Diane Roberts – Story Generating
“WHEN YOU MATCH THOSE STORIES THAT ARE TOLD TO YOU WITH THOSE STORIES THAT LIVE IN YOUR BODY IT BECOMES A VERY VERY INTERESTING DIALOGUE”
This week Julian talks to PhD candidate, dramaturge, teacher and developer of the Arrivals Legacy project Diane Roberts.
Diane has been a revolutionary throughout her career, championing and focusing on indigenous and racialised communities. She is possibly most well known for developing the Arrivals Legacy project, which started in indigenous communities in Canada as a way to reignite knowledge of traditional practices, to connect elders to the younger generation, and vice versa.
When she talks about the development of the project she lilts fluidly between its development, and the discovery and uncovering of her own past. She sees connections everywhere and through the investigation of lines between us and our relatives, between us and our community, so we can begin to understand and have compassion for others’ motivation.
The workshop, which is now the focus of her PhD, looks into personal pasts as a method of ‘trying to connect the dots’, of reaching back into history. It lasts a number of weeks and asks participants to embody, research and understand an ancestor that they never knew, and then to focus on one important moment in that relative’s life. In her words ‘there was this line being drawn between their present reality and their ancestral past, a really clear line’ which showed ‘how those stories continue to live in us and go forward in us’
Over the years the workshop has developed, and the attendees have spoken widely about the sustained transformation from the practice. This coincided with Diane’s discovery that it strongly echoed Garifuna practices, which she had discovered, through her own legacy project, was a strong part of her own heritage.
Diane’s work has always been interdisciplinary, sitting at the intersection of many different forms of art, of philosophy, of history, and of community growth. She is now focused on the future of the project, and trying to get it to reach as many people as possible.
‘When you match those stories that are told to you with those stories that live in your body it becomes a very very interesting dialogue’
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