Orienting to Story

A scene from Brownton Abbey at Cripping the Arts

Power to Create Change

Photo: Michelle Peek | Art: Cripping the Arts Brownton Abbey

Drawing on Re•Vision’s collaborative work with Urban Indigenous, Inuit, Queer, nonbinary, trans, and disability-identified artists and communities, Re•Vision considers the power of story-making methods to (re)author identities and selves, and the potential of well-crafted and well-curated stories to create systemic change.

Sheyfali Saujani: Reading Blind
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Geronimo Inutiq: Winter
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Although participants engage in a process of “telling” the self through story-making workshops, there is no expectation that the self that is being told is presented as coherent and unfragmented, or that the stories should follow a clear narrative arc. Rather, the storywork engages in telling moments and in exploring the messy, fragmented nature of identities and subjectivities as these are storied and re-storied in the social relations that unfold in, around, and beyond the workshops.

Re•Vision takes its name from feminist poet Adrienne Rich who states, “revision—the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction—is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival” (Rich, 1972, p.18).

Rich’s framing of revision as survival helps underscore the urgency of story-making and listening, drawing us in as experts on our own lives and asking us to take responsibility for the stories we share and hear.

Following Indigenous traditions, Indigenous scholar Thomas King (Cherokee) (2003) views stories not solely as entertainment but as carriers of people’s knowledge and values—as speech acts that have the power to make and change the world.

Building on this understanding, King goes on to caution us:

Stories are wondrous things. And they are dangerous.

Thomas King (Cherokee) (2003, p. 3)

Stories can have profound material effects in people’s lives: they are the things that bring us together, define us, teach us about the world; yet they are the things that break us apart, that make us invest in ways of being in the world that are destructive to each other and to the planet.

Re•Vision investigates two intriguing and pressing questions related to this problem:

  • how stories move past the dominant narrative without producing a single counter story that is similarly ensnaring; and
  • to listen and reflect deeply on the implications of the stories we tell.
An artwork of a butterfly by Sonny Bean

Further Readings

Friedman, M., Rice, C., & Lind, E. R. M. (2020). A high-risk body for whom? On fat, risk, recognition and reclamation in restorying reproductive care through digital storytelling. Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics, 4(2), 36.

Hartman, Y., & Darab, S. (2012). A call for slow scholarship: A case study on the intensification of academic life and its implications for pedagogy. The Review of Education/ Pedagogy/ Cultural Studies, 34(1-2), 49-60. 

King, T. (2005). The truth about stories : A native narrative. University of Minnesota Press.

Mountz, A., Bonds, A., Mansfield, B., Loyd, J., Hyndman, J., Walton-Roberts, M., Basu, R., Whitson, R., Hawkins, R., Hamilton, T., & Curran, W. (2015). For slow scholarship: A feminist politics of resistance through collective action in the neoliberal jniversity. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 14(4), 1235-1259.

Rice, C., Dion, S. D., Fowlie, H., & Breen, A. (2020). Identifying and working through settler ignorance. Critical Studies in Education. Access Copy

Rice, C., Dion, S.D., Fowlie, H., & Mündel, I. (2020). Re/turning the Gaze: Unsettling settler logics through multimedia storytelling. Feminist Media Studies. Access Copy

Rice, C., & Mundel, I. (2019). Multimedia storytelling methodology: Notes on access and inclusion in neoliberal times. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 8(1): 118-148.
Rice, C., & Mündel, I. (2018). Story-making as methodology: Disrupting dominant stories through multimedia storytelling. Canadian Review of Sociology, 55(2): 211-231. Access Copy

Rice, C., Chandler, E., Harrison, E., Liddiard, K., & Ferrari, M. (2015). Project Re•Vision: Disability at the edges of representation. Disability & Society, 30(4), 513-527.

Rich, A. 1972. “When we dead awaken: Writing as re-vision.” College English 34(1): 18–30.
An artwork of a squirrel by Sonny Bean


details of an artwork by Sonny Bean featuring 2 flowers

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