Poetic Justice: A collaborative retelling
In this episode, host James Watson chats with Lori Chambers about her unique research initiative, “Because She Cares.” With this collaborative project, Lori uses poetry to share the experiences of African women employed in the response to HIV. While the experiences described are specific to African women, they will no doubt ring true for a lot of us who work in the HIV sector and live with HIV. Their discussion focuses on the impact of using the arts-based method of poetic narrative inquiry and is highlighted by the retelling of a choral poem by the Because She Cares Collaborative.
Our episode guest
Lori Ann Chambers, Ph.D
Lori Chambers uses storytelling methods to generate and share knowledge from communities living with or impacted by HIV. She has devoted her recent advocacy to telling the stories of women of African descent employed in HIV & AIDS service organizations (ASOs) to better assuring their self-care and mutual support. In collaboration with African, Caribbean and Black community advocates, she is co-leading “Because She Cares,” a performance narrative project that translates research exploring the ASO employment experiences of ACB women living with HIV into spoken word theatre and film.
So that's when I realized there's some power—using arts-based approaches, like poetry, to share a message that's particularly political, and also one that can actually be told to the people who should hear it.
Lori is a community-engaged researcher who uses storytelling methods to generate and share knowledge from communities living with or impacted by HIV. In collaboration with African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) community advocates, she is co-leading “Because She Cares,” a performance narrative project that translates research exploring the AIDS Service Organisation employment experiences of ACB women living with HIV into spoken word theatre and film.
She begins this pozcast episode by explaining the process of turning conversational or qualitative interviews into poems and the cultural significance of oral narrative in her work.
The conversation moves to the immigrant experience and highlights that this experience is often left out when talking about HIV, particularly experiences of African, Caribbean and Black women and their HIV response activities at work in Canada and back home. Lori felt these issues would have more community impact if they were presented with a creative voice using poetry and spoken word.
Lori and members of the Because She Cares Collaborative retell the choral poem “Listen to Her” and discuss the poem’s significance, and the power of combining multiple voices into a choral performance.
Lori concludes on a personal note adding that the process had been like finding another voice. Not an academic or a research voice, but a culturally responsive voice that’s congruent with how she moves through the world as a person of Jamaican descent.
For more information about storytelling, knowledge mobilization and social change, Lori recommends 7.10 stories.