •  What would you have defined as success at the outset? Is this what you consider a successful outcome now? So was the project a success? What would you do differently i f you could start again?  •  Was there a specific strategy for getting First Nations input? Did this work?  •  What implications did having funding from various sources (such as Environment Canada) have on the project?  •  How, in your opinion, does this project link to sustainability?  48  I was not seeking comprehensive answers to these fairly complicated questions; rather they were used to guide and focus the discussion. Responses to these interviews are presented in the next chapter.  49  Chapter 4 Results 4.1. Summary of interview results The following section provides a summary of the information gathered from interviews with island and project coordinators, based on the questions outlined in the previous chapter. It is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of the workings of the ISSCMP, but rather to give an understanding of how the theoretical issues of storying place discussed in Chapter 2, actually manifested "on the ground" in this case. Analysis, discussion and conclusions drawn from this information are presented in the next and final chapter.  4.1.1 The project coordinators'perspective Although the three project coordinators Judi Stevenson, Sheila Harrington and Briony Penn had individual ideas and experiences of the ISSCMP, they shared a core vision that revolved around the notion of connection to place, and the importance of that-to the sustainability of the islands. Stevenson described it to me thus: "It is a sense of this place — the magic, special-ness of the islands, and their vulnerability, these little rocks in this cup of water, surrounded by hungry urbanites that want land, 'experience'. It's easy for the character of the islands to be lost."  Part of what brought Stevenson, Harrington and Penn together was the power of the millennium idea; that this was an "historic moment" that represented an important time to take stock of what these places are about, and to celebrate them. There was a practical, as well as a psychological component to this; as Stevenson noted: "We were raising money [to fund the mapping project they had in mind], so we had to find the discourse of the time". The women were all "drawn to. that idea of taking the snapshot - a baseline portrait of the islands, to try to evoke the conversation, then let's see where [they] take it from there..." Their feeling was that " i f we don't capture it, we'll spend the next twenty years arguing about what it was like, and we need to know what to protect and why". The original intention was to develop a series of maps about Salt Spring Island, from varying perspectives (such as young people, farmers, artists, etc) and look at the  50  similarities and differences between them. However, once it was discovered that a mapping project on SSI had already been federally funded from the Millennium Fund, Harrington suggested making it a Gulf Islands-wide project, the idea being to "take a picture of what people value, as a baseline."  10  It was anticipated that, in addition to being  an idea they could sell to hinders, having this regional focus would reveal unique island attributes, but also the "collective islands culture", and help people to understand what is important to them about these places.  Not surprisingly, trying to decide who to include and what focus to take to make such a huge enterprise manageable was an arduous task; apart from First Nations input, which they all agreed was a priority, who was to be included? What did they really want to achieve?" The idea of increased dialogue and discussion was of paramount importance to the coordinators; Stevenson spoke to me about their shared a sense of needing to "widen the conversation" about the issues facing the region and what to do about them: "we wanted to find a way to get more people to be deeply moved, but not to polarise people as many of the old methods were wont to do, i.e. [strategies that pit] developers against conservationists.. .Over the years there have been lots of battles, difficult times - people ' have scared and angered each other". Thus there was a sense in which the coordinators explicitly wanted to avoid a project where the maps simply became another source of conflict, but rather a "place where people could talk to each other again.. .to answer the question 'what would we fight for?' and to try find a delicate balance between identifying what we love and drawing attention to its vulnerability".  Stevenson also described the group as having a definite desire to create "responsible citizens in the community" (an agenda with implications for this kind of process, to  Although the northerly islands of Texada, Savary, Cortes and Quadra lie outside of what is normally thought of as the Gulf Islands (and the associated region that falls under the "preserve and protect" mandate of the Islands Trust), a key aim of the project was to "link up the bioregion as a whole"; hence their inclusion. 10  '' Stevenson made the point that, although it was frustrating for them to have to limit themselves in the end to between one and four maps per island, "it is a testament to the power of the mapping idea that so many things could not be done".  51  which I shall return later). They knew that they could only achieve this kind of community capacity-building process by decentralising the project and ensuring that it was locally driven. The project coordinators could provide the container or guidelines for the work, but couldn't constrict each island to a strict definition of how they were to proceed, or even what to produce. Thus the question of "whose story would be told" became one for each island. In specifying a process or minimum level for community engagement on each island Stevenson observed that in the end they "had to let the project attract who it was going to attract- even on the smallest island it was never going to involve everyone... As it had always been explicitly framed in terms of honouring and loving the land, and thus putting limits on growth and development, it was always going to attract people with those . values". However, while it is not possible to quantify such a claim for this project, she v  maintains that among the island populations there is a fairly broad consensus of opinion that, " i f it's possible, we would like to retain the basic character of these islands" and that the project's ethos was therefore "quite representative of how most island people feel".  The guidelines that were eventually drawn up for participating islands in order for them to receive full funding, and given to them in the form of a contract of agreement to participate, were as specified for two funding phases of the project, as follows: "Phase 1 •  To name or identify a community group which will be "host" to the project  •  To name or identify a local coordinator whose job it will be to facilitate the production of the agreed number of maps  •  To identify community groups and local individuals who might want to contribute to the project, provide them with information and encourage their participation  •  To publicize the project in their community/ies and call a minimum number of 1 open community meeting to promote the project and invite participation  •  To select one or more artists who will produce the final images; selection will use a comprehensive process and allow the project organizers final approval of your selection  52  •  To prepare a brief written report on the above activities and submit a plan for your local community mapping process for approval by the project coordinators  •  To keep complete financial records of funds received and expended during this phase and provide a full and accurate accounting to project organizers  2 To facilitate and ensure the production of the agreed number of maps according to the agreed plan, with delivery of completed maps To provide a brief monthly report on local activities to the overall project coordinators, and to liaise with them on matters concerning the project as required To assist the writer of the text for the Atlas in capturing the community experience Where applicable, to assist in organizing the exhibition."  In addition to technical specification regarding size, copyright and other administrative details, the following information was included in the formal agreement to participate: "First Nations It is the desire and intention of project organizers to include First Nations maps in the Atlas. Project coordinators will pursue this goal at the "project to nation" level. In addition, communities are encouraged to include First Nations participation in local mapping activities i f they so wish. This might take one of two forms: (a) direct collaboration at the local level; or (b) inclusion by any mapper of First Nations data or place names as part of a community map. In the latter case (b), the local coordinator MUST ensure that any First Nations data or place names used are in the public domain. Themes and content This project was conceived as a portrait of the islands at the beginning of the new millennium: thus, project organizers wish to encourage the greatest possible creativity and local control over map content. However, additional project goals include: (a) education on environmental stewardship and (b) education for  53  community sustainability. Moreover, we have received funding from agencies interested in (a) community economic development and (b) habitat and sensitive ecosystem management. >Thus we expect that in some way, these themes will be referenced in your map(s). 1. To speak in some way about the ecological character and fragility of the place it depicts 2. To say something about the human community there 3. To express something of the First Nations connections to the land on that island." *  4.1.2. The island  coordinators'perspective  Salt Spring Island With an area of 182 square kilometres, a population of approximately 10,000 people, and an increasing number of seasonal residents and absentee landlordism, developing the four maps allotted to represent the 'place' that is Salt Spring Island (SSI) was always going to be a significant challenge. Coordinators Nora Layard and Caffyn Kelly took on this challenge by launching into a community engagement process via an event called "Map Quest". This event, which was widely publicised and attended by around 300 people, involved mapping activities for children, tables with maps of the island on them for people to add their special places to, and many different maps of Salt Spring on display.  A booth was also set up at the SSI Fall Fair (which has an annual attendance of around 10,000 people) in preparation for the development of an agricultural map. This had a map of the island upon which local farmers could indicate farm land and its uses with different coloured pins. Out of this process emerged a group of people who were interested in taking the project forward in a truly community-derived process.  A n appliqued garment-map, depicting river and stream systems on the island and entitled Cloak for a Watershed Guardian, involved consultation with the local salmon enhancement group, a local water expert, and the Water Preservation Society. The  54  remaining two maps: a painterly, birds-eye view of Burgyone Bay; and an outline map of the island depicting First Nations place names were the result of individual artists' visions.  Figure 4.1. Cloak for a Watershed Guardian; artist Caffyn Kelley; 2001  Both coordinators acknowledged the limitations of the consultation process they undertook and expressed a desire to have been more inclusive and to have been able to represent the different layers and scales of SSI as a place. Kelley mentioned the inherent tension between the local coordinators' desire for an inclusive process and the project coordinators' need to be outcome-oriented in order to realise their vision for completing the Atlas. In the case of SSI, she believes that this resulted in a fairly selective process that made no specific attempt to include more marginal groups such as young people, or  55  to address issues of racism and challenge the constructed "whiteness" of the island's dominant story. She raised the broader issue of how maps can reproduce privilege and expertise: "by trying to produce a legitimate product that warrants reproduction, even artistic maps can encounter this problem". This is an important issue that will be addressed further in the discussion.  Despite these concerns, there is no doubt in the coordinators' minds that the ISSCMP on SSI was a valuable experience for the community that resulted in some lasting, positive outcomes. Layard described the impact of the maps when they went on display as part of the tour of all 17 islands' maps as "staggering" and described the very strong emotional responses that people had to seeing their island home (and region) represented this way: "[The maps] captured the value of places for people by naming them, and made us all aware of our sister islands, seeing the similarities between the communities, but also the uniqueness of each island. The maps were "an important force [for us] to realise we are not alone" and a "mind-opening experience".  The agricultural map became a catalyst for action on SSI, bringing historical information together with the current state of farm-land on Bowen and seemed to demonstrate to people "what we had and what we have now". Layard believes that this helped to reawaken a sense of the importance of farming on Salt Spring and contributed to the 12  formation of the Renewal of the Origins of the Trust Study (ROOTS) group . Awareness of the aesthetic and ecological values of the Burgoyne Bay area was increased as a result of the production of the map, and this area was subsequently fought for and protected. Similarly, the watershed map gave residents a sense of the "sanctity of water", a major issue on SSI, as it is on many of the islands. Less concrete and thus harder to quantify, both coordinators nevertheless believe that the maps that were created of SSI for this project have resulted in "subtle shifts in cultural values" that encourage people to reconnect with and reinhabit their home place. The ROOTS group, although based on SSI, has expanded into an inter-islands group, the Gulf Islands Association, following a conference that was held in October 2005 to explore the "preserve and protect" mandate of Trust governance. Values of bioregional stewardship embedded in the Atlas are also embedded in these two organisations, and the people involved overlap (Stevenson, personal communication, 2006). 12  56  Bowen Island Kathy Dunster, a biologist, geographer and historian (and also one of the editors of the ISS Community Atlas) coordinated the ISSCMP process on Bowen Island. Bowen has a population of approximately 3,000 people, a great many of whom commute daily to the mainland for work and school. It is a highly educated population with a large number of artists, academics and writers in its midst.  The community engagement process was largely undertaken via the Community Education Program at the local community school. Dunster recruited a number of teachers to help set the mapping spark among students, collated all the maps she could find of Bowen (over 100) and pinned them up in the school hallway. The idea took off"people caught the map vibe" - and following classroom sessions on mapping, the students then mapped and write poems about the personal significance of places in the and around the school. Some students were so enthused that they formed the Map and Compass Club.  Community workshops were also set up, but not many people turned up to these; the concept of 'maps as art' was foreign to people, and "there is so much going on all the time on Bowen anyway" that this idea did not initially attract people's attention. Dunster realised she needed a different way to engage people.  Fortuitously, the local Land Conservancy was hosting an event with all the relevant sustainability groups, at which David Suzuki was talking. With over 400 people in attendance and primed to talk about the issues, it made the perfect forum for Dunster to do some community consultation. She passed around clipboards, asking people "what does Bowen Island mean to you?" the outcome of which was pages and pages of words: "Bowen is a really wordy island". Working with a couple of other people she had chosen to help with the process, Dunster brainstormed what to do with all the words, and in the end made a "sculpture map", which was taken to the first showing of maps on SSI. For various reasons (it was heavy, hard to assemble, and did not fit the project coordinators specifications for what the maps should do), this map was not considered appropriate for  57  the ISSCMP and other maps were developed, among them a map of amphibian migratory routes.  When all the maps were done, they were shown in the Bowen community art gallery for a month. Dunster described the response as "incredible - the art was really meaningful to them". The organisers put chairs in front of the maps, and "people would sit for 30 minutes just looking at one map". Hundreds of people came and saw the exhibition, with many commenting that what had first seemed like a strange idea to them, now made perfect sense. More specifically, the amphibian map idea was taken on by other communities, such as the Okanagan and Tofino.  Amphibian Migratory Routes Across the Roads of Bowen Island  Figure 4.2. Amphibian Migratory Routes Across the Roads of Bowen Island; artist Kathy Dunster; 2001  58  Savary Island Liz Webster is Executive Director of the Savary Island Land Trust Society, which was formed in 1997. She became involved in the land use issues of the island in 1995, when a bylaw was proposed that would subdivide the island into 190 parcels. Liz was a taxi driver-on the island at the time (a position with a lot of power and access to information in a place with almost no cars!), so she got to hear about what was going on and became interested. 200 people came to the public hearing on the issue of land subdivision (on an island with a permanent population of around 70), and it became the catalyst for the formation of the Lands Trust.  At the Nanaimo Lands Trust Alliance meeting in 1999, the idea of the mapping project arose and Liz responded immediately. As a teacher of anthropology she knew that this was a way of looking at places that "gets to the emotional". She noted that: "You can do all kinds of speeches, but.. .with a map, it's immediate and everyone wants to have it". Webster set about advertising in the local paper and invited a few people that she thought would be right for the task to join her in developing the maps, resulting in a small group of self-selected, interested people. These people took maps of Savary, divided them into sections, then went away to talk to their neighbours and get them to locate "what's important" on their part of the map. Briony Penn and Judi Stevenson also visited the island and conducted a mapping workshop with 15 people.  As with many of the islands, Savary residents faced a difficult issue with what Webster described as "the constant walk between conservation and access". How much should be revealed of special and potentially fragile places? There was so much concern about this on Savary (a fragile sand-dune eco-system under threat of high-density development) that it was questioned whether Savary should even be included in the Atlas. The approach that Webster took in response to this concern was: "We can't hide - this information would come to light anyway, so better we present the information than anyone else".  She sent out a draft image of the map to the Islands Trust board and got a mixed reaction: "it was not popular with those who make their living from development". However, the  59  mapping process had an "explicit ecological focus.. .because that was the task at hand to save the island from subdivision and development by demonstrating its ecological rarity and fragility" and Webster made decisions about what to include on this basis. " B y mapping it we basically claimed it", she said, "where there were no names for places, we named them - just put them on". Many people hadn't been to all the various parts of Savary, due to the scarcity of roads it is an island of isolated neighbourhoods. The map encouraged local people to know the place more widely and has been hugely popular. It is sold regularly (in print and place-mat form) is used as an ecological stewardship guide for visitors to the island.  Figure 4.3. Savary Island; artists Kathy Kerbale and Tony Wypkema; 2001  Ultimately, Webster told me: "The timing of the [ISSCMP] was perfect for Savary, giving the community the chance to develop a tool they "needed at the time.. .now it's like an archive". People didn't believe that saving the island was possible; they saw it as a losing proposition; however, throughout the process the Land Conservancy grew and strengthened and is seen by Webster as an important mechanism for dialogue within the community.  60  Gambler Island Maria Van Dyk belongs to the Gambier Island Conservancy (GIC) and done had done previous environmental mapping projects using GIS. Her hope when she became involved was that the ISSCMP project would facilitate a process of community mapping that was already starting to happen on Gambier. She started by holding public meetings and a mapping, workshop. A few interested people showed up, some of whom made detailed maps of their land, and a collage was made of their work. Further community consultation was done by Van Dyk by visiting residents and taking oral histories of the places they lived and knew. Gambier has a very small population who are widely spaced (there are not always roads between groups of houses in different areas); thus Van Dyk worked mainly with the people from the headland where she lives.  The GIC was engaged in some controversial political issues on the island at the time of the ISS project, leading to the alienation of some groups from the ISSCMP process. Van Dyk made an effort to ensure that the mapping project wasn't seen by the community as purely a Conservancy project, forming the independent Salish Sea Mapping Committee, but perception of it as a partisan project persisted, and prevented broader consultation and more extensive mapping from occurring. In addition, Gambier is an island that tends to attract those seeking isolation, which contributed to the difficulty in engaging people in the process.  However the same adversity presented by the political climate and the isolation of people from one another, also provided some residents with the motivation to take the opportunities of the ISSCMP for "building bridges" on the island. Once the work was complete, Van Dyk assembled a group of people to develop fund-raising activities using the map, such as selling it at the art gallery, raising thousands of dollars for the local community group. People were invested in the map, and despite their political differences, responded to it with pride and appreciation.- Furthermore, the map was able to correct many of the inaccuracies of the "official story" of Gambier - the Islands Trust map. This map was out-of-date, had trails marked incorrectly and was missing important cadastral data. Important planning decisions regarding sensitive ecosystems were being  61  made by the IT using this map and aerial photographs - neither with the local input to give them "ground-truth". Van Dyk described the IT as not being especially receptive to the new, local information, and noted that this is "the down-side of grass-roots work [such as the ISSCMP] - the data is considered suspect or even invalid by official bodies because it not 'real' mapping." She further noted that standards for authentication are necessary and understandable for some purposes, but these are restrictive and prevent local input from becoming a legitimate part of the discourse about a place. This is a significant issue in the application of artistic community mapping, and will be addressed further in the discussion.  Figure 4.4. Gambier Island; artist Gloria Masse; 2000  62  Denman Island The local coordinator for Denman Island, Marilyn Jensen, is from the Denman Island Conservancy Board, which wanted to combine the goals of the ISSCMP with their own desire to celebrate the island at the turn of the millennium. Jensen wanted there to be lots of community involvement in the project, so she formed a small group who called open meetings and put ads in the local paper. The group promoted the idea that "anything can be a map" and encouraged everyone who wanted to, to contribute a proposal. The promise was made that the materials to make all the proposed maps that were accepted would be paid for from the funding provided by the ISSCMP. A remarkable 17 map proposals were submitted, all of which were accepted, including: "a video tracing the movement of spring into summer in the gardens of Denman; a sound map that combined a visual representation of the of the island with a recording of commonly heard bird and animal sounds; as well as two 'installations' - a handmade book illustrating a local wetland and a map of salmon streams hung in the lid of a trunk in which was set a threedimensional stream full of silvery salmon". There were also a ceramic map, a felted map and four done by the school, including a cartoon map. I asked Jensen how she achieved this high degree of community involvement and she explained that Denman had recently gone through a difficult time, with a logging interest buying a third of the island's available land; there was consequently "so much anguish on the island" that the time was right for the project, as it was a positive thing that people could get involved in.  HoNsoW  Marsh byCynkHa  Minde-i  A p p r o a c h i n g " m a . f , « m e f a p t K W , C y t i t ' t i c w i l e i p r e t e d I he p r o j e c t t h r o j f h a r I r s t a l k t i o n built t r c u r e an . s i g h t ' s booV a t y i j f . a m x h - l o v c d w e t : a n d b o r d e r r g h e ' h o n e . T h e b a c k f e s t u r t s n i n e p i o t o s o f t h e a,*«a, U n i s C  irui  s i o n i s t i c by s e i t f g t r E i s f e red o n t o t h h paoer s h e m a d e f « ; r n *:h".i fUrv. t h e n . m i c e . Like i ra'1. t h e b o o k d r i f t s  zn  a t a b l e s t r e w n w th pis i t m a t e r i a l gatherec f-o f the- r w r s i . A n o o e i d r a w e r a v e r * o w « w t h s p e c i m e n s pfflttra a n d  h-jrta:  Ivvt^s, mayi, g r h s s c n . J t - a v c r t n c f h ,  bones, a dragonfly c i r y u l i s .  Figure 4.5. Morrison Marsh (on Denman Island); artist Cynthia Minde; 2001  63  A show was held of all the maps and many people came to see them: "it was a real celebration". The whole process had a "significant healing impact on the island". The project also tapped into existing concerns about development on Denman, and there is now a lot of mapping going on, some of which has been used to secure covenants on land. The agricultural map was especially evocative for people - Denman was originally highly agricultural, but "people forget that and the way that things have changed." The maps showed locals "what was and what is now", often surprising them with things they didn't know and changing their perspectives on their home place. Four of the printable maps were included in the Atlas, and six others were selected to be made into cards, which are now sold as a fund-raiser for the Denman Island Conservancy. Saturna Island Priscilla Ewbank was inspired to be the coordinator for the ISSCMP on Saturna by its strong local, community focus, and the fact that her small community was being taken seriously enough by the project coordinators that they were offering funding for them to express their sense of who they were in such a creative way. Ewbank ran a cafe on the island at the time, and found that, as she talked about it with customers, the idea took on its own life and momentum, "attracting a broad base of participants".  She started by gathering historical information, from documents and via interviews with various demographic groups, including the many 'old timers' who still live on the island, (among them grandchildren of some of the original settlers). This was an interesting process for Ewbank, as she found that there was a certain amount of "competition and ego about who knew the most, and who had the 'real story'; but there were also people who really wanted the map to be accurate, and these were the people she relied on most for information. She then set about gathering the natural history of the island, drawing on local experts and previous studies, revealing that although some things were well known about Saturna, there were also big gaps in knowledge of the local ecosystems.  A number of maps were originally submitted (including a wood carving of the world, asking people how they got from where they were to Saturna) and these were used to  64  inform the final map that was created. This map has proved immensely popular with islanders and tourists alike, and is sold to raise money for the Community Club to run further local projects. The project gave people a new framework for interpreting their world, giving them a sense of "what was there, and what needs to be preserved - this helps community to keep an 'emotional resonance' with the place." Ewbank commented that although the process was vital - offering a positive, collective experience that "everyone could buy into at many levels, even rising above personal issues", and building a sense of community - it was also important to have the tangible outcome of the map itself. Ewbank maintains that the presence of the map and the kind stories it presents has changed the way the Islands Trust does their mapping of Saturna. Specifically, it has resulted in the correction of "many inaccurate portrayals of Saturna in their data", as well as an increased realisation that they need to work with the islanders and their sense of place, rather than imposing decisions upon them. A further outcome of the project (although not easily quantified) was the realisation among the island coordinators of the extent to which even the smallest and most far-flung islands in the Salish Sea were facing the same conflicted issues of development and preservation, and how much "we all wanted to have contact with one another" in responding.  Figure 4.6. Saturna Island (detail); artist Rosalinde Compton; 2001  65  Thetis Island Lynda Poirier described herself as one of the dying breed of "mover-shakers" in the community of Thetis Island, which is why she became involved in the ISSCMP. Thetis has an interesting history, steeped in story. She cited the example of the traditional animosity between Thetis and neighbouring Kuper Island, which is largely a First Nations reserve. The story often told on Thetis is that the bridge that used to exist between the two islands was burnt down by people on Kuper who didn't want the islands to be joined; but after doing research for the map, Lynda discovered that, in fact, native people asked for it to be removed so they could get their fishing boats through. For her, the ISSCMP process was a way for the community to "reality-check" their beliefs about their home place.  The big obstacle that Poirier faced in carrying out the project was that people did not want to participate based on their concern about revealing too much. When asked why she thought this was so much more of an issue on Thetis than on other islands (although it was certainly present to a degree in most places), she replied that at the time of the project there was not much tourism-based industry on Thetis, and people had not yet experienced the "collision" between their original desire to come to the island to "get away", and the pressure from "business-types",to develop. Thus, there was not the same sense of urgency to protect the place by showing what was precious about it - the threat did not seem real and people just wanted the island to stay the same. Why tell strangers about their special places? In addition, the discovery of many First Nations middens and grave-sites was very much a sensitive issue was at the time of ISSCMP: "no-one wants to report these things [on their land] because it holds everything [in terms of development] up".  She invited Briony Penn to the island to talk to a public meeting that she had advertised via a mail-out and in the local newspaper, trying to emphasise that: "it's not about the map, it's about the process". Refraining people's idea of the mapping project from a fear of revealing secret places to a positive one of recording what matters about the island proved difficult, and she was unable to find a sponsoring organisation. In response, she  66  started her own and Thetis now has the Thetis Island Land Conservancy and Historical Society.  Poirier believes that the ISSCMP did not have "obvious outcomes" in terms of sustainability on Thetis, but it did raise awareness of the need to preserve local stories. On a more personal level, she feels that she learned a lot about the place and has become a kind of cultural reference point for islanders: "People think of me as an elder now".  Figure 4.7. Thetis Island; artists Mary Forbes and Bill Dickie; 2001  Kuper Island Herb Rice is a First Nations artisan with roots on Kuper and Norway islands who got involved with the ISSCMP when Sheila Harrington invited him to be involved. The Penelukut Band on Kuper originally refused to be part of the project because they were involved in land claims at the time and the collection and creation of maps is a  67  politically sensitive activity. Rice also said that working on a consensus level (whether in creating maps or anything else) can be difficult for native bands, because their stories don't fit the status quo, and thus cannot be made to fit the model that is being imposed.  Although Rice is not from Kuper, he has relatives who are from the Band with whom he was able to speak and present all his ideas, for approval. He tried to ensure that the work he created took into account what he sees as the "bigger picture" - the potential impact on his relations in the future, the political arena, the honouring of ancestors, and the selfesteem of individuals and the broader community. To him these are not separate issues and must be considered before undertaking any work of art. He sees the work that was created as an "exceptional beginning to a process of research and development" to present his people. It is helping to embed memories - in the same way that a potlatch does - by calling forth witnesses to become the memory of the people. It is a way of making a formal protestation of what is happening (and has happened) for these people. In this way, Rice has used the mode of artistic mapping as a way of "dramatizing the story". He is very clear that: "on its own the map doesn't mean anything; it needs to be experienced with the story that is on the CD, in the same way a [traditional] mask doesn't mean anything without the story it tells" (see Appendix B).  Figure 4.8. Artist Herb Rice with his map: The Myths of Kuper Island; 2001  68  Gabriola Island Leigh Ann Milman is from the Gabriola Land Conservancy and a long-term resident of Gabriola. She came into the process late, for various reasons, and thus had to work quickly to establish the mapping process. She conducted a survey with the local Arts Committee, which provided "a base-point of valued places". After doing this and talking with others from the Conservancy she drew up a basic map.  Victor Anonson, the artist originally chosen to do the map, had a different vision to that of the project coordinators, creating a work that was a series of sketches of Gabriola places. There was a sense that this was not a map and did not fit the criteria for the project, and, as a result other artists were brought in. In talking about this work (which was included in the Atlas, along with more traditional maps of Gabriola) Milman noted that: "off-island people may not relate, but long-term residents would know every place as soon as they looked at it". Artists EJ Hurst and Melinda Wilde then took over from Anonson and went into the community to gather more information. They talked to elementary school children and asked them to draw pictures of places they valued on the island. These pictures were displayed at Artworks - a local coffee shop that is a hub of island activity for tourists and residents alike - and also the Credit Union, as well as being taken on the tour.  Figure 4.9. Gabriola Island (detail); artist Victor Anonsen; 2001  69  Milman said that the maps seem to make "sense of place concrete" for people, noting that the visual information they contain is more evocative and "allows people to feel a relationship to [the island]. However, she also stressed that they are not in themselves a way to create sustainability community, simply "one more thing that celebrates the natural beauty of Gabriola. I see it as one more piece", They also help to maintain a sense of community, something Milman commented on as being increasingly difficult to maintain in a growing place, especially with regard to an all-important sense of dialogue. Community workers (doing this kind of project) are "like weavers, weaving a web" of community, especially on an island, where that community is defined by the water and the land mass. For Milman it was also a reminder of the shared ecology of the islands in the Salish Sea, and the connection between the people that live on them.  Although the project coordinators envisioned the maps being used as tools in the community, she doesn't see it as having turned out that way on Gabriola. She suspects that this is partly because they "don't catalogue anything", in the sense that scientific maps are supposed to. They are rather "evocative and inspiring." Milman argues that the maps are more playful than bare scientific data, and that this is necessary to engage people: "If we cannot bring the celebration of place that is inherent in its art into the light, then who is going to carry on"? In other words, she argues, the artistic approach can animate the community, which no matter how well-armed it is with scientific fact, needs to be inspired to act.  4.2. Two case studies: Mayne and Hornby islands The following summaries are based on interviews with both island coordinators and artists. Again, they are not intended to be comprehensive accounts of each island's experience; rather they are intended both to provide more detail of the diversity of experiences within the ISSCMP, and to highlight some of the themes and issues to be discussed in the next section with 'real-world' examples. These two were chosen for a number of reasons: firstly, I was able to visit Mayne Island in person and speak at length with the coordinator there, giving me the opportunity to ask more in-depth and freeranging questions than the telephone interview format generally allowed. This, combined  70  with the access I had to the artist, made Mayne a pragmatic choice for a case study. The Mayne map, with its delicate watercolours and details of beautiful plants, also contrasts interestingly with the almost-blank, computer-generated Hornby map, which I particularly wanted to discuss at some length because it raises many issues about maps, art and power that are central to the ISSCMP. These two islands thus provided good examples, both in their processes and their outcomes, of the scope and variety of experiences of island communities who participated in the ISSCMP.  4.2.1. Mayn e Islan d Mayne Island is one of the smallest of the southern Gulf Islands, with a land area of just over 22 square kilometres. The 2001 population was estimated at 880 people, but like all the islands this swells significantly in the summer. In late spring of 2000 local artist and coordinator Tina Farmilo received a phone call from the project coordinators on Salt Spring, who had been trying to identify a coordinating person on Mayne. By the time Judi Stevenson contacted Farmilo, the first workshop on SSI had already been held, and Farmilo needed to move quickly to set up the project on Mayne.  She first needed to find a community sponsor to host the project; as there wasn't a local Conservancy at the time (one has subsequently formed) she approached the Mayne Island Agricultural Society, a local organisation with high levels of community involvement and an investment in local culture. She organised a public meeting and invited Sheila Harrington to come and speak about the ISSCMP, and also held several public workshops and wrote articles for the local press about the project. She also attended mapping workshops with Briony Penn, on Saturna and Salt Spring, to learn some technical mapping skills.  Farmilo was particularly keen to get the island's children involved in the project, and to this end conducted a classroom workshop called "Mapping Your Heart Places", which aimed to convey the non-technical side of mapping. Several events were held "to help the children find themselves on the map", including a field trip with local naturalist and technical mapper Michael Dunn, and a history walk in Miner's Bay. The idea of these  71  experiential activities was to show people "what's under our feet" in terms of the physical land, and also to get a sense of cultural history: "touching, feeling, being in the place". Dunn also worked with 12-14 local people to map a remnant arbutus and Douglas-fir ecosystem, as a way of teaching basic mapping skills. Another workshop was conducted by Pender Island palaeontplogist David Spalding, who "took the mappers up the mountain and back through time, to explore the geological history of the island". With all of this activity and input from the community, the list of things to map exceeded the scope of what could possibly be done with one image and the problem became: where to start?  Responses to this question were framed, to some extent, by the resistance encountered from locals to the idea of revealing and thus making vulnerable their peaceful island home. Farmilo observed: "Mapping here on Mayne was a hot potato politically and there has been past resistance to recording information this way on the island". Some people became highly anxious at the thought of government control, believing that "information will lead to regulation" and that by divulging their knowledge of the place, they were also relinquishing their power to inhabit it as they chose. In this sense, says Farmilo (quoting Sheila Harrington) "all maps are treasure maps".  Another factor that shaped the eventual outcome of the project on Mayne was the somewhat self-selective nature of the process. Although Farmilo and the handful of people she worked with undertook a remarkable range of activities to involve local people, she said she "never felt like she really engaged with the whole community people got interested and I pursued them". She would like to have extended that pursuit to those who weren't overtly interested and trying to engage them to tell their stories and discuss their feelings about the place too.  13  To some extent then, the map of Mayne, and even the process that created it, is representative of a select group of people - those who responded to the mapping idea and shared at least the core values of the project. While this is inevitable to some degree, it is  13  This is something that Farmilo is now pursuing in another mapping project on Mayne.  72  important to recognise that this can have implications for mapping contradictions and conflicting stories. Indeed, Farmilo noted that, on Mayne: "where there was contradiction we left it out... Maps are both real and imagined - it's important to be meticulous about some things like measurements, physical realities - but it's also ok that our map is a 'vague' map. She also cautioned that while "mapping helps people see things differently...it can also be a trap; you select the information that dominates your world view. Dealing with this [issue] requires using stringent ethics to filter the information critically as you go." Linked to this same issue is the question of what role the artist could or should play in the interpretation of these stories into "artistic community maps". These issues are, of course, at the heart of this research: the extent to which a process such as the ISSCMP can engage communities in telling a wider range of stories than other kinds of discursive modes allow. This will be discussed at greater length in the next chapter.  Figure 4.10. Mayne Island; artist Tania Godoroja, with Sarah Sexsmith, Glenda Goodman and Tina Farmilo; 2001  73  Choosing an artist to translate all this cultural and ecological information into map form proved to be challenging for one person to take on, so in the end the creative process involved three artists working with Farmilo to attempt to capture as much as they could in one work. Starting with basic topographical and cadastral maps of the island, each person worked on a different aspect of the map (see Fig. 4.9.), which was then assembled in layers. Mayne was the only island where artists collaborated in this way. The map includes a border depicting rare and endangered flora and fauna (that are deliberately not tied to locations, in order to protect the knowledge of their whereabouts) and a frame that integrates the Coast Salish calendar with current seasonal information about the island. This information was gathered from a number of sources, including personal contacts of Farmilo's, naturalist Michael Dunn, local guide books and Mayne residents.  In discussing this issue with regard not just to Mayne, but all of the islands that participated, Farmilo observed that each of the maps is a personal, idiosyncratic representation of place: "it's [the value of the ISSCMP] about process - the shift is in the social networks that are strengthened". The overt benefits of the process don't last forever and have to keep being renewed, but the maps themselves are a legacy something that people like to have and to look at: "they stay around and tell us who we have been; they are visual mark-making for communication". And, she remarked, they have proved to be useful documents that have made a difference - the map of Mayne is one of the five that were entered into evidence at the hearings to debate the building of a pipeline from the mainland to the islands. These maps were used to reinforce islanders' concerns about environmental degradation and to graphically represent "the rarity and fragility of the Salish Sea ecosystem, and what was being threatened".  Ultimately, Farmilo believes that this kind of mapping contributes to sustainability in that it personalizes things: "it gives access to intimacy with landscapes. It gives a sense of connection and affirmation - it does have an effect.. .it also creates something real for people to.relate to in terms of beauty, and when a beautiful, fragile thing is handed to you, you don't drop it, you hold it carefully". It is her belief that: " A l l we're doing here is giving equal weight to history, memory, dream and story".  74  4.2.2. Hornby Island Hornby Island is similar and size and population to Mayne (29 square kilometres and 966 people, respectively), but is especially prone to the island-wide syndrome of seasonal increases in visitors. Island coordinator Darlene Gage puts it thus: "we are not only visited by tourists in the summer months, we are overwhelmed by them... We can hardly find each other for strangers" (Harrington and Stevenson, 2005, pi05). Among other things, people come for the beaches and the sense of the exotic that far-away Hornby, with its high concentration of artists and "alternative life-stylers" can provide.  Gage was actually the second coordinator of the ISSCMP on Hornby. The first coordinator, who was a long-time resident and acquaintance of the project group, was unable to find an organization to host the project and resigned after 6 months. Like Farmilo's experience on Mayne this meant that Gage did not attend the orientation workshop on SSI, and was under increased time pressures. Gage is a community activist on Hornby, who was working with Heron Rocks Friendship Centre on the island at the time of the ISSCMP. This organization has a Lands Trust "preserve and protect", environmental and social justice mandate, so it was an obvious choice for the host agency. Convinced the project could help with community-building on the island and attracted to the fact that money was provided for such work (normally carried out on a volunteer project) she signed on and began the consultation process.  The public input process consisted firstly of getting the "elders" of the community together at a half-day workshop specifically targeted at them. Many of these people had been on the island for 20-30 years, and had all kinds of knowledge about dwindling species populations, etc, as "they pay incredibly close attention to these things". They told stories and provided information about various plants and animals found on their land; much of what they talked about was not well-known. This workshop was followed by public meetings at which islanders were asked "what are your favourite places, where do you go?" and asked to describe the island through their own eyes. From the beginning, despite high levels of what Gage called "social capital and trust", she encountered "a large resistance to the core idea of the project". People did not want to  75  divulge anything: "they think of maps as revealing exact locations - which would be to make special places more vulnerable. There was a core group of residents who felt like this - they would talk in general but were very reluctant to put things on a map". This created "huge tension" between project coordinators and island people, as the coordinators specifications for the map were in direct conflict with what residents believed was appropriate for them to produce. Gage noted that local's willingness to participate is very high, but they will base their input around the extent to which they believe any given process will impose on their land. This led D G to reflect on the process of the ISSCMP and to comment that having a centralised vision coming from above had its disadvantages, in that the evolution of the project "on the ground" was at odds with the broader vision from afar. She likened it to internationafaid projects where the "intentions of agencies are good, but the practice just doesn't fit..." She estimated that a maximum of 50 people participated in Hornby's mapping process.  Further problems were encountered in the process of consolidating the community's input, the requirements of the project coordinators and the vision of the artists, into a final map. Gage reported that choosing the artists had been relatively easy; as a long-term resident of a small place she knew all the likely candidates and was able to select the people she believed had the skills. The problem was more deeply embedded in the power issues that underlie the telling of stories, in this case the somewhat conflicting agendas of the project coordinators, Gage, Hornby residents, the artists and a local ecological interest group. While Gage, the host agency and the coordinators had their official mandates and responsibilities to meet (as ,well as their accountability and reputations to maintain), the artists, who were closely aligned with an ecological conservation group on the island, saw the map as an opportunity to protect their land by "hiding the face of Hornby" (Thompson, 2001). For them, map needed to make a clear statement about the delicate balance between "people and place", a balance that they believed has been under threat via the "insensitive development policy of the past" and continues to be fragile. They began to bypass the official lines of communication and work directly with the community, which was not necessarily the same community that Gage believed she was working with. Needless to say, as the liaison point between these various interests, Gage  76  was caught in the middle, simultaneously needing to maintain her personal comfort in living in a small community, fulfill her responsibility to the project group of representing all Hornby islanders, maintain her credibility with the Heron Rocks Friendship Centre and, ultimately, deliver the map.  Figure 4.11. Hornby Island; artists Andrew Carmichael and Lynne Carmichael; 2000  One of the factors that added to the problem of making people comfortable enough to participate was the lack of contact with the other islands during the process. Gage and I discussed the possibility that opportunities to ventilate issues online would have been helpful; had locals been able to see how other islands both related and responded to these shared issues of how to represent themselves, perhaps their fears may have been somewhat assuaged. As it was, it was Gage's perception that Hornby seemed to be on the outside of the overall ISSCMP process as defined by the project coordinating group: "we weren't fitting and we needed to fit". It should be noted that this comment was made without rancour; Gage acknowledged her admiration for the energy and support shown  77  by the project coordinators, but remains frustrated with the impositions that the predetermined process made on Hornby's response, which she felt was "stifled".  In reflecting on the process 5 years later, Gage described the map itself "as both a success and not a success - people bought the maps, and it serves as a strong educational piece, but it generated resentment in some ways". However, in the end, she said she sees the value of the project as really being about the process, and the opportunity it represents for tensions, commonalities and issues in general to be made explicit and discussed: "There will always be tension between the 'yes' and the 'no', but how the decision-making takes place is what matters. So, while the map might not have worked for everyone, it brings people together to talk".  I  M  i*  II  Figure 4.12. The first exhibition of Salish Sea maps, Salt Spring Island, M a r c h 2001 (photograph by Judi Stevenson)  78  Chapter 5 Discussion and conclusions The following chapter extracts and discusses the key themes emerging from the interview data, and provides analysis of these with regard to the research questions, as well as some conclusions, starting with the main strengths of the project, as they emerged from my analysis of the interview data.  5.1. The power of artistic community mapping A common response to my question regarding the advantages of using mapping as a form of community engagement was that maps make the abstract "real" for people, allowing them to place themselves into a context and reconnect with where they live. One person I interviewed with extensive mapping experience beyond the ISSCMP commented: "I have found, every time, that making [artistic] maps is incredibly powerful - finding that language of place.. .A map [as opposed to something that is only a work of art] is about a specific place, based in research about that place. Map guides people in place and help them to find their way home". Further to this, mapping appeals to people's visual sense: a map, and its colours and symbols, is a form that people are familiar with and can relate to; these more imaginative maps contain information that is "more evocative and allows people to feel a relationship to it". Making community maps also tends to be actionoriented; it usually requires people to get outside to look and engage with their place physically in the process known as "barefoot mapping", described in Chapter 2.  These visceral, sensual and aesthetic qualities of the maps offer potentially powerful alternatives to the disembodied, techno-rational narratives of land-use and community planning that have tended to dominate the sustainability discourse on the islands. The maps seem to have demonstrated for many local people in a very immediate and tangible way "what was, and what is now" on their island homes, often surprising them with things they didn't know and thus changing their perspectives. According to the views of the island coordinators, this allowed people to widen and deepen their sense of place, based on new information (for example about the history of a particular farm, or indigenous group, or the existence of rare plants and animals) and helped to reposition  79  local knowledge as not only valuable, but central to a community's vision for its future. This heightened awareness, together with new information, may well have also increased the scope of the kinds of place narratives that emerged, but is impossible to quantify the extent to which this did or did not occur (this will be discussed further below). Perhaps more importantly, the intimate, personal scale and style of many of the maps, proudly hand-drawn and idiosyncratic, makes explicit that these narratives constitute a "view from somewhere"; not a dislocated, universalised, representational cartography, but situated place-knowledge that is dynamic and malleable.  By bringing the realm of the artistic and sensual into the arena of legitimate knowledge and making the nature of the map as an aesthetic, cultural artefact explicit, work like this can undermine the traditional authority of the rationalist discourse of maps as mimetic representations of bounded, neutral space that can be documented and manipulated "from above" (witness the project coordinators' deep concerns, reflections and eventual change of heart over what constituted a real map, discussed in the following section). The vernacular and embodied knowledge production that results can help to reconnect individuals and communities with their own agency and the possibility of transformative change (see Appendix C for comments from viewers of the map exhibition that reflect this process). This is very much in keeping with the bioregionalist call for reconnection of individuals and groups with their "ecological selves" and the ensuing "storied residence" that lies at the heart of a place-based ethics of sustainability.  Beyond the outcomes constituted by the maps themselves however, the power of the ISSCMP emerges mainly in the process, succinctly expressed by the following comment: '"What's on [the map] and what's not' is a question that starts dialogue and discussion". It is this capacity for generating exchange that was observed to be at the core of people's excitement and desire to be involved. One woman stated that "Maps as works of art imaginary places - seemed to be the right language for telling the story". B y making stories about values, and by elaborating those values, more people are drawn into the "conversation", and the translation of that conversation into action.  80  It is increasing the capacity to have this conversation that the ISSCMP had perhaps its most powerful impact; as it is one thing for islanders to have an expanded sense of their home places and their connections to them, but quite another for this awareness to translate into meaningful action. A sense of hope and optimism is arguably only as useful in the work of transformative change as the skills that enable it to be manifest in real places, with their own particular demands and circumstances. Specifically: the expanded networks (and resulting sense of shared identity on and among islands); increased confidence with technical skills and processes (such as recording ecosystem data, interviewing elders and reading zoning maps); and development of new organisations (such as on Savary, Thetis and Salt Spring) are all tangible capacitybuilding results that have the potential to significantly widen the range of stories that get to count in planning for the islands' futures.  In general, the ISSCMP process was seen as providing a creative and inspiring way to help maintain a sense of community, something many participants commented on as being increasingly difficult to maintain in their growing places, especially with regard to issues Of social inclusion. The "widening gap between the rich and the poor" and the attendant issues of rising land values, tourism-dependant economies and social stratification were overwhelmingly seen as the critical issues threatening the sustainability of the islands (despite the ecological focus of the project). Mapping projects such as this were seen as being one more, albeit particularly powerful way, of "weaving a web" of community that allows for all the stories, "the good stuff and the threatening stuff, to be told. Furthermore, in the various struggles that ensued over who got to and how to define "our place", it becomes clear that many different stories could be told and many maps produced for each place. This is a direct challenge to the taken for granted notion that a community has homogeneous ideas and experiences of a place, thus opening up the narrative possibilities. Whether this potential was actualized in the ISSCMP and some of the tensions that were encountered between the theory and practice of community mapping as inclusive story-telling about place, is discussed further below.  81  5.2. The challenges and limitations of this approach Despite the enthusiasm, dedication and actual completion (no small feat) of the ISSCMP, a number of problematic issues emerged from my analysis of interview responses. These tended to fall into two groups, conceptual and administrative/procedural. The latter included the kinds of problems typically associated with community development projects - not enough time or money! In this case, although there was some money to make available for each coordinator and artist, it was not as much as the project leaders had originally anticipated and offered at the first meeting with coordinators. Although this did not appear to result in any ill will or compromise the actual functioning of the ISSCMP, it did curtail the scope of the project and the number of maps that could be produced for each island, limiting the extent to which the ISSCMP could realise its goal of story-telling as a way of engaging with broader community.  Further to the above, a number of participants remarked on the sheer amount of time that it takes to: "do it right". In other words, as expressed by one of project coordinators: "you need to have a reflective process and ask all these kinds of questions, such as how publicly inclusive should it be [given limited resources]? Who is the community? Which project partners should be involved?" This takes time, not only to formulate the important questions that need to be asked, but to develop the trust that is required to facilitate sincere responses from those one is seeking to involve. In this kind of work, people's stories are personal, sometimes contradict each other, and always partly an outcome of the relationship the teller has with their audience; lots of attentive listening and other research needs to be done to validate the "truth".  More specific to artistic community mapping as a philosophy and process were the kinds of difficulties that revolved around the question one coordinator posed: What happens when the map is "more mandolin than microscope"? As one island coordinator put it: "The down-side of grass-roots work [like this is] the data is considered suspect or even invalid by official bodies because it not 'real' mapping." Standards for authentication may be necessary and understandable for some purposes, but they can be restrictive and prevent local input from becoming a legitimate part of the discourse about a place.  82  In other words, mapping as a non-technical pursuit is harder to 'sell' to certain people and agencies, in that its outcomes are often less quantifiable or even recognizable in conventional terms. The project coordinating group identified the maps of Cortes, Hornby, and the first from Gabriola as being "particularly challenging" in this sense. Stevenson commented that they realised they "had assumptions that had never been externalised; then we saw things that didn't fit and realised what those assumptions were". Without either text or barely any location of specific landmarks at all, these three maps all provoked the question of whether or not "maps which are not self-evident work?" and caused the coordinators to reassess their own ideas about what a map could and should be. This last point is at the heart of the power and the limitations of artistic community mapping, and not surprisingly elicited a wealth of comment, summarised below.  5.3. Telling stories with artistic versus traditional maps The question of what is an acceptable map that the project coordinators struggled with reflects the larger, underlying question of what counts as meaningful or valid knowledge, which is in turn the same issue that runs through the discussion in Chapter 2 of narrative as potentially facilitative of subjective, contextual, ethical discourse. In the context of the ISSCMP this question was reflected in the tension between the need to standardize the maps to ensure some basis for their credibility as accurate information, and the intent to engage with a deliberately imaginative and creative method of storying places.  As the project coordinator with the background in mapping, this was a central question for Briony Penn. How does one elicit information that is both accurate and meaningful? She described the dynamic tension of "using art to impart science.. .to hook your audience, but for more than the 5-second gimmick" as the driving force of all her work. She believes that developing culturally meaningful knowledge means finding a mechanism that "brings it home, makes it about this place, your place, but without preaching to people". She sees the creation of hand-drawn maps that tell personal stories as an accessible, visually engaging way of doing this.  83  Also referring to the inherent tension of combining the "microscope with the mandolin" Stevenson commented that: "scientific mapping is useful for many things, but limits the knowledge base in various ways that can be put to politically un-progressive uses.. .There is a rich conversation to be had between those who are technical mappers and voices that would get left off those maps; [these things are] not mutually exclusive by definition, but by tradition" . She went on to say that one of the valuable aspects of this kind of 14  mapping is that it can help to question and hopefully break down this tendency for citizen knowledge to be dismissed by the technical planning tradition. She expressed that the group would like to have done more to "set up that conversation" within the ISSCMP, but there wasn't the time. Although there is no doubt that time was a limiting factor, it seems that the lack of attention to fostering this dialogue was also partly an outcome of the tension that runs throughout this project between the genuine wish to involve people in a democratic, inclusive project to challenge the perceived status quo, and the seemingly stronger desire to create a celebratory testimonial of a cherished view of "island life" that would be widely received and well-accepted. The potential for the mapping process and the maps themselves to subvert or resist dominant paradigms on a fundamental level was thus circumscribed.  However, despite the limitations, a number of participants observed that the artistic maps of the ISSCMP were able to some degree to change the discourse between knowledge managers and island residents, at least to the extent that the capacity "to have that conversation has increased." For example, on Saturna, there is a strong belief that their highly storied map sent a clear message to the Islands Trust that "you cannot do things to us as if we are [just] a topographical map - we are not what you have defined us to be." On Gabriola, the coordinator believes that, while the maps produced there have not become the tools for the community that the project coordinators envisaged, they are "more playful than bare scientific data [and that] this is necessary to engage people - if we cannot bring the celebration of place that is inherent in its art into the light, then who Clearly, this project is embedded in the coordinating group's values about what constitutes progressive or un-progressive uses of knowledge. The tension that exists between this agenda and the goal of having a community-driven, participatory process is a key issue for this research, and will be discussed further in this chapter. 14  84  is going to carry on?" In other words, the artistic approach can animate the community, which no matter how well-armed it is with scientific facts, needs to be inspired to act.  Some of the maps explicitly struggle to articulate the creative tension between the microscope and the mandolin and make this central to their story. For example, Quadra's map is set on the actual marine chart of the area but has included sensitive ecosystem data and artistic, imaginative renderings of place overlaying the "official" definition of the island. Similarly, the Mayne Island map combines layers of cadastral and topographic data used for official community planning, with exquisitely delicate watercolour images of rare plants and animals.  .  On other islands, the relative "artiness" of the eventual map was more an issue of pragmatism than philosophy. The Savary map, for example, was done digitally because the group wanted to be able to update it and use it as an educational tool (it is currently being used as a visitor's map to encourage stewardship values).  Generally then, the attempt of the project coordinators to set out standards for the maps and define the degree to which they needed to be artistic versus traditional was not successful and most ended up doing their own thing, based on a variety of circumstances (but still within certain prescribed limits, as outlined on pages 48-52). The project coordinators, however, are the first to acknowledge that this is perhaps how it should be, as Stevenson puts it: "We had to open ourselves up to what we had put in motion... in the end we had to trust them to get on with it". This broader issue of what counts as a map and the associated question of which stories get told was a key concern for this project and is discussed further below.  5.4. The role of the artist It is a limitation of this research that I was only able to speak directly to three of the artists involved in the project; it should thus be noted that any discussion of this issue is based largely on the comments of island and project coordinators. However, in most cases, there were close, trusting, working relationships between artists and island  85  coordinators and it is reasonable to assume that their perspective was accounted for at least to some degree in the interviews that were conducted.  There was considerable flexibility for the island coordinators in the kind of process they used to involve the artists. On more than fifty percent of the islands the research and communication process happened first and then the artist was found. The artists were often selected by a committee that the island coordinator had got together, but sometimes they were chosen by individuals and in a couple of cases the artists were the coordinators. In all cases, however, the choice of artist had to be confirmed with the project coordinators, and examples of work submitted.  The disadvantage of this approach was that, by the time the time the consultations had been done and the artists selected, it could be very difficult for the coordinators to "let go" of the stories that had been gathered and put them into the hands of people who hadn't been involved in collecting them. On the other hand, the artists who came into the process at this later stage were a "fresh pair of eyes" and could bring their own imagination to the information. In general, coordinators commented that they learned that they had to trust the artist and the process of interpreting words into images, and there was no indication that any island community was unhappy with the final products.  The fact remains however, as noted by artist and coordinator Tina Farmilo from Mayne, that "working with artists in this way changes things - it opens up new ways of seeing a place; but it also means that one person's vision is filtering the stories that are told", with the potential for conflict with the goal of creating an inclusive, diverse community legacy. Of course all maps are a result of individual's decisions about what to leave out, but in the case of the ISSCMP this process is much more explicit. Paradoxically, the creative skill and cohesive vision that comes from filtering a community's stories through (usually) one trained artist creating (usually) a single map, also resulted in a lost opportunity). The multiplicity of voices that could have been involved was seriously circumscribed, partly through the inevitable constraints of time and money as discussed, but also because of a conceptual approach that was very outcome-driven. This approach  86  meant that the project was funded, the work got done and the Atlas produced - obviously desirable outcomes - but that some of the potential to engage and empower a wide range of groups and their stories was sacrificed along the way. Quite possibly the project might never have been completed had it proceeded in a more community-driven and broadly participatory fashion, with the making of lots of maps via artist/lay-person collaboration, but it would be interesting to see whether it mobilised a broader range of narratives in the discussion of the islands' sustainability.  5.5. Funding, power and multiple agendas As noted previously, the project group had initially wanted to make multiple maps of SSI but were forced to reconsider this idea when they discovered that, given the prior existence of a mapping project on SSI, the most likely source of funding for them was the federal Millennium Community Projects money, which required a regional focus. In addition this money was distributed to projects looking to celebrate a region at the turn of the millennium.  This raises questions of funding, multiple agendas and power; issues for any community project, but of particular concern where the explicit aim is to engage in an inclusive participatory process. While the project coordinating group maintains that, because of the range of funding bodies involved, each partner organisation "generally accepted that it wasn't calling the shots", there were some specific requirements imposed depending on the mandate of the agency. Whilst the seed money came from the Islands Trust Fund, which understood that the project was broad in scope and oriented towards communitybuilding, and the main funding came from the (then) Ministry of Communities, Cooperatives and Volunteers, which had a community capacity-building mandate in keeping with the progressive social policy frameworks of the day, other funding arrangements were less obviously amenable to a community-defined approach. For instance, several of the island coordinators mentioned the impact of having significant funding coming from Environment Canada which was interested in the development of ecosystem maps, including a map showing the effects of climate change on SSI.  87  This is not to suggest that the "environmental bias" explicit in many of the maps (and identified as such by the project coordinators) was purely the result of a funding agency agenda; Savary's mapping process, for example, had an "explicit ecological focus" because the host agency believed that that was the task at hand - to save the island from subdivision and development by demonstrating its ecological rarity and fragility. Furthermore, as Kathy Dunster pointed out, the reality is that the environments of the islands are increasingly under pressure from development, and with a higher level of environmental literacy now present among the people who live there, this was bound to manifest in the maps. However, it is clear from the interviews and consideration of the maps themselves that there were strong agendas at work in this project and that these had significant implications for the ISSCMP's ability to facilitate a truly community-driven, pluralistic process . These implications merit further attention and are discussed below. 15  In addressing these issues of power and agency, the broader question here is, of course: who was the mapping for? Who is community in this case? Who is being empowered? Maps can reproduce privilege and expertise: Briony Penn acknowledged that "by trying to produce a legitimate product that warrants reproduction, even artistic maps can encounter this problem". As Tina Farmilo cautioned: "Mapping helps people see things differently... [but] it can also be a trap - you select the information that dominates your world view. Dealing with this requires using stringent ethics to filter the information critically as you go". Who decides on what counts as stringent ethics? Judi Stevenson acknowledged that this is not an easy thing to grapple with: as previously noted in her comments (see p. 4) about the need for to ask honest questions about one's own agenda and the time and interpersonal trust among project partners that such a process requires.  Returning to the point made earlier about the need to engage in a reflexive process to establish the truth, the obvious question emerges: who decides, in the end, what constitutes the truth? I approached this project as an example of how diversity in placeInterestingly, Stevenson did comment that she felt the "social-ecological balance got a bit out of hand" [skewed towards the ecological] and noted that perhaps the project coordinators could have recommended that islands make sketches along the way of social and cultural stories that they heard, to make inclusion of this information on the maps more likely and easier to achieve. 1 5  88  making (and thus strengthening the capacity for sustainability) could be fostered by engaging community participation through artistic mapping. M y argument has been that an ethical response to socio-environmental issues needs to be based in place-based relationships and circumstances - the dynamic flows that occur across a range of viewpoints, as described on pages 16-17. Doing this obviously requires that no one viewpoint dominate and thus hypostatize the place in question, serving only to reproduce or reinforce particular (even if not dominant) narratives. Again, there seems to be a paradox at work here, that while the process of making the sensual, personal, celebratory images of the ISSCMP maps did inspire people to get involved, it is not evident that the maps themselves represented diverse or previously-suppressed narratives. To what extent is it ever possible to map multiple and potentially contradictory voices, as the philosophy of community mapping espouses, using (generally) one artist to create one map for each island? I would suggest from my investigation of this project that there are definite limitations imposed by using this approach. These concerns are discussed both with reference to a specific narrative and more generally in the sections that follow.  5.6. Seeing place through a celebratory lens - conflicting narratives Further to the issue of the "social-ecological balance" depicted by the maps, a number of interviewees talked about what they saw as the explicitly celebratory approach taken to the project, or what one coordinator called the "pretty picture" phenomenon, where the images are of "natural beauty" with barely any detectable human presence or intimation of complex social-ecological relationships. This seems to me to be a kind of community typifications or heritage narrative (see p. 28) wherein the rhetorical device of the map is used to make an appeal to preserve something good, natural and under threat from outside forces. This is of course in keeping with the stated agenda of the project coordinators to encourage a stewardship approach to "protecting the land".  When I discussed this with Briony Penn, she agreed that it was a potentially limiting factor for the inclusiveness of the project, but claimed that the positive, celebratory focus also "brought together a lot of people at various levels of community and government.. .providing lateral and vertical networking and at the same time creating a  89  strong, visual sense of shared identity". This was confirmed by other coordinators, the most notable being Priscilla Ewbank from Saturna, who noted that the focus of the ISSCMP "was so positive - everyone could buy in to it, at many levels, even rising above personal issues". Similarly on Denman, this move away from a deficit-based or problemfocused approach, allowed the community to work together in a way that Jensen described as "healing", after the deep divisions that had emerged from the recent land-use battles.  Penn also argued that by deliberately engaging people who "use and love the land" that enthusiasm can help to "extend the web of the already converted; people like loggers who can help make the connections for people between what we love and where it comes from". This is what Penn describes as "turning people into 'bi-culturalists' who are able to become communicators and story-tellers for the "bringing together of science and art".  Not all interviewees agreed that taking a celebratory approach was in keeping with the wider goals of sustainability, however. One island coordinator talked to me about the history of racism on her home island that was not acknowledged by the maps that were made. She also described attitudes to young people on the island: "they are seen as a problem" and felt that to truly tell meaningful stories about this place that the project needed to find ways to include more marginal or challenging voices. She did present the project coordinators with some concrete proposals for doing this (such as mapping the presence and absence of young people on the island), but this kind of mapping was not in keeping with the mandate on "celebrating the millennium" that shaped the ISSCMP. She was not the only person to comment that, with rising land values, economic segregation and the associated sense of living in a "gated community" that some residents feel, there are undercurrents of island life that never get examined or "made part of the discourse of the place". As the demographics of the islands change: "instead of farmers, they are now rich people with summer residences", does a celebratory approach pose the threat of selfcongratulation. One person I spoke to on Bowen (not the coordinator) articulated what many felt to be the somewhat N I M B Y (not in my back yard)-ish "grand narrative" of the islands: "The place was perfect when I got here - now no-one else should be allowed to  90  come". (The lack of First Nations participation is of course also relevant here, and is. discussed in more detail below).  It should be noted that everyone I discussed this issue with at length (including the interviewee quoted above) acknowledged that making "beautiful and inspiring maps" is not in itself a bad or ineffective approach to community capacity-building for sustainability. The question to be asked, they felt, is "what or who gets left out?" This is a critical issue. A n example of the way in which maps can both reproduce and challenge typifications can be seen in the apple orchard map of Denman, which clearly draws on symbols of the agricultural narrative - the heritage orchards, etc - that appeal to a sense of the natural, the unspoilt, the bucolic idyll. But what makes apples any less supplanting of the natural than, say, houses? The orchards weren't there when native people carved the petroglyphs. This may seem a glib remark, but it illustrates the ease with which we may be persuaded by imagery in these maps and the need to be careful of appeals to keep things the way they were. It is important that we are willing to engage in a continual interrogation of what it is that we believe to be endangered and in need of preservation, and why. As Bridger, (1996) points out, such narrative appeals are predicated on the assumed existence of a collectively identified audience (p.369) and also on the cultural theme that equates "rurality and agriculture with a wholesome way of life that cannot be attained in an urban environment" (p.369). Furthermore, there is the obscuring of agency and a depersonalisation that comes from people-less maps - again a kind of naturalising of the story - that serves as powerful rhetorical device.  The question then remains: how does one map contention? Recalling Farmilo's comment about the Mayne map: "Where there was contradiction, we left it o f f again highlights the issue of conflicting narratives and the silences, or things that aren't said, and how to include and read them. If this difficulty is glossed over or avoided, however, community mapping projects like this one are in danger of making a claim to telling the "true story" of the islands. As mentioned, the creation of multiple maps for each place is one way to ameliorate this problem. Although this cannot alter the reality of power struggles and competing agendas, it can at least help to make the reality of contested stories of place  91  explicit. While there will always be a conflict between the need to 'get it done' and the need to make it inclusive, it is vital that efforts are made to find ways to, i f not include everyone (for how is this ever possible?), then to be transparent and accountable regarding the limitations. This is necessary to avoid the hypostatisation and totalisation of place that this kind of work has such potential to challenge.  5.7. First Nations One particular group that almost every person I spoke to believed had been insufficiently included in their process was First Nations. Even on Kuper, which is a native reserve, there were difficulties in involving the local Band, as previously noted. There were a number of reasons given for this, summarised below.  Firstly, despite their histories as important fishing, trading and dwelling places for First Nations people, most of the islands no longer have an indigenous population. In some instances (such as on Lasqueti and Gabriola ), the Bands who originally inhabited the area now live on Vancouver Island, and are thus both geographically and emotionally distanced from these places. Access and inclusion in the ISSCMP was therefore difficult.  Another issue that emerged repeatedly was the impact of politically sensitive land claims processes on First Nations willingness to be involved in a mapping project. As one project coordinator pointed out: "There were treaty negotiations going on at the time, involving the claiming of places that couldn't be out in the public domain, so the notion of mapping anything was too sensitive; i.e. the Saanich Map in the Atlas started out as a map of traditional resource areas, but out of a sense of protection this information was removed".  But the question was also raised as to whether, even in the absence of these limitations on First Nations involvement, such participation would have been forthcoming. Sheila Harrington, who has an extensive background in working with aboriginal groups on sustainability issues, noted that: "The problem was we had already come up with the idea", thus it had not involved First Nations consultation at the "ground floor level" and  92  may have seemed to be yet another imposition of white agendas and processes. In the face of this, Harrington said, the degree to which there was any First Nations involvement in the ISSCMP at the outset was the result of personal connections that she was able to bring into the project.  However, there were some positive comments made with regard to the project's facilitation of relationships with local Bands on the islands. Liz Webster noted that it took Savary three years to get a dialogue with First Nations happening; having the map was an important part of this process as it allowed the Land Conservancy to show people what they were doing and reduce the fear among First Nations that knowledge of the land "would be stolen, like so much before". Now that they have undergone this process, the relationships are quite different, and were it to be repeated, the mapping project itself would proceed differently and with far greater collaboration. Similarly Priscilla Ewbank said that on Saturna, although involving First Nations in the ISSCMP proved difficult, the process instigated improved relationships and that "now it would be easier to collaborate".  In conclusion, while First Nations input into the ISSCMP had been a priority objective of the project, it was generally not achieved. However, the process turned out to be a useful learning one for many of the coordinators involved. Not only did they develop some of the insight and skills needed to collaborate effectively, they were also able to establish some good-will that might in future help to overcome the resistance engendered by the widely-held indigenous view that the islands are an "exclusive white enclave" that they had been forced to leave. Whether the.process was considered helpful for First Nations with interests in the future of the region remains unknown, but future work of this kind would do well to consider the importance of collaborating in setting the agenda for a project, rather than asking for input at the stage of it's execution.  5.8. The link to sustainability To reiterate the discussion of the use of the term of sustainability in this research from Chapter 2, it is important to note that my investigation of the ISSCMP was not intended  93  to document tangible evidence of sustainability in terms of resource use, conservation, etc. so much as to evaluate the impact it might have had on participating communities' capacity for the place-based discussion of values that I have argued sustainability is predicated upon. Some of these outcomes are described in the preceding discussion. These things include increased knowledge and sense of place - an awareness of what's 'out there', what's valuable, what stands to be lost; the development of relationships, networks and organisations; and an associated sense of intra and inter-island dependence.  16  Having said this, it is worth noting that interviewees recounted numerous examples of what they believed to be a direct link between the ISSCMP and sustainability outcomes: some of these concerned conservation: for instance people coming together as a result of the project to save Walter Hook on SSI from the building of an ecologically destructive hatchery; while others concerned the dialogic process between locals and planners: such as the maps being used as part of a values-identification process being conducted by the Communities in Transition project of the Real Estate Foundation of BC. Still others involved the maps themselves as conduits of community pride and identity: on Saturna they are presented as gifts to people when they leave, on Savary they are used to welcome and educate tourists; and there is a B & B on Gabriola that has a copy of the Atlas in every room. It was also observed by Briony Penn that: "The stuff you don't see is all the buildings that get [their development applications] turned down" and "changes in the political landscape" (obviously, whether or not this constitutes change in the direction of sustainability depends on your political viewpoint). There was widespread belief too, that people's increased capacity to engage with land use issues and be less threatened by things like zoning maps is a valuable, lasting outcome of this work. By exposing people to the official discourse of planning and reducing their anxiety around  On the other hand, the ISSCMP, though claiming to take a bioregional approach to place, did not really engage with mapping the islands' relationships within their larger-scale networks. This was a contentious issue among the project coordination group, resulting in the inclusion of a few regional maps in the Atlas (depicting transportation routes and energy flows)-but the larger issue of what constitutes 'home' at the larger scale was left largely unaddressed; as one interviewee put it: "we celebrate our local farms but don't talk about where our food actually comes from".  94  being outside of it, the ISSCMP was felt to have contributed significantly to a sense of community empowerment in many places; as Penn put it: "being able to read the 'text' of a zoning map is powerful". Similarly, Stevenson described the maps as "another tool of communication", and that one of the successes of the project was that it "showed planning types that mapping can be done in a much more holistic way, and be more inclusive.. .by mapping nature and culture mapping helps us connect with our home place.. .this kind of mapping helps us interconnect with each other and what we value".  However, while the ISSCMP appears to have been able to increase the degree of discussion taking place in the islands concerning residents cherished values and desires for the future, and bring questions about the future very much to the fore, its impact on community capacity to widen the sustainability discourse and make it more inclusive of marginal voices, is much less clear. With such a clear agenda from the project coordinating group from the outset, and the kind of process that was subsequently undertaken to locate and select key participants (artists and coordinators), and develop each map for publication in the Adas, the ISSCMP may well be more likely to "preach to the converted" about the need to preserve their idealised home places, than it is to stir up the narrative pot, as it were, and develop a relational, inclusive, placed-based ethic of sustainability. What the project can (and in fact, did do) is inspire regional interest in community map-making as a form of shared story-telling: there has been a huge increase in the demand for barefoot mapping workshops throughout the islands, as well as crosspollinating effects to the mainland and beyond (Stevenson, personal communications, 2006). As this approach becomes more widespread and individual places adapt mapmaking to their own goals and needs, it can be expected that some of the problems encountered here can be worked out (recalling the bioregional philosophy of evolving community skills through "doing") and more of the potential realised.  5.9. The project coordinating group This discussion would not be complete without some acknowledgement of how all this was ultimately achieved by the vision and perseverance of the three women who comprised the project coordinating group. Through all the difficulties and challenges,  95  successes and failures of the ISSCMP, the project coordinators drew unanimous praise and admiration from those involved. Words like "inspiring", "amazing" and "endlessly enthusiastic" were used repeatedly, even among those who had struggles with the somewhat top-down process they felt they'd had imposed upon them. Many people commented on the broad sense of ownership that had been instilled throughout the islands, partly as a result of Stevenson, Harrington and Penn's willingness to travel to each of the islands (often a long, complicated voyage, and often more than once) to share their ideas and skills, and just to offer support.  They also provided a clear set of guidelines and expectations, which generally allowed the island coordinators to work comfortably, knowing what they needed to accomplish and when. Furthermore, they had put a lot of groundwork into making the process inclusive and equitable; the number of maps per island was carefully worked out and explained, recognition of the need to pay artists and coordinators was paramount, and the system of hosting of the project at a local organisation established a sense of local ownership.  Having been involved in protracted community development projects myself, and knowing their ability to induce burn-out in workers, I was curious as to how the project group had stayed so motivated over the five years it took to get the project from inception to the publication of the Atlas. When I asked her, Stevenson laughed and replied that it wasn't hard because "the idea was so right - there was an inherent excitement for us about doing the work, and in the process engaging with people, making connections and bringing artists into it. And it wasn't just us - mostly everyone else was ignited by the idea .. .In the early stages [we did a lot of] cold-calling to find people on each island, and there was a lot of positive response, a "wow!" factor". She also described the island coordinators as "the people I would have invented [to do this] if I could" and concluded by saying that "there was a general, shared sense of doing something worthwhile".  96  5.10. Concluding remarks; suggestions for future work Clearly, community mapping such as that produced by the ISSCMP cannot, in and of itself, generate sustainability. It cannot even be viewed as always benign with regard to community-building: resentments can surface; people can feel alienated; a picture of place may be deliberately or unintentionally created that subsumes differences in individual visions. Idealised (and often unexamined) notions of community cohesion and consensus are overturned when disparate voices clamour to be heard. Hierarchies of power are not necessarily avoided by undertaking a process that seeks to consult this community; in fact the mantle of "community project" can serve to obscure the tensions that exist between the agendas of different project partners, as we have seen. In the ISSCMP, some of this tension emerged from the coordinators' desire to make people think and behave a certain way - "to make responsible citizens" - versus the desire to truly engage communities to tell their own stories, using their own forms of artistic map. Where these stories clashed, as in the case of the Hornby map, where there was dissent within the community and between the coordinators and artists, there was struggle, a struggle that in the end was only hinted at by the maps themselves, which mostly present images of cohesive, even idyllic community. While these images may have been crucial to the goal of the coordinators to celebrate a particular way of life at the turn of the millennium, they do not capture the complex interplay of nature, culture and self that comprise place in Sack's model as presented in Chapter 2. In terms of the argument made I have tried to make for the "in-betweenness" of place (its fluid, contested nature), it is maps like Hornby's that come closest: I recall clearly that my first response when I saw it was: "What is going on here? Why is the map so vague? What's the story?"  As for the process of creating the images, it is extremely difficult to know the degree to which the struggle over which stories to tell was able to act as an engaging, creative and inspiring force for dialogue and transformative knowledge production - the discursive democracy that was described earlier in Chapter 2 - on any given island. This is a limitation of my research, which depends on the recollections and opinions of a small number of the people who participated, and those few in very specific roles associated with certain power relationship within the process. What can be established is that artistic  97  community mapping projects are as subject to selective place-making as any other kind of discursive practices (maps, like all texts, are ultimately rhetorical devices). However, I believe that the ISSCMP does serve as an example of the potential for such approaches to bring the local, sensual and creative to the fore as forms of legitimate knowledge production, and are also able to draw attention to the constructive process of community identity. Furthermore, the bringing together of art and science - the microscope and the mandolin - encourages the development of new kinds of stories to express forms of meaning that do not fall within officially-sanctioned, techno-rational discourses of sustainability. To quote Darlene Gage again: "There will always be tension between the 'yes' and the 'no', but how the decision-making takes place is what matters. So, while the map might not have worked for everyone, it brings people together to talk." It is the irreducible resonances in the kinds of dialogic encounters made possible by mapping processes like this that can be the basis for transformative change.  However, while such mapping can offer a process of creating, naming and valuing the world, all processes critical to the practice of storied residence that underlies a placebased ethics of sustainability, there are clearly limitations. The project group's desire to frame the story of the islands in a particular way, as one of bioregional celebration of a particular lifestyle, "close to nature", created a vision that many people felt inspired and engaged by, and offered an apparently welcome move away from the kind of deficit or problem-based model of community that often informs capacity-building projects (Rappaport, 1995). In so doing, the ISSCMP was able to transcend some of the established divisions within some communities (e.g. on Gambier, Denman) and offer a new strategy for involving local people in imagining the future of their home places. But this same agenda was also the project's major limitation: having a clearly formulated idea of what needed to be achieved, and how, meant that to some people the ISSCMP seemed imposed upon them, rather than something that was allowed to evolve in response to each community's own experiences and desires, and to fully allow them to express where the fault lines of power imbalances might lie. In particular, for some First Nations groups, this meant an understandable reluctance to participate in a process they.did not feel they had any control over, amounting to a reiteration of past colonial relationships, no matter  98  how unintentional. At least in this refusal there was an exchange of understanding that could be acknowledged and worked with in the future (and there is evidence that this happened for some islands). For other groups, however, who unlike First Nations were not explicitly identified as part of the story to be told - young people, Asian immigrants. and the marginally housed or homeless were groups that were mentioned in interviews there is an absence of consultation rather than a voluntary silence, and no point of engagement from which to develop appropriate strategies of inclusion. Here I am highlighting an inevitable dilemma for any future work of this nature - to what extent can the ends (getting it done, pushing for change) justify the means (who might get left out of the process)? That this dilemma presents the opportunity to grapple with issues of social and environmental justice is not sufficient - that opportunity must be taken and actively worked with. At the very least, this is what developing an ethic of sustainability means: engaging with the messiness and in-betweenness of complex, shifting relationships, between people and the world around them, and not hiding behind the easy categorizations of a rationalist discourse. By using artistic maps to draw attention to the contingency and dynamism of these relationships; by putting them in place in an openly emotional, aesthetic and visceral way, a mechanism for telling richly creative stories is made possible. In the case of the ISSCMP this was a tool that was applied in such a way as to be only partially successful in including new voices and new stories into the ongoing discussion of sustainability in the region, but was able to lay some of groundwork required to increase the inclusiveness of such a project in the future.  Which stories should we tell? Which ones will get told? Like the people who envisioned and ultimately succeeded in completing this project, I believe that, for the sustainability of our home places, some stories are better than others, but ultimately, to avoid the drawbridge syndrome of wanting to preserve "what I have" rather than adapt to what the community (however defined) needs, places need opportunities to be continually storied, contested, defined and redefined. Which stories we choose (and will struggle) to tell is an ongoing, endless question, and that is as it should be.  99  Bibliography Aberley, D (1993) Boundaries of home: mapping for local empowerment. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers Agnew, J and Duncan, J (1989) Introduction. In J Agnew and J Duncan (eds.): The power of place: bringing together geographical and sociological imaginations. Winchester: Unwin Hyman Alexander, D (1990) Bioregionalism: science or sensibility? 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Washington: U S D A Forest Service Wood, D (1993) The power of maps. New York: The Guilford Press Woolley, J; McGinnis, M and Kellner, J (2002) The California watershed movement: science and the politics of place. Natural Resources Journal, 42(1): 133-83 Yin, R (1984) Case study research: design and methods. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications  108  Appendix A: Introductory letter to participants Dear all Following up from Judi's recent email to you, I would like to invite you to participate in research I am doing as part of my M A in Geography at U B C . Essentially, I would like to write up the Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project as an example of how non-traditional forms of story-telling (such as artistic mapping) can be used to engage communities in the work of sustainability. I first became aware of the project last year, when I heard Sheila being interviewed on C B C , and immediately it struck me as an excellent example of the argument I had being trying to make in my work for some time: that scientific, quantitative methods of , measuring a landscape are important, but by no means adequate ways to know a place, and understand how to work with the people who live there in sustaining it. With that in mind, I have developed a proposal (see attached) that has the support of my advisor, Professor John Robinson, and the Geography Department, to explore the work done by you in the ISSCMP. What I would like to do, i f you are willing, is to contact each of you by telephone (or, where it's feasible come and meet with you face-to-face) and talk to you about your work in the project and how you went about it. The interviews would be free-ranging and informal, depending on the interests and experiences of each person, but the following should give you a good idea of the kinds of things I'd like to discuss: • • • • • • • •  What was the nature of your role in the ISSCMP? What was the process you undertook in working with the community to develop the map(s)? What were the strengths of working this way? What limitations or problems did you encounter? How would you do the work differently i f you could repeat the process? What do you think is the potential for this project for contributing towards' sustainability on your home island? In the region? Were there stories that emerged in the process that challenged 'official' knowledge of the place? Were you able to capture these? Can you give any other examples of how the mapping process on your island helped to reveal a local 'sense of place'?  I imagine that each conversation would take between 40 minutes and an hour, and of course, i f it were by phone, I would call you to save you the cost! Please note that I am not attempting to comprehensively evaluate the project, or judge the work that was conducted within it; rather I want to explore the concept of artistic community mapping as a powerful tool for social and environmental sustainability, and use the work that you did as concrete examples of what can be achieved and how it might  109  be applied to different settings in the future. In addition to the proposal, I am attaching the formal consent form required by U B C , for your information. If you could read it and print out a copy to sign and send to me, that would be great. M y deadlines are tight (I'm sure you all know what this is like!) If you could indicate to me by the end of the week whether or not you are interested in participating (and letting me know the best way to contact you), I will start to set up interviews for the following week. Thank you all very much in anticipation of your help -1 look forward to speaking with you. Regards  Vanessa Sparrow M A Student Department of Geography University of British Columbia 1984 West Mall Vancouver B C V6T 1Z2  110  Appendix B : Herb Rice's text to accompany the map: Myths of Kuper Island  L e t me tell y o u a story, f r o m where the sun rises to where the  The vision o f the S h a m a n was related to us before  sun sets. The place y o u r people c a l l the east a n d the west. M y  the c o m i n g o f your canoes that glide o n the w i n d . O u r life's  home is called K u p e r Island. O u r people have three villages  b l o o d came f r o m our mother the earth, a n d for many genera-  here, o n K u p e r Island:  tions we cared for this. Past a n d present we lived w i t h i n  I. SPUNE'LUXU TZ'  ( C l a m B a y — a l s o Penelukut)  2.. XWLUMEL TSA ( L a m a l c h i  Bay)  3. YUXULA'US (Ferry L a n d i n g )  our boundaries, m a r k e d by the still waters. These times are marked not as w r i t t e n legend, but as oft-repeated stories passed o n by the memories o f our people a n d remembered i n  T w o o f these villages ( S p u n e ' l u x u T z ' a n d Yuxula'us)  the dreams o f life. These stories are forever o n the d r u m s that  are p o p u l a t e d w i t h approximately 4 5 0 people. These people  call our people to the fire to hear the legends again a n d again.  are still dependent o n s a l m o n a n d clams for their staple diet. O u r people lived o n the shore i n longhouses marked  The little deer, S m i i , taught our c h i l d r e n h o w to care for this l a n d a n d what we must do to care for ourselves. The  by a welcome figure. They h u n t e d o n the rocks o f the small  supernatural strength we searched for i n our visions brought  islands, Tent a n d N o r w a y , for sea lions a n d seals. D e e r were  our love for the gifts that were given by each creature that  abundant i n the forests o f K u p e r Island. The canoe was the  i n t u r n gave each one o f us life t h r o u g h its o w n death. The  m a i n form o f transportation. E v e n to the present day, our  multitudes o f s a l m o n that each year came home t h r o u g h our  people fish o f f the shores o f K u p e r I s l a n d for crabs, s a l m o n ,  waters fed the great numbers o f o u r people but still t h r i v e d .  clams a n d c o d .  It is said that, "As l o n g as we put the bones o f the s a l m o n  The sandy shore o f K u p e r Island is called S p u n e ' l u x u T z ' (Penelukut). T h i s is the b e g i n n i n g o f our people, where Heels the transformer brought life, o n the wings o f an  back i n the waters, the s a l m o n shall r e t u r n the next season." The clams that were p i l e d h i g h over successive generations m i n g l e d w i t h the bones of  eagle, to a single l o g a n d m a n was created. The pure  o u r ancestors to f o r m the h i g h shores w i t h  w h i t e sands o f the shore became w o m a n , the legend  w h i t e beaches at C l a m Bay a n d L a m a l c h i  tells itself. M y v i s i o n has been the v i s i o n  Bay. These clams were savoured all year  o f the countless generations that have  r o u n d , as fresh food.  survived t h r o u g h the natural a n d  Today, the people o f K u p e r Island  the u n n a t u r a l changes i n o u r times.  are w o r k i n g to m a i n t a i n their t r a d i t i o n a l  Yuxula'us, the place where eagles  rights o f food gathering a n d can be reached  roost, X w l u m e l Tsa, where the sands  t h r o u g h the P e n e l u k u t B a n d Office.  recede f r o m the shores—these are a l l  — a s told by H e r b R i c e  places-named by o u r ancestors, places we k n o w i n their n a t u r a l state. This story and artistic design are the interpretations of Herb Rice, a Native Indian artisan with roots on Kuper and Norway islands. This traditionally carved cedar panel is three by four feet in size.  Ill  Appendix C: Comments made by attendees at the ISSCMP Exhibition, Salt Spring Island, March, 2001 (from Harrington and Stevenson, 2005)  This is a real surprise! I had no idea how mapping and Wordsfail me. Long may these maps continue to art are so complementary, and could be so broad inremind people ofthefragilityofour precious Earth. concept, vision and execution. [Mayne]  [Sidney]  What a great way to bring all the island communities I wish everyone could see this show at leastfour times! together. [Cortes]  [Bowen]  A project like this should be happening everywhere.Extraordinary! Would love to have them in bookform It's profound. [Courcenay]  in order to spend more time with them. [Galiano]  An outstanding blend of art, history and science. Most Two hundredyearsfromnow, this collection will still impressive! [Gabriola]  be oj"historicinterestand precious. [Sidney]  We should have copies of all ofthese on display  Such beautiful and creative maps. Really brings home  permanently on all the islands to remind ourselves!how unique each island is andyet how much we have Thank you to the coordinators and the devoted artists. in common. [North Pender] [Salt Spring]  Delightful to study and very thought-provoking. I Thank you. You've got the soul ofthese places down forinspired to try to do something similar in my am futuregenerations. [Saturna]  community. Thanks! [Mayne]  112  


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