Paul Carter
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Story lines
Creative belonging
in Translations, an autoethnography
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If migration recapitulates colonisation, migrants live like the rest of white Australia in a dream world where Aboriginal sovereignty is denied: across the divide of incommensurable realities, belonging is ethically impossible. Learning how to belong involves a critical reinterpretation of colonial anthropology (and its non-relations). It demands a creative migrant ethnography able to embrace coming from elsewhere as the foundation of arrival. But it also requires a symbolic literacy, a capacity to think relationally, to communicate mythopoetically (through constantly reinvented stories able to navigate turbulent counter-realities and find in them the common ground of mutual recognition). To illustrate these points, I introduce another personal story. It concerns the multiple meanings ascribed to a ‘dragon’ figure during the implementation of a ‘creative template’ in Western Australia. The cross-cultural ‘passages’ opened in this metaphorical exchange are compared to the opening in public space created by the public artwork Passenger at Yagan Square, Perth.

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Translations, an autoethnography

Migration, colonial Australia and the creative encounter


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