Title

Affirming Identity and Creating Community through the Occupation of Volunteer Leadership

Start Time

29-10-2005 8:50 AM

End Time

29-10-2005 10:30 AM

Abstract

In summarizing the work of several scholars who influenced her thinking about the connection between occupation and connectedness to others, Hasselkus writes:

The strength of the individual’s own unique identity is balanced by the equally powerful elements of a common world, a world shared with others. (2002, p.86)

This confluence of self and community has emerged as a major theme in ethnographic work conducted with the leadership group of a feminist chorus. This session is designed to describe how this group of women affirms their own and others’ identities, creates opportunity for occupational engagement, and builds community through the co-occupation of musical performance. In volunteering to serve as leaders of the Chorus, they balance the responsibilities of decision-making with a desire to maintain an open exchange of varying beliefs and ideas central to the culture of the group. They enact roles as volunteer leaders while concurrently engaging in occupational routines of planning, rehearsing and performing concerts as Chorus members. The form and content of these routines reflect sensitivity to individual needs while vigorously celebrating and affirming community identity. The groundwork for this presentation grew out of a process of participant observation and reciprocal ethnography, and incorporates material from individual interviews, participation in board meetings, concert preparation and performance, and feedback from the chorus board members regarding the presenters’ written work. Viewing the results of this collaboration through the lens of occupational science challenges us to further explore the complexity of the constructs of meaning and identity that emerge when considering multidimensional and communal occupation.

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Oct 29th, 8:50 AM Oct 29th, 10:30 AM

Affirming Identity and Creating Community through the Occupation of Volunteer Leadership

In summarizing the work of several scholars who influenced her thinking about the connection between occupation and connectedness to others, Hasselkus writes:

The strength of the individual’s own unique identity is balanced by the equally powerful elements of a common world, a world shared with others. (2002, p.86)

This confluence of self and community has emerged as a major theme in ethnographic work conducted with the leadership group of a feminist chorus. This session is designed to describe how this group of women affirms their own and others’ identities, creates opportunity for occupational engagement, and builds community through the co-occupation of musical performance. In volunteering to serve as leaders of the Chorus, they balance the responsibilities of decision-making with a desire to maintain an open exchange of varying beliefs and ideas central to the culture of the group. They enact roles as volunteer leaders while concurrently engaging in occupational routines of planning, rehearsing and performing concerts as Chorus members. The form and content of these routines reflect sensitivity to individual needs while vigorously celebrating and affirming community identity. The groundwork for this presentation grew out of a process of participant observation and reciprocal ethnography, and incorporates material from individual interviews, participation in board meetings, concert preparation and performance, and feedback from the chorus board members regarding the presenters’ written work. Viewing the results of this collaboration through the lens of occupational science challenges us to further explore the complexity of the constructs of meaning and identity that emerge when considering multidimensional and communal occupation.