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PIMA BULLETIN NO 48

The River

Serap Asar Brown

I follow ‘the River’ in my life, physically and metaphorically.  What I mean is that I have followed rivers on a bicycle for more than 5000 kilometres from source to sea in Europe and Canada.  In doing so, the River has become a teacher to me and provided me insight into expressing myself metaphorically.  Below, I refer to some of these teachings to introduce myself as a new member of PIMA and an arts-based researcher.      

 

 River Gathers Water from Various Tributaries.  Like how River gathers its body of Water from various tributaries, my worldview comes from different knowledge systems: old matriarchal Turkic and modern Western knowledge, critical feminist and ecofeminist teachings, qualitative and arts-based approaches, and Indigenous worldviews. I have gained this understanding in Turkiye (formerly known as Turkey) and Canada through my degrees in dentistry, psychology, gender and women’s studies and my professional work, including in adult education. Currently, I am doing my Ph.D. in Adult Education and Leadership Studies at the University of Victoria in Canada with Dr. Darlene Clover. My research explores how to (re)member, (re)imagine and (re)story our relationship to Water, with a specific focus on a creek in Victoria, BC. To contribute to knowledge production in the academic world, I wear a relational lens shaped by decolonial, arts-based, ecofeminist and Indigenous worldviews.  

 

River Unites. Like how the River connects distant points on land on its path, I make connections among people and various fields of studies, which contributes to meaning-making in my life, both personally and professionally. This unitary approach has allowed me to work harmoniously with people, such as academics in dentistry and feminist studies and partners and stakeholders in the United Nations. This understanding has also shaped my arts-based teaching practice. For example, during the isolation days due to the Covid pandemic, I facilitated virtual international poetry gatherings co-hosted with Dr. Budd Hall. In these gatherings, participants co-created collective poetry, which helped us unite and form an international community. Based on this experience, I later referred to poetry as a community-building practice in an arts-based course that I taught dentistry students in Turkiye and some public settings. As a new member, I look forward to my correspondence in the PIMA community. 

 

River has the Power to (re)Create. My critical understanding that a River has the power to (re)create its course, when necessary, reminds me of humans’ strength to (re)create their stories in life when there is a need for change. Accordingly, I recognize the fluidity of dominant, divisive, patriarchal, and colonial narratives and understand the possibility of change through stories.  This understanding gives me hope and provides me guidance for my research and personal life.  

 

Listening to the River is Listening to the Voice. River has taught me to listen to its meaning deeply and hear my own voice in that silence. Through this listening, I have become a poet, filmmaker, and articulated voice through the arts. So, I aspire to listen to many, whether they are the silenced or ignored voices of humans or more-than-humans. As a critical arts-based researcher and educator, I aim to open space for voice and listen deeply to hear many stories. 

 

About the Author

Serap Asar Brown (D.M.D., B.A., M.Sc.) is doing her Ph.D. in Adult Education and Leadership Studies at the Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, BC, Canada. She is a ‘Water’ lover, an adult educator, poet, filmmaker, and a long-distance bicyclist along rivers from source to sea. Serap believes in the power of stories and hopes to find ways to access the old story of ‘Water’ in which people cared and felt gratitude for Water.  Her research focuses on reimagining, remembering, and re-storying relations to Water, referring to Indigenous methodologies and arts-based methods. Email: serap.brown@gmail.com

 

References

Some of the references for my arts-based work are as follows:

Asar Brown, S. (2022). Space in between. Qualitative Inquiry, 28(10), 1094– 1095.  https://doi.org/10.1177/10778004221093416

Brown, S. A. (2022). Glasses You Put On. Qualitative Inquiry, 28(8-9), 977–978. https://doi.org/10.1177/10778004221077706

Brown, S.A. (Producer). (2020). I am River. [Experimental]. Shaw Community Link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWa5kfgx3dQ)

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