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The Witness Blanket: Responsibility Through an Ongoing Journey of Transformation

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The Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation


This chapter explores master carver Carey Newman’s ongoing journey of transformation. It demonstrates how his individual journey has seeded collective transformation and shifted Canadian consciousness, through a monumental art installation titled The Witness Blanket. This work has led to (more difficult to achieve) legal-structural change, enacted through ceremony in an innovative stewardship agreement between Carey and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The agreement details ongoing collective responsibility for the Witness Blanket. Through storytelling, this chapter attends to the emotional and spiritual dimensions of transformation and exemplifies how transformative learning is an ongoing process rather than an end state. In particular, it shows how the act of bearing witness can promote a sense of responsibility, deep enough to propel individual, collective, and structural change.

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    This quote is often attributed to Dr. Lilla Watson, Australian Indigenous visual artist, activist and academic from Gangulu country in Central Queensland. The following source suggests that she prefers that the attribution for this quote go to the collective:

  2. 2.

    Indigenous peoples were incorrectly referred to as Indians by colonizers.


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Correspondence to Carey Newman .

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Newman, C., Etmanski, C. (2022). The Witness Blanket: Responsibility Through an Ongoing Journey of Transformation. In: Nicolaides, A., Eschenbacher, S., Buergelt, P.T., Gilpin-Jackson, Y., Welch, M., Misawa, M. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-84693-0

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