Artizein: Arts and Teaching Journal


As an immigrant settler, I contemplate my role as witness and participant in relation to water and First Nations people, who, for many generations, have been guardians of the ecosystems where I live. The poem I offer here is a reflection and response to my experience of witnessing a First Nations community during a consultation on the topic of water treatment systems with the engineering initiative Res’ Eau. My poem, Looking for Water Stories, contemplates a relationship to water and humanity through physical, socio-cultural, historical and spiritual perceptions. The poem is the form which my field notes took on spontaneously whilst listening to community members share their stories about water. My intent with this contribution is to offer insights about the experience of witnessing in role as an artist-researcher within an interdisciplinary research project. Through the back and forth of listening and writing in the present moment as stories were shared, this poem expresses the rhythm of present moments captured and the memory of them revisited. My observations took on a poetic responsiveness that I would not have otherwise been able to express as a silent witness, and this expression of my witnessing holds in its creative process a deep contemplative practice with community.



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