Speaking from the Heart


Evelyn Clark wonders how any practice can be "community-based" if it chiefly involves experts descending on townsfolk to tell them what they need to know. Her work with photographic testimony indicates that community survival is not, at base, a matter of skills acquisition. It is an expression of a passionate attachment to place - a wellspring of energy and creativity, waiting to be tapped.

"As part of a Royal Roads University Master's degree in Leadership and Training, I had to complete a major project that enhanced my professional abilities and helped me better understand my own values in personal leadership. I was curious about what motivated people in these places to stay when other residents had left. The women who worked at a shellfish co-operative in Sointula were especially interesting. Why did they continue to invest so much time and effort in Sointula's survival?

"That became my project topic. Rather than simply asking women to express their deepest values, I chose a roundabout approach. I asked them to go out armed with a camera and take pictures of what was important to them about this place. What made them stay on when its economic future looked so bleak?

"What began as a study of a rural economy became an exploration of a community's sense of place, women's informal learning, and grassroots community change."

Uncovering Sointula's passionate sense of place
Clark, Evelyn
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