Apart & A Part: A Need for Narrative
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For many individuals who spent time in institutional and out-of-home care during the 20th century, the experience was marked by longing, loss, and displacement. This paper outlines theoretical and methodological directions in the collaborative work, Apart and A Part, and introduces some of the key works resulting from this collaboration with Australian care leavers. The historical and theoretical work of John Murphy (2010) is used to discuss the complexities of the formation of memory, narrative, and identity, and the work of Margaret Somers (1994) and David Carr (1986) is used to explore how intrinsic narrative and belonging are to our ontology. Many individuals who grew up in institutional care have inconsistent records of their heritage and therefore a linear history can be difficult to construct due to a lack of information, the withholding of information by authorities, or the impacts of trauma and grief on the individual. If. as Murphy, Somers and Carr suggest, a narrative is an ontological requirement for sense making and the avoidance of chaos, then it is not difficult to imagine the confusion and loss that many children who were raised in state, church, or foster care experienced when trying to construct adult narratives of the self. Through blending oral history, creative non-fiction and collaborative art practice, Apart and A Part explores how life has played out for individuals after leaving out-of-home care, and investigates how this can be represented through non-linear approaches to storytelling and narrative.
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