My personal path of Art and Science has sought positive change in the lives of people living on the edge. This website explores some of the artifacts of the journey, from my time in the Yukon Territory to the watershed year 2020.
It is a memoir and celebration of transitions. On November 12, 2020 I turned 65, joining the ranks of “senior citizen” and simultaneously letting go of my professional activities after 15 years of participatory research and consulting and another 15 years at CIMMYT in Mexico and IDRC in Ottawa.
Near Pali, India. Fighting Eviction, 2006
I had stopped doing paid work temporarily in April, 2019, well before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, to dedicate more time to volunteer advocacy on the climate emergency and the decline of urban forests. Then the pandemic started. The restrictions on travel and gatherings made my normal professional practice of community-based research, workshop facilitation and international project evaluation impossible. Shifting the work to an online environment held no appeal to me when I could be outdoors more, and engage with issues near at hand. So I decided to make my “forced” professional retirement voluntary and permanent.
The pandemic also brought for me, as it has for many people, opportunities to reconnect with people, including old friends and people I worked with in the past. I realized I was in something of a sweet spot professionally and personally, with some contacts still in place going back to my days in the Yukon. What better time, I thought, to reflect on my experiences and learning as a researcher and artist than now (before the memories fade away)?
This space, including the art, publications and stories, is not a finished product in itself. Rather, it launches conversations with friends and colleagues on settings that were formative and deeply moving for me. I never kept personal journals, but these artifacts can at least prompt reminiscences and reflections focused on the work we did together and the differences it made in our own lives and in the lives of others. Perhaps something else will take shape as we weave the places and the stories into a living tapestry of art, science and activism.