Catherine Etmanski, Will Weigler, and Grace Wong-Sneddon
facilitate a métissage-based dialogue related to
graduate student experiences on campus and suggested to the committee that this
method might be a good fit for this purpose. He then got in touch with Catherine
to help facilitate the development of métissage-based presentation.
What is métissage?
Métissage is an arts-based method of enquiry and education, which, by its nature,
defies categorisation and concrete definition. It draws from the traditions of
lifewriting, storytelling, theatre and – symbolically – from the art of weaving
or braiding. When presented in written
identity work of the author.
Letters and letter writing
Letters are ‘documents of life’ in the sense that they are human and personal (Plummer, 2001) and are one of the most prevalent forms of lifewriting (Stanley, 2004). Although letter writing can be regarded as a ‘dying art’
due to shifts to electronic forms of communication (Plummer, 2001), letters to those in prison represent a continuing use of and need for the form
(Maybin, 2000). Letters offer accounts of individual experience and ‘present
the subjective point of view’ of the author (Plummer, 2001, p
the medium is talking. I engaged with therapy, but there had to be more, some kind of firmer expression, an Ausdruck or objectification of all this stuff of life.
Writing is a process of learning. Learning can also be a process of writing. Writing is central, for me, to seeking to understand. Writing this memoir has been an experience without precedent in my career or in my life. It was a need, but of a different kind from the usual. I was in the transition to retirement, which for me, unlike Bauman, also meant stepping back. I was no longer a working
, possibly reflecting the greater
Changing faces of modern migration 217
15 Book cover of Eunice Gardner’s The world at our feet, 1957
popularity of women’s lifewriting.26 So it is no surprise to find women
experimenting with forms of migrant lifewriting for a range of purposes,
like family interest and self-exploration.
Toni Dobinson’s story nicely illustrates the ease with which women’s
218 Life stories of modern migration
16 Eunice Gardner and Diana Williams ‘on the road’, waving to a Malayan
pearl cutter, near Broome, Western Australia, c. 1954
Distance, deferral, and immunity in the urban governance of
), Letters from Nauru . LifeWriting
5 ( 2 ): 203–217 .
Zetter , R.
( 2007 ), More labels, fewer refugees: remaking the refugee label in an era of globalization . Journal of Refugee Studies
20 : 172–192 .
‘boring’ themes and writers – tea on the lawn
or surreptitious middle-class affairs – as uninspiring literature. But these were
selections from a vast array of work, and a complete break between bourgeois
and working-class culture was not easily sustained.
Nevertheless, classed relations would continue to foster feelings of separateness. Fed publications constituted a form of lifewriting that could not easily be
assigned to neat categories but rather cut across disciplinary boundaries. While
Fed writing often revealed a strong ‘materialist aesthetic’ and a desire to
, in its own quotidian, in the new start, in this struggle to make a new life in Leeds. When we spoke about this second book she seemed keen to push it away, to want to move the conversation on. My most recent encounter with the text elicited a gentle protest. It represents everyday lifewriting at its best. She also wanted, however, to keep me to my own word. So she signed my copy of the book, ‘To Peter, waiting for your book, Janina.’ She was welcoming me, and putting me on notice to deliver. Should you have no further patience for what I am writing here, turn to