1. Prologue

I have felt that I am one voice, that I was different and alone among others. In the past several years, I have felt silenced and the following song has resonated with me since I first heard it. As I progressed in my career, this idea of one voice was even more prominent, so this song became the starting point of the premise for this project.

One Voice

Just one voice, singing in the darkness All it takes is one voice Singing so they hear what’s on your mind And when you look around you’ll find There’s more than one voice Singing in the darkness Joining with your one voice Each and every note another octave Hands are joined and fears unlocked If only, one voice, would start it on its own We need just one voice facing the unknown And then that one voice would never be alone It takes that one voice It takes that one voice Just one voice, singing in the darkness All it takes is one voice Shout it out and let it ring Just one voice, it takes that one voice And everyone will sing (Manilow, 1979)
When I first presented the idea of this project to the Taos Institute – Sheila McNamee commented (2017) “I find this interesting because, from a post-modern perspective, there is never ‘one voice.’  We are populated with the voices of others and the circulating discourses… So…ponder how to capture this without losing what you are trying to do.”

Now it begins, the idea of resolving my experience of ‘one voice’ and standing in a social construction, collaborative position.  Bakhtin (1984) writes:

All that matters is the choice, the resolution of the question “Who am I” and “With whom am I?” To find one’s own voice and to orient it among other voices, to combine it with some and to oppose it to others, to separate one’s voice from another voice with which it has inseparably merged – these are the tasks that the heroes solve in the course of the novel. Bakhtin, 1984, 239

This project is the story of my life so far.  I will describe how I came to feel that I was that one voice and the struggle to find a place for it among the other voices.  I will write an autoethnography that involves my experience as a social worker on a multidisciplinary team in a hospital setting and how I try to find my voice (and where at times, like often in my life – I feel like a lone voice).

The beginning is a description of my cultural context. This includes various parts of my life that have formed my ideas and brought me to where I am today.  This will be followed by a description of theories of social construction, collaboration and the underpinnings of anti-oppressive work which is “the voice” I use in my work. I will also examine the ethical implications of this project.

The autoethnography when completed will examine various experiences from my life at work examine if I have been walking the talk of anti-oppressive, collaborative, social construction perspectives. Am I practicing in the way I wish to? Or do I unconsciously support oppressive working situations?  I would like to enhance my ability to ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ Mahatma Gandhi[1]. I view these words as a vision for how I want to live my life.  I believe that for many of us, our goal is not necessarily to change the world but to change ourselves and be part of change for others.  Is my practice coherent with the theories?  Where are my challenges and where are my strengths?

Please journey with me, explore and comment…

Continue to I am a Relational Being or return to Anti-Oppressive Practice or Home.

[1] This quote has been attributed to Gandhi over the years but there is no definitive reference available.

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