A project never changed the world. Self-reliance is self-sufficiency economically....And taking your own decisions...managing your own affairs. ....just having more income does not make you more concerned about other people. You have to organize around certain values… - Ela Bhatt
Creativity is about telling the truth -- Sketch arts program, Toronto
Communities can often be compared to a football game where 30,000 people who need the exercise, turn up to watch 36 players who don’t.- Peter Kenyon
The fingers of people are not all the same length - A. Ol'oiloisolo Massek and J.O. Sidai, Maasai proverb
Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. - Edward Abbey
Civic politics, like poetry, is concerned with questions of meaning, purpose, justice, and even beauty—all full of ambiguity and laden with conflicts of value, all constitutive of efforts to build a good society.-- Harry Boyte
You're only given a spark of madness. You musn't lose it. -Robin Williams
Only what is really oneself has the power to heal. - Carl Jung
Always be passionately aware that you could be completely wrong. -Dian Marino
I am a self-employed poet, analyst and adult educator (not necessarily in that order) from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. In the broadest sense, I work on the connection between assets and voice. Personally, had I not had opportunities to work, save, access loans and grants for studying, I would not be working on these issues. Indeed, I would not have gone to university at all.
I share these details because I bring this experience and immediacy to my analysis and work with many women who are working toward similar opportunities. My energies have focused on the connection between women’s economic security and their expanded voice and capacities in their lives, associations and communities. Between practical and strategic interests.
For the past twenty years, my work has largely focused on member-owned economic models (savings groups, SACCOs, credit unions, producer groups) to self-govern, make informed choices and expand their options at all levels including policy and other negotiated spaces in the informal economy or social protection. Networks are key to negotiating power and, over the years, both in my work and volunteer capacities I have focused on what makes vibrant networks and alliances work. Alternative economic models, solidarity approaches to economics, are key but not enough. Business models of any kind, even community-based, will not ensure economic justice, that rights are upheld. We still need advocacy and other forms of accountability for that including getting the right people at the right tables.
I take a feminist approach to my work in economics because history, context and gendered informal and formal power structures matter. Transformative adult education (particularly online) is also central to all I do. We need to dramatically support the confidence and capacities of individuals and collectives to critically analyze their situations and strategize around options in ways that they can own and drive.
I work about half time to leave space for poetry, outdoor play and volunteer work. I am an active volunteer in a community housing trust, alliances to hold governments accountable, food systems. I'm also a published poet and use storytelling and art in my work wherever I can. Because we need more than mind to hold each other well. And because, well, it's fun.