Chapter 9: Critical narrative inquiry as psychosocial accompaniment with Aboriginal communities
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In this chapter, we discuss the use of community arts and critical narrative inquiry as a methodological approach for examining and intervening into the critical psychosocial context of our social and cultural worlds - the symbolic sphere of our existence within which we make sense of self, other, and the social world around us. By mobilising critical narrative inquiry alongside a community arts project, we have sought to contribute to expanding the dialogue of voices to create more inclusive knowledge and processes of knowledge production, understand and support Aboriginal social and emotional well-being and healing in a context of coloniality, and amplify stories that respond to silences in Australia's public memory. The specific example we describe involved Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. Conceptualising our role as one of psychosocial accompaniment, we sought to bear witness to these stories and expand the platform for Aboriginal voices to be heard by taking on 'the supportive voice' from a decolonising standpoint. We argue that a critical narrative approach to understanding the psychosocial subject creates possibilities for post-essentialist understandings that recognise our entanglements in coloniality and the various ways in which individuals and communities respond beyond damage, despair, and dysfunction but also possibilities for forging co-intentional and intercultural solidarities. Central to this approach is the creation of opportunities and settings for unearthing, exploring and amplifying stories of resistance, resilience, survival, and healing–resources for identity and community making processes with and alongside communities.

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