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Art-Full Research Practices

One of the top submissions to date for the NCTE Arts of Language Collection:

Altered book image submitted by Jane Baskwill (www.janebaskwill.com) You can view her reflection on the piece here: http://blogs.ncte.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/The-Arts-of-Language_NCTE_Baskwill.docx

Art-Full Research Practices
by Jane Baskwill

Below is an excerpt from an altered book that was created from my research, Altered Pens, Altered Lives: Women Sustaining Writing in Rural Nova Scotia (Baskwill, 2013), as an artefact-of-documentation. The process resulted in a visual re-presentation and record of the research; a living journal of researcher-as-artist and of the intersection of the women participants’ writing lives. The following poetic re-presentation from the altered book captures the importance of writing to the participants as a refuge, a safe-harbour, a means of celebration, exploration, documentation and thoughtful introspection over a life-span:

Altered Lives
Our lives have been altered by the winds and rains of experience,
Shaped by the sea and the shore,
Battered by events beyond our control,
Marked by the many mysteries life holds, both explainable and not;
And so we come to write,
Out of the letters of our childhood we have grown from innocence to awakening,
We have found our voices in the silence of the forest,
The turmoil of the ocean,
The whisper of the garden;
Fortified by the strength of home and hearth,
Fed by the lifeblood of place and purpose,
We are driven by the need to be heard,
To speak our minds from our hearts,
For family and friends,
But mostly,
For ourselves.