Thursday, August 6, 2020

Broadened horizons. Focused, cooperative analysis.

Broadened horizons.There is a story line, I am struggling to map.

I am living at a different rhythm, walking along the sea-shore, broadening my horizons, breathing in the sea-air...through a mask. 

At least, I have got away.

I'm on holiday.

I take my time to paint wide swathes of land and sea then focus on details. 

Board-walks, fishing tackle, barbed wire in the grass.

I alternate between mindful artistic meditation and broadening my intellectual knowledge.

I am taking my time.

I have been taking the time to reimerse myself in methodology - Nexus Analysis (Scollon and Scollon)
I have been taking the time to review and adapt such methodology to my particular research context.
I know that I am writing this in order to guide my actions with my friends towards the creation of a simple but multi-voiced storyline.

Focussed analysis informed by broadened and diverse perspectives

I alternate between focusing on moments of interactions captured in photos of educational contexts here and there, the stories and diverse perspectives of the photographers and the people who appear framed.  

I must, therefore take the time to work with different perspectives of the same stories, the same images. 

The work will be essentially limited by the time that we have but we must start with inclusivity as its guide. 

It will be a cumulative, iterative process. 

There will be... inevitably... be... ellipsis...

Masked, gagged, blindfolded.

The masks are a minor inconvenience, the political measures put in place by governments always hit the poor first... 

In no way is a global pandemic a "great leveler".

Intermittent connections

We are hanging onto our cooperation despite failing electrical supplies and internet signals, school closures, holidays and natural disasters.

Our storyline must reveal complexity through its simplicity.

It is only a start but we must work on preparing the ground.

The foundations must be solid and easily identified.

It must be clear, it must make one essential point.

This is research for action...activist research.

I, we, are not alone, we are not working for academic career impact.

Research for action, research as action.

Another life story connects, shared ironically by a Nepalese expat friend, Shyam Sharma and then reshared by Kabi Paudel in Katmandu.

A major research influence, Jan Blommaert, terminally ill, shares a testament to what matters.

"In a world in which knowledge is at once more widely available than ever before, and more exclusive and elitist than ever before, knowledge is a battlefield and those professionally involved in it must be aware of that. Speaking for myself: a neutral stance towards knowledge is impossible, for it would make knowledge anodyne, powerless, of little significance in the eyes of those exposed to it. Which is why we need an activist attitude, one in which the battle for power-through-knowledge is engaged, in which knowledge is activated as a key instrument for the liberation of people, and as a central tool underpinning any effort to arrive at a more just and equitable society. I have been a knowledge professional, indeed. But understanding what I have done as a professional is easier when one realizes the activism which, at least for me, made it worthwhile being a professional." Jan Blommaert

Global discourses local translations...
I am questioning the international, national, local economic, political, educational, socio-cultural discourses which are the more or less visible backgrounds, or frames to the photos and stories.  

I have immersed myself in Nepalese history, authoritarian regimes, bloody civil war, nascent democracy, Hindu religion, educational reform, central control and decentralization policies, current  economic and social realities of people in rural and urban areas, trying to capture some landmarks to guide my reflection.  

Ethnic and linguistic diversity, institutionalized caste and gender discrimination, chronic corruption, foreign interference and "aid", economic migration or expatriation according to the social status of the individual. 

The Anthropocene (/ænˈθrɒp.əˌsn, -ˈθrɒp.-/ ann-THROP-ə-seen, -⁠THROP-oh-)[1] is a proposed geological epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.[2][3][4][5][6]

Common hopes and fears for a better more equitable, more environmentally sustainable future.

This is essential to the storyline: we are interconnected, we are one with the ecosystem.

Hinduism, amongst other religious traditions speaks of  this indisputable truth.

We are one with the planet, not in anyway apart or above it. 

What is the human cost of modernity, discourses of "progress", "sustainable development"?

I am aided in my reflection by my friend Paul Prinsloo who shares:

It contains a short poem.

Promises of progress, promises of equity, growing inequality and people who are expendable.


Vast financial investment enable photos from space, illustrating the vulnerability of all and the absurd hubris of the privileged few. 

Photos on earth show that a hard rain falls harder on those with less means.

We live in a world where some lives are valued less than others.  
We live a world where some voices are valued less than others.
We live a world where some languages are valued less than others.
We live a world where some passports have less value than others.
There is no hope of equitable change unless we face the facts.

Uncertain paths...beyond the horizon

Only six years ago I had no idea that my path would lead me to such discussions, these reflections, these actions. 

I have little idea of what really drives these actions apart from what I have always had: an insatiable curiosity to know what lies beyond the horizon and persistent indignation.

How many instants have I captured in these pages of myself looking at or beyond a wall, gazing at or beyond distant horizons?  

Promises, promises, promises.

I have been taking time to learn about the relationships between global educational resources, funding, and local educational policies, pronouncements and actions particularly as regards which data has currency, what gives leverage to those who have their hands on such levers and the disconnection between seductive declarations and cruel realities. 

We live in  world where it is often not what you know but who you know which counts.

It seems that all too often politicians are now not speaking for those who they represent but to those who represent sources of

I am learning about the disconnect between political movements and leaders who take up the causes of the oppressed, of the voiceless and then use their despair as fuel for violent revolution which gives them the leverage to gain access to

I am constantly trying to avoid distracting my attention and attempting to focus on this our storyline.

[All that I see around the world, are the same beautiful declarations of those who are able to access stages and the same lies, the same violence, the same absence of solidarity for others who are left feeling forgotten, frustrated.] 

This storyline involves the young people who care, who believe and struggle for change.

They believe in solidarity, they believe in the importance of children to be seen and heard regardless of their social backgrounds, religions, genders. 

They work to become changemakers in their communities, on their terms, not just for them but for us all. 

This story has ONE simple message. 

I=0  [alone I am zero]