Kathryn Ricketts and Laurie Craig Phipps


Community: Dramatic constructions and commentary


In this presentation, Laurie Phipps, an economist, and Kathryn Ricketts, a dancer, explore notions of community through several forms. Although disparate in their perspectives, surprising intersections are illuminated through the conference presentation and paper. Community is a word that is used often by each of us to describe – well – to describe what? Fettes (2000) describes the word ‘community’ as an “aerosol word,” a word that is sprayed liberally on other words and phrases in order to provide them with some “sheen of authenticity” (n.p.). Heidegger (1996/1953) characterized such words as being both universal and empty, explaining that community is both immediately understood yet impossible to define. Ferdinand Tönnies’ work begins at a point in history where while modern constructs were clearly apparent, older traditions and romantic nostalgia were still within intellectual reach. The complexities of these scholarly conceptions of community provoke a deeper problematizing of this inquiry (Fettes, 2000; Wood & Judikis, 2002). What is this “aerosol” quality in the context of community, and where and how is it sprayed? Through a series of plays leveraging draft-dodging, jet stream apologies, and community-garden standards, the authors probe and deconstruct the concept and understanding of community. Manipulating simple props, such as a plumb and chalk line, a climbing rope, and a glass of water, a narrative is woven between personal inquiry and scholarly research. This narrative is presented as a catalyst to further discussion on both the meaning of community and this unconventional form of research. The intention is to probe the corners, to clarify the perceptions, and to develop a modified perspective. While the authors understand that any conclusions may be neither simple nor conclusive, they equally believe that the value lies in the journey.


Kathryn has been working for the past 26 years in the field of movement and visual arts. Her work has been presented throughout Europe, South America, Africa and Canada. Kathryn ran her own company (ricketts dance co) in Copenhagen Denmark for the 10 years and later a 3 year professional dance training program called MainDance as well as her professional company Plan B Dance Productions. For the past 10 years Kathryn has been working with a focus on social /political issues in schools, galleries and community centers with movement and visual art as the language. She has recently completed her Masters at the University of British Columbia on the topic of identity and place with personal stories interpreted through embodiment and is in the first year of her Doctoral program at Simon Fraser University furthering this research into palliative care. Her methodologies are A/R/Tography and Performative Inquiry.
Laurie is currently a faculty member in the Department of Economics at Kwantlen University College. Prior to moving to Vancouver in September 2007, he was a faculty member at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia. Laurie also has designed and taught fully online courses and is an associate faculty member at Royal Roads University. Like Kathryn, Laurie is completing the first year of study in the Educational Technology and Learning Design PhD program at Simon Fraser University and maintains a research interest in the role of dialogue and community in teaching and learning within the post-secondary environment.