Retracing, Reimagining and Reconciling Our Roots in Social Work Education


This paper contributes to discussion regarding creative and arts-based research methods for researchers interested in pedagogies aiming for more meaningful engagement with decolonization and Indigenous reconciliation in graduate/undergraduate education of social workers in postsecondary university settings. We share our research and pedagogical process from SSHRC funded research carried out in a recent postsecondary course. We describe our a/r/tographic methodology involving practices of artmaking, attunement to everyday relations with the land and to our teacher and practitioner experience, aimed at finding more generative opportunities arising in these interrelations. Our research objectives include exploring the potential of art and artists for provoking complex conversations about Indigenous-settler relations in social work pedagogy as they relate to reconciliation, land and culture. Specifically, we explain some of the implications of artistic influence and aesthetic walking and writing practices grounded in local histories, land and culture for concrete steps in advancing social work education towards reconciliatory practice. By working alongside traditional Indigenous Knowledges, we were able to foster practices grounded in respect, relevance, reciprocity and responsibility across cultural difference. Using the land as one of our texts, walking practices, artist inspirations, and art-making opportunities engaged geospecific Indigenous-settler relations and histories, providing immersive experiences aimed at more impactful learning. We share some beginning analyses of student responses that seem to convey how artists and art practices associated with the land may precipitate stronger implications for learning than those that occur in commonly expected student responses within a solely social-critique approach to facts.

Author Information
Michele Sorensen, University of Regina, Canada
Valerie Triggs, University of Regina, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2023
Stream: Teaching Experiences

This paper is part of the IICE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Sorensen M., & Triggs V. (2023) Retracing, Reimagining and Reconciling Our Roots in Social Work Education ISSN: 2189-1036 – The IAFOR International Conference on Education – Hawaii 2023 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon